Maria Varela (b.1984, Athens) is an interdisciplinary artist and assistant professor of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Western Macedonia. Her research focuses on creative applications of new technologies, textile data visualization and collaborative production with women communities. She creates digital and physical artifacts, systems, environments and live events in which concepts such as identity, memory, tradition and folklore are explored.
She has presented her work in several exhibitions in Greece and abroad, in museums such as the EMST (National Museum of Contemporary Art) in Athens, MOMUS in Thessaloniki and Bozar in Brussels, art festivals such as 19º Festival de Arte Contemporânea Sesc_Videobrasil in Sao Paulo, Media Art Biennale WRO in Wroclaw, Siggraph in Vancouver, Transmediale in Berlin, ISWC in Seattle, Piksel in Bergen, Amber in Istanbul, Onassis Cultural Center in Athens and more. She has organised and instruct creative educational programs in Athens in collaboration with the EMST, Onassis Foundation, Goethe Institut, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation and Neon Institute.
Between 2010 – 2014 she was co-founder and curator of the artistic and educational program of Frown, a platform which dealt with the production of artistic events of innovative character in the sectors of creative media and performance art and workshops.
She holds a MA degree in Interactive Media at Goldsmiths College, London. She lives and works in Athens, Greece.
I create digital and physical artefacts, systems, environments and live events in which concepts such as identity, memory, tradition and folklore are explored. My work focuses on encoding narratives to symbols and patterns, creating fictional rituals and visualising data through weaving. I experiment with ways in which the archival event can be transcribed from the digital environment to the natural world. My work develops through methodologies of collective production, media archaeology and research on technical and societal implications.
Folk art interests me as the expression of aesthetic traditions, geographical differences, everyday life but mainly the collective identity. My approach to patterns, objects, myths, rituals, is the same that I adopt with technology. In both cases by disassembling (reverse engineering), the individual elements that functioned as the fundamental elements of contemporary life and contemporary identity are revealed.
My personal interest focuses on ways in which I can convey contemporary concepts, turning them from abstract ideas into actions or physical objects perceived by our senses.
The materials I use vary, such as outdated objects, texts, codes of communication. By changing their original use is a way of challenging the perceptions, fears and unwritten rules that have shaped our social environment and behavior within it.
- Plasmata II, curator: Prodromos Tsiavos, Daphne Dragona, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, Stegi Onassis, Ioannina
- Symbiotics , curator: Miss Dialectic, EMST, Athens
- Base Milano Design Week, Onassis Foundation – British Council, Casa Base, Milan
- Unboxing Callas, curator: Vassilis Zidianakis, Greek National Opera, Athens
- Statecraft, curator: Katerina Gregou, EMST – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens
- HANDMADE: ON THE SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF CRAFT, curator: Katerina Gregou, EMST – National Museum of Contemporary Art & Schwarz Foundation, Art Space Pythagorion, Samos
- The event of a thread, curators: Domna Gounari, Inka Gressel, Thouli Misirloglou, Christian Oxenius, Susanne Weiß, MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts, Thessaloniki, Greece
- Sheltered Gardens, curator Kika Kyriakakou, PCAI, Athens
- Weaving Worlds, curator Daphne Dragona, The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
- The weaving of language, curator Sofi Moutafi, Melijazz festival, Leonidio, Arcadia
- The revival of the stones, curator Stella Christofi, Fortified complex of Troupakides-Mourtzinoi, Kardamyli, Messenia
- Revolting Bodies II, curator: Alexis Fidetzis, Atopos, Athens, Greece
- Trials & Errors, curators: Katerina Gkoutziouli, Daphne Dragona, Romantso, Athens, Greece
- Lost & Shared: approaches to collective mourning, curator: Eliana Otta, One Minute Space, Athens, Greece
- A stich at the time saves nine, Primarolia festival, curators: Nancy Charitonidou, Vasilis Psarras, Aigion, Greece
- BIEN2021, Street Gallery, Kranj, Slovenia
- Weaving Histories: Margaret Kenna and Anafi, curators: iLiana Fokianaki and Phenomenon Anafi, State of Concept, Athens, Greece
- Intimacy: A Modern Tyranny, curator: Orestis Andreadakis, The Project Gallery, Athens, Greece
- International Art Award, Taoyuan Fine Art Museum, Taiwan
- Decorated Bread, Table and Territory, TAVROS, curators: Locus Athens, Athens, Greece
- 1821-2021. ΜΥΡΙΑ ΟΣΑ [γ]ραμμένα εν πανίον, Museum of the history of the Greek Costume – Lykeion ton Hellinidon, Curator: Tania Veliskou, Athens, Greece
- Hydroexpress II, curator Eva Vaslamatzi, Athens, Greece
- Αδράνεια ΙΙ, curator: The Krank, Bageion Hotel, Athens, Greece
- Art Pluriverse, Biennale of Western Balkans
- Thessaloniki Film Festival, curator Orestes Andreadakis
- Athens Laundry Bougada, curator Theodora Malamou, Athens, GR
- The New Ritual Society, Back to Athens, curator Katerina Nikolaou, Athens, GR
- TETRAMATYKA Festival, National Academy of Fine Arts. curators Anton Lapov, Anastasia Nechiporenko, Lviv, UA
- 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil I Southern Panoramas, curator: Solange Farkas, Sao Paulo, BR
- 16th International Media Art Biennale WRO, curator: Dominika Kluszczyk, Wroclaw, PL
- Caldera Festival, curator: Craig Walzer, Santorini, GR
- SIFF 2015, Syros, GR
- 2015 Edition ADAF, curator: Katerina Gkoutziouli, Athens, GR
- the VELVET Invention [in search of the anti-giraffe: 10 years and counting], curator: Nadia Argyropoulou, Romantzo, Athens, GR
- ISWC (International Symposium on Wearable Computers) , Seattle, US
- Future Innovation Summit, Ars Electronica Festival, curator: Hideaki Ogawa Linz, Au
- No Country for Young Men, curator: Katerina Gregos, Bozar Palais de Beaux Art , Brussels, Be
- Future past – Past future, Transmediale, curator: Sandra Naumann, Berlin, De
- Visual Dialogues 2013, curator: Konstantina Soulioti, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens , Gr
- Afresh, curators: Daphne Dragona, Tina Pandi, Daphne Vitali, EMST (Museum of Contemporary Art), Athens, Gr
- Lust, curators:The Callas, Frown, Athens, Gr
- Piksel X, curator Gisle Frøysland, Bergen, NO
- Paratactic Commons, Amber 12, curator: Ekmel Ertan, Istanbul, TR
- ATHENS PLAYTHON, Athens, GR
- KODRA12, curator: Thessaloniki, GR
- Boiling Point, Kuenstlerhaus, Vienna
- LustLands,curator: Nadia Argyropoulou, Thermisi, GR
- Zootrope, curator: Kika Kyriakakou, Camp, Athens, GR
- DOWNTIME, Kokona Buriti, Syros, GR
- VIDEODROME, curator: Kika Kyriakakou, Camp, Athens, GR
- DOWNTIME, Frown Tails, Athens, GR
- Lust3, The Office, Athens,GR
- The False Project, curator Yannis Arvanitis, Kakoyannis Foundation, Athens, Gr
- We Are All Transmittors, The George Wood Theatre,Goldsmiths University, London,UK.
- ‘DIY’, Gallery Espacio Menosuno, Μadrit, Spain
- ‘Culture Industry: FOLKLORE AND CLICHES’ Vox, Athens, Gr.
- EXPO 09, Goldsmiths University , London, UK.
- 1st THESSALONIKI BIENNALE “KODRA –ROOMS TO LET”. Thessaloniki, GR.
- FINAL SHOW, BYAM SHAW SCHOOL OF ART , CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS, London, UK.
- PATCHWORK COSMOPOLITE’, Espace Asiem, Paris, FR.
- VIDEO CUTS- VIDEO ART FESTIVAL, CCA Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, UK.
- LOVE ME< LOVE ME NOT’ ,Kingsgate Gallery , London, UK.
- THE HONEYMOON PHASE’, Lauderdalle Gallery, Waterlow Park,London, Uk.
- CONCOURSE SHOW’, Byam Shaw School of Art, London, Uk.
- ‘OPEN 06’, CAFÉ GALLERY PROJECTS LONDON, Southwark Park, London, Uk.
- KODRA –ROOMS TO LET, Thessaloniki, GR.
- INTRO OUT O6 FESTIVAL, Thessaloniki, GR.
- 2 PIXELDANCE VIDEO ART FESTIVAL, Thessaloniki, GR.
- Painting Group Show, Cultural Center of Ioannina, GR.
- 2 ATHENS VIDEO ART FESTIVAL, Athens, GR
- POP. BLASÉ +KITCH, GALLERY EOS. Athens, GR.
- Cultural Center of Ioannina, Gr
- Engraving and Printing Techniques,Thimomeno Portraito, Ioannina, Gr
2023 Commissioned piece for Milano Design Week, Onassis Foundation – British Council
2023 Commissioned piece for Greek National Opera
2023 Commissioned piece for Onassis Foundation
2023 Art Residency Temporary Home, Casa Base, Milano
2023 Art Residency The inherited Earth, nwmw, Tinos
2022 Mentoring @ Circular Futures Hackathon – S+T+Arts, Onassis Stegi
2022 Jury, S+T+Arts Regional Centre 3 (RSC3) – «REPAIRING THE PRESENT», Onassis Stegi
2022 Commissioned piece for Polygreen Culture & Art Initiative
2021 Selected Award for Taoyuan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan
2021 Commissioned piece for The Table and The Territory
2021 Commissioned piece for Museum of the history of the Greek Costume – Lykeion ton Hellinidon
2020 Commissioned piece for Interreg Palimpsest Museum
2020 Commissioned piece for Thessaloniki International Film Festival
2020 Art Residency Cultures Vultures, Museum of Multiculturalism, Sefrou, Morocco
2019 – 2020 SNF Artist Fellowship
2015 Nominated for Videobrazil Award
2014 Commissioned piece for Onassis Stegi – Visual dialogues
2013 Commissioned piece for National Documentation Centre
- MA Interactive Media, 2010 / Goldsmiths College University, London , UK.
- PG Fine Arts, 2007 / Central Saint Martins, London, UK.
- BA Art Sciences, 2005 / University of Ioannina, GR.
- Grid and Binary Patterns, EMST, Athens
- Weaving an exhibition, EMST, Athens
- Basket Weaving, Melijazz festival, Leonidio, Gr
- Weaving present and past, Primarolia Festival, Aigion, Gr
- Decorated Bread, T&T festival, Party Poetique, Paris, Fr
- Decorated Bread Masterclass: Circular Cultures: Materials, Onassis Stegi – British Council, Athens, Gr
- Decorated Bread, Tavros, Athens, Gr
- Archives in Transit: Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Remix, Collage and Appropriation, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Archives in Transit: Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Cavafy and New Media, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Interactive Alphabet Primer Embroidery, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Cavafy and New Media, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- New media and traditional embroidery, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Kinetic Origami, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Interactive pop-up book, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Diegetic prototypes, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- DIY paper speakers, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Cavafy and New Media @Ioannina, Onassis Cultural Center, Ioannina, Gr
- Cavafy Goes to School, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Gr
- Sound puppets, PPTDEPA, Athens , Gr
- Interactive Costumes of Asia Minor, Cultural Asia Minor Association, NEON Institution, Athens , Gr
- Hybrid Cretan Instruments, Cultural Cretan Association , NEON Institution, Athens , Gr
- Interactive Mural Painting, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens , Gr
- Electric Tree – Hack the Day, Kakoyiannis Foundation, Athens, Gr
- Ecards – Hack the Day, Kakoyiannis Foundation, Athens, Gr
- Synergopolis, Onassis Cultural Center [Στέγη Γραμμάτων και Τεχνών], Athens , Gr
- Online Digital Narratives, Hive Athens, Technopolis, Athens, Gr
- Thimble Remixing Websites, Haidari Public Library. Athens, Gr
- Arduino POV, LPM Festival, Anamesa, Athens, Gr
- Qr Corpse, Athens Plaython, Technopolis, Athens, Gr
- Damn Lab, Frown, Athens, Gr
- Our Neighbourhood, Frown, Athens, Gr
- Talking Quilt, Spitafields City Farm, London, Uk
- Play Space Arts Club, Edward Wilson Primary School, London, Uk
- Play Space Arts Club, Queens Park Primary School, London, Uk
- Play Space Arts Club, Soho Primary School, London, Uk
- Eco Club, Greenside Community Centre, London, Uk
- Urban Design Fiction Hackathon, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, GR
- Arduino D14– festival, Frown, Athens, GR
- Hack the Day @ Kakoyannis Foundation – workshop festival, Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, GR
- #Open – Festival, Frown, Athens, GR
- Technology Tinkers – presentation, Frown , Athens, GR
Frown workshops and seminar programme, Frown, Athens, GR
- Arduino Beginners, Thanos Eleftherakos, 30.04.2014, 21.01.2014, 22.10.2013,05.02.2012
- Kinect / webcams & Processing -Interactive installations & performances using computer vision, Katerina Antonopoulou, 12.05.2014
- From Piezo To Pure Data, Malte Steiner, 26.04.2014
- DIY PCB – Design & Etching Workshop, Thanos Eleftherakos, 07.04.2014
- Kinetic Typography- magic moving images, Antonis Lyras, 15.03.2014
- Cinder Seminar, Nikolas Psaroudakis, 12.03.2014
- CIRCUIT BENDING + VIDEO OUTPUT- Hacking toys Workshop, Tasos Stamou, 01.03.2014
- Pure Data Seminar, Alexandros Drymonitis, 10.02.2014, 23.01.2013
- Minimalistic HCI- human-computer interface design, Martin Reiche,15.02.2014
- Videopoetry, Swoon, 08.02.2014
- Arduino ♥ Processing, Thanos Eleftherakos , Antonis Lyras, 18.01.2014
- e-textiles/soft-circuits, Afroditi Psarra, 12.12.2013, 22.03.2012
- Stylophone, Tasos Stamou, 16.11.2013
- Processing- electronic sketchbooks, Antonis Lyras, 20.11.2013, 20.11.2012
- Garduino, Valentina Karga, Thanos Eleftherakos, 02.11.2013 documentation
- Electromagnetic Cityscape (part of Dataplay event), Sabrina Basten ,Audrey Samson, 25.05.2013 documentation
- City CPU mapping(part of Dataplay event), Gordan Savičić, 25.05.2013 documentation
- Netless Workshop(part of Dataplay event), Danja Vasiliev, 19.05.2013 documentation
- Covert Computing(part of Dataplay event), Julian Oliver, 19.05.2013 documentation
- transmission+interference, David Strang ,Vincent Van Uffelen, 07.04.2013
- Network Music, Marinos koutsomichalis, 11.05.2013
- Grillo Amp, Nikos kyriazopoulos,27.04.2013
- contact mic workshop, Andreas Monopolis, 28.12.2012 documentation
- How to Build a New Legal Identity, Heath Bunting, 04.05.2012
- optotheremin, Andreas Monopolis, 09.02.2012 documentation
- Circuit Bending, Tasos Stamou, 02.02.2012
- ArduinoMash: On DIY electronics, Artemis Papageorgiou, 02.02.2012
- MoCM Playshop- DIY Sound devices, Adreas Monopolis,31.03.2012 documentation
- Starville, Artemis Papageorgiou, 08.10.2012
- SuperCollider Vortex, Marinos Koutsomichalis, 23.02.2012
- Probing the city- urban field recordings , Marinos Koutsomichalis, 01.06.2012
- Interactive granular synthesis, Marinos Koustomichalis, 8.12.2011
- Creative Coding and New Media, Marinos Koutsomichalis, 25.11.2011 documentation
- Spatiotemporal disruptive imaging, Antonis Lyras, 15.10.2012
- Urban e-mote, Sam Kuhn, 22.10.2011 documentation
- Twitterbots, Gareth Foote, 17.09.2012 documentation
- Plasmata II: Discussion – Focusing on the Unseen: Plural Voice, Body in Absentia, and Machine Learning, Onassis Stegi, Dimitris Hatzis Cultural Centre (Old Slaughterhouse), Ioannina
- Bodies, machines and intelligent synergies, An event on art and artificial intelligence, curator Daphne Dragona, organisers Artworks, EMST – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens
- From the Art of Digital science to the Science of Digital Arts, S+T+Arts Symposium, Onassis Stegi
- The entire History of you, AV Lab DUTH, School of Architecture University of Xanthi
- Changing the way we grow and eat through artistic practice, The table and the territory, COAL
- Adhocracy Symposium, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, GR
- SIFF Festival, Syros, GR
- MA Digital Arts, ASKT, Athens, GR
- Cavafy and Image, Panteion University, Athens, GR
- Knowledge as a common good. Communities of production and sharing in Greece. (documentary) – common-knowledge.eu
- Political Speech : Private Initiatives in Athens – Ways to a New Visual Reality, Kunsthalle Athena, Athens, GR
- Creativity: Open & Economically Sustainable Models of Creative Production, National Documentation Center (EKT),Athens, GR
- Net and Zelda: Internet stories and video games, Panteion University, Athens, GR
- Systems, Camp!, Athens, GR
- “Oiko-nomic threads” Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC), Seattle, USA, September 13-17, ACM New York, USA, pp 59-64.
- Koutsomichalis, M. Psarra, A. & Varela, M. (2014). Oiko-nomic Threads. Subtle Technologies Festival Symposium (Toronto, CA).
- Gkoutziouli K., Christofi M., Varela M. (Eds). Heath Bunting. How to build a New legal identity. A close look at Heath Bunting’s work and the workshop in Athens. Athens: Frown Publishing, 2014