The Penelopiad Project is a long-term research and creative collaboration of Avenir Institute and opera director Jeanne Pansard-Besson. It is a timely and timeless critical, futures-building response to pertinence, repetition and constant reproduction of The Odyssey narrative in philosophy, visual culture, anthropology and politics. We were inspired by the eponymous book by Margaret Atwood. The figure of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, is central in our inquiry in alternative narratives within immortal world-building poetic heritage of the Ancient oecumene. Our ambition is to rebuild this world with Penelope and other secondary figures narrated at the background and placing them in the spotlight of the storytelling.

The form and aesthetics of Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades’ and the theory of auteurship of Roland Barthes are the departing points for the format and design of our inquiries. We aim to produce innovative, hybrid and outside-of-the-box/out of the box performances, opera, publications, films. The Penelopiad is an ongoing journey towards sublime equilibrium of possible futures that aren’t ‘locked down’ by the weight of the ideologically pre-defined norms, static dictates of values and non-negotiable structures of being. We are creating a moral parliament of  emergence in the spirit of Archaic Greek theatre and Dionysia festival, but on the platform of contemporary technologies and multimedia information transmissions.

The project was launched in Venice at The Palace of Ritual during the preview days of the 58th Biennale Arte in May, 2019.