02.08.2022 - 08.08.2022
Irini Mantinaou, archival installation “The Voice of the School”

— Porfyriada, Karlovasi


The Voice of the School*

Searching for my connection to Samos, I discover that my grandfather passed through here, right after the Asia Minor Catastrophe. He then interrupted his studies at the Evangelical School of Smyrna. He came to the nearest island. On the opposite coast. He saw schools functioning as places of accommodation for refugees. Spaces of coexistence, communication and creation. He decided to become a teacher, as he wanted from the beginning, before the war stopped his studies.

Population censuses. At that time, teachers often worked as secretaries in local communities. Samos is full of new names. Letters become organs. To build the new place. The Asia Minor Catastrophe brings refugees and settlements. Sea brings the algae. Organs that receive the inner voices of the stories by inhaling and emit them by exhaling.

Liquid organs, liquid letters.

Common place, common displacement.

After the war census.

The sea brings them.

The huge mouth of the world spits out building materials and stories.

The algae are uprooted.

The dried leaves of the notebooks.

Moist voices enter the condemned ears, always open.

Ears hidden, ears built.

The new place.

Oral written, other language foreign class.

The teacher.

The voice of the school.


*Name of the monthly pedagogical magazine of the Samos Teaching Union (1951-58)


Εirini Mantinaou was born in Karpathos and lives in Piraeus. She studied at the School of Interior Architecture, Decoration and Industrial Design of  T.E.I. of Athens, from where she graduated in 2016. As of 2022 she is a graduate of the Athens  School of Fine Arts in the field of Painting and the 9th Painting Studio (with an emphasis on new media). Through her work she explores concepts related to the archive and the narration. She constructs genealogies of inquiry around ancestry, indigeneity and displacement, oral history and invented narratives, and the survivals of the folkloric record.