It all started with a bang.. Then light... Before the crash, a memory: two emerging interdisciplinary artists, Japanese-American Kentaro Kumanomido and German-American Teaque Owen at Onassis Stegi — A queering occurs, a spontaneous mutation... A death, in Athens... A murder, in Athens... A death...
Zak Kostopoulos (1985-2018) was an Athens-based Greek-American drag artist and political activist who died at the hands of the Municipal Athenian Police during the daylight hours of 21 September 2018—the event was filmed by civilian bystanders whose cell phone footage was broadcast widely over Greek internet and TV. Faster Than Light (FTL) documents Kostopoulos as his drag persona Zakie Oh! in Athens alongside members of Zak/Zackie's artistic milieu. As a work of multiform cinema, FTL invites viewers to experience the grief and gratitude inspired by Zak/Zackie as one of the most prominent LGBTQIA+ activists in Greece. FTL has appeared in various iterations at Onassis Stegi, Ars Electronica’s ERROR Festival, Les Rencontres Bandits-Mages, and Athens Pride Week.
faster than light is a feature length film representing a network of LGBTQ+ people from Athens, Greece as they traverse multidimensional pathways for existence, healing, justice & grief within a surreal fabric of relations.
in collaboration with presenting partners and in juxtaposition to the film, faster than light invites Athens-based drag artists to perform alongside the presentation of the film to spotlight queer power & h(er)stories through live performance.
faster than light also includes the installation of a multimedia altar space for audiences to contemplate the legacy of Zackie Oh! as a queen of creative self-expression, vulnerable activism, and radical self-acceptance.
a performative talk back with monologues curated by the directors in collaboration with local LGBTQI+ activists/performers and social justice organizers to express & explore notions around performance, collectivity, self care, art & activism.
Co-directed: Kentaro Kumanomido & Thomas Anthony Owen
Film participants: ActiVista / George Kounanis, Chraja, Tracy Fischer, Giorgos Kalogeropoulos, Efi Karagiannopoulou, Zak Kostopoulos, Maria Michailidou, Thomas Anthony Owen, Khalid Prem, Evi Tsaklanou, Avraam Vrohidis
Vouge Performance: Chraja
Lead Sound Design: Stratos Bichakis
Where Did I Go?: BLANKIE / Alicia Grant
Αρχιπουστης : Chraja
Cinematography: Nikolas Pottakis, Kentaro Kumanomido, Thomas Anthony Owen (lead camera), Zinzi Buchanan (support camera)
Makeup support: Anastasia Athanasiou
Translation support: Anis Alexandros El Namparaoui
Special thanks to: Mor Demer and Vicki Kapo
Produced by: Onassis Stegi
About the EMARE Residency:
During their 2 months residency at Onassis Stegi as a part of the EMAP / EMARE program, the artists researched non-digital networks within the urban ecology of Athens, choosing to work closely with the LGBTQIA+ community of Athens. After the EMAP research residency, Kumanomido, Owen & their Athens-based cast continued to collaborate and further develop Faster Than Light into a short film and hybrid performance project.