Mortal Astronauts is a working group, a public program, a compendium of materials.

Grounded on a broad field of action, Mortal Astronauts use shared spaces and gradually evolve. Acknowledging dependency models, the program is born out of connections, with collaborators from all fields of production, artistic and non-artistic, constantly furthering its activities and processes. The metrics of institutional governance and the precarious, mostly neglected, position of artworkers, students, and educators, build its core. 

Conceived as a nomadic structure, it assumes various forms through its iterations, hosted in different institutions, spaces, and contexts. Mortal Astronauts are organized by Haris Giannouras.

The Third Wedding

A Seminar

April - July 2023
Academy of Fine Arts Mainz

A publication-based project in collaboration with the working group Mortal Astronauts, hosted at the Academy of Fine Arts Mainz.

Students will work on a collective publication project in response to the legacy of Costas Taktsis’ seminal work “Trito Stefani” (1962). The publication is in dialogue with Taktsi’s conception of passing in the context of a Greek middle-class family.

“The Third Wedding” is a novel by Kostas Taktsis. Taktsis wrote the novel during his wanderings outside Greece in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He proposed it to three publishing houses, but they rejected it. It was finally published in 1962 at the author’s expense but was not successful then. It was republished in 1970 by Hermes Publications in Athens, enjoyed great commercial success, and established Taktsis among the best-known prose writers of his generation. In 1995-1996 it was adapted as a television series.


The program’s first iteration forms a series of public meetings under the title Thieves & Pickpockets: The Silent Histories of Unionizing. These events consist of collective readings, lectures, screenings, an open colloquium, and a showing. The program will unroll at selected venues and online. All research materials will be collected and archived online. More information on the time and location of the events will follow here.


Hugs, Tables,
& Assemblies

Cana Bilir-Meier
Nino Bulling
Karī Mugo
Marc Siegel
Max L. Feldman
The Third Wedding 
Mortal Astronauts

organized by Kunsthochschule Mainz & Schloss Balmoral 
Hugs, Tables and Assemblies: Considering Coexistence is an event that brings together pieces of history, storytelling, communal dining, poetry, and film to investigate the ways we live together. Shedding light and working through issues of coexistence proves today more urgent than ever, both for art and its histories, as for society, politics, and science. It is conceived as an open ended laboratoty.

Gentle overlappings, points of friction, processes of Othering, hostile hugs and heartwarming stories take residence in its core, a testament to its multiplicity. The project seeks to address the multifarious sides of coexistence as a state of being, a constant of living. Hopeful yet precarious, the conditions, agency, and models inherit to its ways reveal the complex and strenuous nuances of interdependence.

Discussing the public and private realm in her seminal work “The Human Condition” (1958) Hannah Arendt writes on the object of the table the following lines: “To live together in the world means essentially that a world of things is between those who have it in common, as a table is located between the people who sit around it; the world like every in-between, relates and separates men at the same time.”1 It is precisely this nuanced, fragile, state of in-between exemplified in the position of the table in Arendt’s words which the project seeks to embody, bridging art and discourse, inquiring into the context of coexisting with a critical eye, while exploring new models and approaches. Oscillating between criticality and poetics the program comes alive in shared

spaces, communal experiences, and episodes of togetherness.


Nostalgia is often linked to leaving the sea back. Waterlands are special places. Even if capital and its flows make people leave them behind for a bit.


Vessels & Catastrophes

Giles Bailey
Fiona Banner
aka the Vanity Press
Taemin Lee
Phung-Tien Phan
Le Bar sous le toit

with a film work by
Maria Lassni

Opening: Thursday, March 16, 19.00h 

curated by Haris Giannouras
hosted at Mélange, Cologne 

Charlotte Perriand’s manifesto “Wood or Metal” was first published April 1929 in The Studio (no.441, pp.278-79). In its original form, the text included a selection of words that were intentionally capitalized.



Star Wars was really a story about the paradoxes and struggles of family structures. Customs, repetitions, and traditions are established in order to perpetuate norms. Some are good, some less good. Nostalgia sometimes tends to penetrate set norms and gives us a chance to better reflect on how we used to live with one another, how rules were performed, why they were broken, or perhaps even why they had to be broken to facilitate societal change on a larger scale. Here I am eyeing with utter jealousy my grandfather hugging my brother and a chocolate cake patiently waiting to be eaten.
I still love chocolate a lot, I have become quite a big hugger and insist on eyeing things I have a random opinion about.

Breaking plates is an interesting Greek tradition. Some people see it as cathartic, a means of exuberance and outreach, a through and a how. Greeks clap when plates get broken, purposely and by accident. Sometimes it’s a liberating thing to brake the porcelain but others it’s equally nice to find them neatly organized at an old doorstep in Berlin.

Flowers are quite interesting, particularly fresh-cut ones. They stay with you for a short period of time, they stand tall, linger, move around, they whisper to each other and evidently stay quiet. Besides the romantic reception of the lifecycle principle, flowers are a rather beautiful communal contract. Giving them to someone created the presupposition of a reply, or commemorated a moment of importance. Based on Marcel Moss’ “gift” principle this concept has been postulated over the years as a means of creating societal relations via obligation. Flowers feel a step above that I think. They breathe in, breathe out, the commune, and bridge through care rather than through obligation.

This picture was taken in the north of Greece around 1920. In a societal context shaped by masculinities these three generations of women, seen on the left side of the photograph, proved to be an important contribution to the histories of maternal lineages. 

Blue clouds are a very tender thing. They can be ridden and carry someone quite far away, they are made of water that then proceeds to melt away, they swirl and hide things one can hardly imagine. Cloudy Sunday is an old Greek song that’s rather hard to understand. It’s one of those heavy macho things perhaps. But there is still some subtle sweetness in there too, maybe not accessible to all or instantly. You have to dig through the fog to get to the heart I assume. The picture is of a child dressed as a cloud. His mom made the costume. Even though the colors clearly don’t match, she did it anyway because he liked the idea of blue clouds on a white sky better. 

This plastic wall clock was most likely gifted to someone as a promotional advertisement venture from a major construction company in northern Greece in the early 1990s. Levitating between the birth of contemporary information dissemination and the heritage of the first phase of globalization, that era holds a particular place in South European politics. It was the time that made us look into the mirror between the poor past we were honorees of and the bright plastic future of neoliberal cooperation shining over the horizon known as United Europe. Being on time is crucial when someone else monetizes set time. Clocks are hence important agents. Don’t underestimate the subversive power of a promotional item withstanding time.