The River of Life

By Danae Stratou, 2004

The River of Life is a video installation comprising seven 30’ films simultaneously projected in a specially constructed circular space.

It was created for and presented at the international exhibition TRANSCULTURES (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece), during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Curated by Anna Kafetsi.

A river generates life in the land it travels through…

Looking at satellite images of the Earth’s rivers, one has the impression of looking at the planet’s veins, the living veins of the Earth.

Travelling on a riverboat for a few days, you would slowly start to feel that you were tapping into the rhythm of its flow; a flow that is natural as breath and traverses via the river the Earth entire.

You would have the notion of travelling through this current that unites the world, and that you too are connected to this universal rhythm.

Seven major terrestrial rivers: the Danube, the Nile, the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Niger, the Yangtze and the Ganges.

A fluctuating inventory of the world. A glance, through which the entire world unfolds and wherein the image transforms: from place to place, from summer to winter, from culture to culture, from East to West, from night to day, from jungle to city, to desert…

A boundless moment, a moment which carries a timeless, eternal rhythm; the rhythm of the river, the rhythm which unifies the whole world and which bears along in its flow, all of humanity.

It is the rhythm of life – and its sound is the sound of the planet’s breathing.

I travelled for ten months following the flow of these seven major rivers of the world and dedicated about two years to the completion of  The River of Life. It was an experience that enriched and deepened my awareness of the world that surrounds me and of my own position within it.

Danae Stratou