History

The Multivalent Communication Network was founded in 1993 by Manthos and Dodo Santorineos with the purpose of acting as a flexible source of creativity and research around the confluence of art with technology and science. It is active in most forms of art (visual arts, theatre, dance, performance, electronic and digital art). It has been the most important carrier for the development of digital culture in Greece with seminars, productions and events, most notably through the creation of the international festival "Mediaterra".

Since 2000 it has emphasized theatre and the performing arts, as Manthos Santorineos' research on the development of the Digital Arts in Greece was incorporated by the Athens School of Fine Arts when he was appointed professor in that institution.

Fournos is housed in the former bakery of the Santorineos family in Neapoli, Exarchia in Athens. Elements of the space's original function, such as the chimney and the stone walls from 1935, have been preserved in its central hall, fragments of a bygone but equally creative era during which the bakery functioned as a neighbourhood gathering place. These construction elements are often utilized as props in theatrical and digital events.

From the time of its founding until the present day, Fournos has provided a fertile environment for collaboration, presentation of new ideas, and discovery of new artists that often went on to become notable figures in the art world. In its 28 years of activity it has produced many significant works, including both large and small scale cultural events, and has hosted performances by recognized as well as emerging creative artists.

Early on, Fournos began to place special emphasis on events relating to children, believing that people should be introduced to culture at a very early age when they have the ability to relate to it in their own authentic, spontaneous fashion and to sense the creativity and wealth that a cultural event can provide. Based on this thinking, the Children's Theatre was created to present theatrical performances for children 2.5 years of age and older. It has been followed in this for years by its young audience and their caregivers, by schools, and by the municipalities that put their trust in its activities. In addition, before its creation, the founders were involved in producing quality television programs such as "Journey to the Stars", "Black Squares" (chess), "Hara and Gudun" by Eugene Trivizas, "Argonaut" by Stratis Myrivilis, and others.

In 2021 the successful children's show "Apple Sugar Cinnamon" inspired FournosLab to create a video game with funding from the Ministry of Culture.

As its official title indicates, the Multivalent Communication Network prioritizes the activity of networking. As such it has collaborated with many individuals, groups and institutions which have contributed to the success of its activity, while many artists have taken their first professional steps in its spaces.

Fournos, and in particular the Medi@terra International Festival, is supported by the Ministry of Culture, the General Secretariat for Youth, the Council of Europe, the Goethe Institute, the French Institute, the Hellenic American Union, the I.F. Kostopoulou Foundation, donors and other carriers and sites in Greece and abroad.

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