PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY OF ATHENS

One of the definitions of Psychogeography that stands closest to my own perception is “the absolute dissolution of the boundaries between art and life”. This is exactly what I try to demonstrate through what I create, that life is full of art and must be lived in such way, despite its flaws, the wounds, the passage of time. Comparing the "soul" as well as the identity of the buildings with those of the people, I try to highlight their similarities by playing with the meanings of art and the essence of life.

 

People of big cities are no longer looking at the sky. They usually look down, heartbroken, or around, nervous, but rarely up. This realization occurred to me when in February 2019 I traveled to Athens while having spent a period during which I was constantly looking at the sky every time I walked the wide and moist streets of Berlin. On the one hand, I was going through a period of contentment, on the other architecture of the German let my eyes take glorious bites of the world. In Athens, however, things are different: The buildings are creating a slightly claustrophobic feeling as one walks in the streets of the city, leaving little space for the eye to ferret out the blue sky.

Where is the soul in all this matter? The soul of the vernacular experiences of people of Athens over the decades, the soul of their moments, the "soul" of the influences of the geographical environment that were found there unconsciously, as Guy Debord would look for? I decided to walk in the very center of Athens in search of the soul of the buildings and consequently of their occupants, turning my gaze and the lens of my camera upwards, in order to highlight an aspect of the Greek capital which is rarely captured. What I saw confirmed my initial predisposition. It was the recording of the chronology of the everyday life in its most obscure and two-dimensional form.

Looking up, one sees at first sight distortions of the original structure and architecture of the buildings. Something that, seen through a different “lens”, seems more like an abstract painting than distortion. The experiences these buildings bear have been so vividly mixed with their years of living to the extend where their soul is revealed as an abstract painting. Art made of leaks, negligence, decay, time, like everything we let go in oblivion within us; dreams, the importance of accountability, insufficiently processed remnants of our failures. Some of these buildings, however, remain well-preserved, exactly as those traits that people take good care of maintaining and mostly are in accordance with the (imposed) social norms. These are the buildings that house banks or luxury apartments of the city center of Athens.

The consequence of observing buildings and their art through my personal "lens" is that the authenticity of identity entails wrinkles, flaws and scars. It is essential not to forget to look up to them and for the higher, the brighter and the more complete part of the self despite of their existence. It is of vital importance to learn how to love our worst traits and through them to cultivate a more conductive soil for what’s about to come. There won’t be many people who will notice or would care, but those who will are the ones who deserve to go higher with us.

In a society that pre-determines and prejudices everything before us for us, being able to look our flaws in the eye as if they were precious works of art is the most beautiful form of revolution.