Enoikiazetai is a typology series based on my perceptions of Athens streets and its crisis.
Patission Street is one of the major streets in downtown Athens, and even though crisis is an overwhelmed subject, I was interested in research and photograph this avenue because based on my background – the place I born and grew up – I could not see the crisis in Greece, except by this specific location, Patission street.
Throughout my project, I want to examine the structure of the word crisis and what does It mean for each person. During my research I found out that, in the past, Athenians used to entertain themselves, go for walks, movies, and theatres at Patission; however, today the reflection of the past meets the present; the theater does still exist, but It’s falling apart; the shops still exist, but with closed doors. Nothing has changed but everything changed.
I observed that many Athenians moved away from Kypseli [where Patission is located] because of the rise of low-class people in the area as well as immigrants, in which I am included. Therefore, in order to perceive what’s surrounding me and conclude this project, I put myself as an observer, walker, and participant, being present.
The photographs were taken between end 2013 – early 2014. I found and photographed 175 closed front stores, tagged as ‘for rent’, ‘for sale’ and sometimes ‘free’.
175 photographs remaining only to an aesthetic of current place, we still can see in it a portrait including all of us
In this artwork, Nina Franco brings a contemporary of dawdling flâneur on her record of a forgotten piece of Athens today.
It shows a striking image that rouses the viewer the absence of a reality filled by bystanders, the third-millennium flâneurs, non-existent in these so fast communications circuits and therefore causing the abandonment of a trade area.
Walter Benjamin spoke in his book Das Passagen-Werk, about changing the company’s pace of life especially when he noticed the decrease of dawdling in Paris of the late nineteenth century. In it, he wrote about the disappearance of people who just walked through town to enjoy the path, the flâneurs, and this path was starting to be the new way in the shops’ galleries he named Das Passagen-Werk. This change was imposed by the pace of the modern economy, where productivity and consumption were needed and the enjoyment was abandoned.
Here, in this intense contrast, through Nina’s pictures, we can observe the speed of an era may result in an economic system located. A semblance of existence, driven by a society stirred by a supersonic economy, in which information flows through mega-irrigated networks, perhaps causes not living with a look that truly sees. And even less is perceived.
Stella Arbizu, Writer. 2015