Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Small Change - 'They forced us out of here: Walking the routes of the displaced'

Continuing the previous entry, you can read here more about Network Nomadic Architecture's walking action 'They forced us out of here: Walking the routes of the displaced' which took place in Athens, in June 2013. The video of the action is currently on show as part of Small Change, at AirSpace Gallery until the 7th of December.

Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Cartografie

NomadikiArchitektoniki (Nomadic Architecture Network):

consist of: 
Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Christina Thomopoulou, Aggeliki Vakali,  Sofia Grigoriadou, Kostas Plessas , Hristina Thomopoulou, Passtrespass , Panagiotis Andronikidis, Aggelos Skourtis, Lin Edmonds, Eleni Tzirtzilaki, lLana Giannakou, Patricio Villareal ,Stefanos Handelis ka.

Along the lines of a situationist approach of engaging with the city, Network Nomadic Architecture's walks blur the boundaries between art and life and open up spaces to engage with the city in different and creative ways. 

Ephemeral communities and shared urban experiences emerge, as dwellers encounter and join the walks along the way.  

The streets where this particular action was held constitute the old core of the city and host a.o. small shops by migrants or their informal gatherings and activities. The area has known an increase in the presence of police forces, as large-scale occupations and hunger strikes had taken place by those seeking legalisation and a temporary 'home' (for example, the Athens appeals court was occupied by 500 people) and whole groups have been arrested and sent to camps. 

Interrupting the narrative of displacement happening in the centre of Athens, these walking actions, where poems are recited, flowers are given to passers-by,  exchange of goods and stories happens, say that the city belongs to all its users.

They forced us out.Walking the road of displacement. Walking action.

Operation 'Xenios Zeus', aka forcing immigrants out of Athens and into camps, was launched in August 2012 when the city seemed to have been all but abandoned. But it was not just the immigrant population that was being swept away: HIV positive women had come before them, prostitutes, and drug users, the homeless, and street vendors who are still the focus of a crackdown...
So the city's streets and squares have been cleared and public space has been immersed in fear.
New projects are being launched by OLIAROS in collaboration with the City of Athens, such as 'Rethink Athens' and 'Re-Map Metaxourgio', building up to the gentrification of parts of the city and the continued displacements this implies.
But such projects probe deep into the skin/ground of the city.
The children of the Others will not be allowed to sit their exams this year since their parents have no residence permit and are unemployed. These children are denied their right to an education; school is yet another place from which they are banished.
This just adds to the sad list of things happening in Athens, like the attacks on migrants by members of the ultra right Chrysi Avgi.
We invite you to join us on a silent walk across the center of the city, starting from the site of the free self-organized theater Embros and finishing in Exarcheia (at the Social Center on Tsamadou St.  where a discussion will follow). Let us share stories, exchange poems and songs, insist that the city belongs to all its inhabitants with no exceptions made, no exclusions allowed, and that every man and woman has rights.

Saturday, June 1, 2013, 17:00, 'Embros' Free Self-organized Theater- Menandrou street  

Itinerary: Riga Palamidi and Sarri St. - Menandrou St. - Theater Square – Aghiou Konstantinou St. - Omonia Square – Patission St. - Stournari St. - Exarcheia Square – Social Center (Network for the Support of Immigrants and Refugees – 13, Tsamadou St., discussion).