DRIFTING AROUND in the city, without purpose or destination, holding my camera in the hand and trying to find my way through the complex urban labyrinth of the city: Omonia, Metaxourgeio, Psyrri, Keramikos, Theseion, Monastiraki, Akropoli, Plaka, Exarxeia, Polytechneio, ...  Seeking for meaning in the meanders of the streets and those of history and memory. I heavily doubt that I would any soon find any kind of overview or compile a meaningful story behind the chaos... so I keep on wandering aimlessly through the streets of the city, with my camera in the hand taking pictures ...

I am thinking about Guy Debord and his concept of dérive. Debord defines the dérive as "a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances."

The concept of the dérive has its origins in the Letterist International, an avant-garde and Marxist collective based in Paris. The dérive was a critical tool for understanding and developing the theory of psychogeography, defined as the "specific effects of the geographical environment (whether consciously organized or not) on the emotions and behavior of individuals."

Athens has experienced significant shocks during the recent past, that exposed the weaknesses of the city and the long-term stresses underlying them. The socio-economic crisis laid bare the failings and limitations within the city. It also revealed the city’s essential strengths, hidden resources and talents. 

The question is - how can Athens reflect, learn and proactively put in place resourceful, robust and inclusive systems that not only deal with current difficulties and shortcomings but also transform the city and make it strong and successful for a future that will bring new challenges?

The last time  I was in Athens alone with the purpose to take pictures was in 2016 (read the blog entry). Since then the city has decayed even more. The social conditions are further deteriorated Living at the edge ... Where you are looking, you see uncontrolled immigration, poverty, despair ... everywhere, decayed buildings,  job insecurity, precarious working and living conditions ...  The recovery and new economic growth is a medial staging ... a big political lie.

You can find travel logs from previous journeys to Athens here:   Athens Diary #2  and Athens Street Photography, Athens Diary #1


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