“The temporary action «Desert» took place within the project Microgeographies I which was curated and produced by Hariklia Hari as a parallel event of Art Athina 2011. The area of New Faliron was intensely rebuilt for the Athens Olympic games of 2004. While this massive reconstruction scheme brought a radical change in its old usages, the area is now abandoned and looks like a vast desert made of concrete. By writing with chalk on the concrete blocks of the Olympic games buildings, the names of all the plants native to Attica, set down by the British botanologist John Sibthorp in 1786, the Filopappou Group sought to define a route. This route would lead -through the reminiscence of an idealized past- to the last places where people still strive to preserve parts of their old ways; indeed, such oasis of life often appear where life itself is no longer present. Following the route to its end, the passerby would arrive at a small feast where food and drink was served. This private party was co-organized by the Filopappou Group and the local nautical-athletic club S.E.A.NA.T.K. with the aim to highlight the contrast between an artificial environment and its usage.” Omada Filopappou
Microgeographies notes on the urban performance “Desert”*: “On May 2011, at the context of the Art-Athina art fair, Microgeographies realized a “double” exhibition and certain public discussions at the Faliro Pavilion (Tae Kwon Do) and concurrently at the neighbouring nautical-athletic club SEANATK, whereas the action “Desert” by Filopappou group was included. During the action “Desert” the Filopappou group wandered at the empty newly built spaces around the Tae Kwon Do and the Esplanade buildings; met with the local association of fi shermen Aghios Nicolaos at the edge of the harbor, and discussed the environmental changes and the everyday life of the local people; then the Group and the fi shermen together decided to organize the following action. To give an open-air dinner and invite the sailing people, the residents of the area, some of their friends and the visitors of the exhibition to discuss issues that concern the environment and human relations. And so the action was held. The Filopappou group mixed with the sailing men, sat leisurely at the tables in front of the SEANATK under the blinding sun, carving immaterial fl owers on the concrete ground. Then the Filopappou Group took white chalk and wrote one by one all the fi ﬅ y-eight names of the fl owers that could have grown there but have vanished. It was a Saturday aﬅernoon when they wrote them down, precisely 15 minutes past 1 when they started “botanizing the asphalt” as Walter Benjamin once wrote describing the way the fl âneur collects the treasures he fi nds in the street. Upon the roof of the SEANATK, on the elevated pedestrian road that connects the confusing newly built pink Olympic buildings; the fl owers existed there for quite a while.” H.H.
*Hariklia Hari. “Microgeographies”. Omada Filopappou Traces 01 -11. Eurasia Publications. Athens, 2011. p.89
Links on the process: