arisandmartha

IN-QUARRY

an extended choreographic research 2022

A PLACE TO RETURN TO

The former lime and stone quarries situated around the area known as Tourkovounia between the municipalities of Galatsi (west) and Philothei – Palaio Psychiko (east) have been capitalised on by the private company Kekrops-Lato for around four decades (1937 to 1976) and since the closure of the facilities another 46 years have gone by leaving the landscape deeply traumatised by the heavy exploitation of land and its subsequent abandonment. The recovering landscape is partially taken care of by private initiative and some basic maintenance by the municipality, while the ownership of the land has been disputed over between the Kekrops private company, the municipality of Palaio Psychiko and the public sector for some 32 years now.

The extensively excavated and therefore fragmented and discontinued terrain, appears in the eyes of the visitor as a contemporary ruin or relic; its distinct topography consisting of accentuated vertical cuts, leaving the rocky surfaces exposed. Like a corpse out of rock, like a current-age dinosaur on the brink of extinction.

The quarries in the periphery of the city center provided lime and stone to address the evergrowing demand for building material from which the first suburban settlements where built. The expansion of the metropolitan area of Athens has left it without adequate resources of open-air green spaces. Now the former quarry and current park area, is serving another cause. The quarry  emptied of its natural material resources is itself a void. A void that is now filled with several contemporary everyday uses and the directly related to them variety of contemporary, ephemeral structures, giving new life to the place, reclaiming the right to practice public space (Space is a practiced place) and rendering it’s new uses valid and relevant. The above has been highlighted even more during the recent lockdown periods, where the quarry attracted hundreds of visitors from nearby neighbourhoods as well as quite distanced areas.