2. Vive le Monstre!

with Dafni Retzepi

Let’s assume that the city of Athens in its contemporary morphology is made of a substance whose state is more often liquid than solid. This supposition is based on a theorem named the Hopeful Monster’s Hypothesis, which regards Athens as if it were a sea, a massive environment capable of expressing its will by its expansion, a living organism containing cells and desires. These individual cells forming the expanding liquidity of Athens are in their majority of the same type (polykatoikia), a juxtaposition of which leads to the creation of a uniform texture spreading progressively. On top of this trembling surface of individual cells one can now observe a few floating pieces of land, forbidden islands, steep exceptions of a presumed public condition, simultaneously both loud and silenced, both ancient and new, both visible and forgotten.

There exists however a piece of Athenian land which is neither floating nor part of the texture, an in-between space neither individual nor collective. The coexistence of ancient ruins, illegal constructions, industrial buildings and polykatoikies , makes of the place where used to stand the Academy of Plato a kind of surreal setting, fertile for experimentation. Vive le Monstre! explores this site where mythology and reality meet in an undefined way, by proposing a composition of four buildings incarnating four different stories, while simultaneously silently arguing on the same topic. The composition is positioned on the fond of an orthogonal public park which becomes an artificial piece of nostalgic landscape, a regular plantation of olive trees.

This experiment that you are about to discover is fuelled by the monstrous force of the Athenian individuality in a positive way, by strategically employing four floating ideas, bridges uniting the individual to the collective, hétérotopies, places without places seeking to awaken the buried mythologies, ships filled with words, buildings as much public as individual, desperately trying to recite a poem: Vive le Monstre!