Traces (2008-2010)

A gun pointed at the forehead that captures the eyelids in an anxious tremor and a constant threat for the pulling of the trigger that will send a bullet through a body neglected for a long time… This is the imagery of the Greek crisis as a break and the condensed historical time in a capsized clock. The crisis is usually being articulated in the public discourse as a purely financial fact whose management remains strictly focused to curves of a statistical graph. The country is a terrain of simulation of a laboratory condition, fully detached and impenetrable form the social and emotional statuses of its own citizens.

However, even the quantified targets that have been set as part of a strategy of exit from the crisis, only the shell of a place would have been saved, as this corresponds to a specific zone of the globe, inside of which devastation is the dominant trait, as a result of violent pauperization and the drastic reversal of not only the everyday life of human subjects but also of the collective promise of joy. The Greek version of the shock therapy, translated as the loyal revivals of the extreme applied neoliberal economic policy that constitutes the passage of “bare life” from the sphere of theoretical propositions to that of lived experience. It is the denuding of life in the state of exception, the lifting of any protective coverage and its direct exposure to danger.

In a social fabric fragmented to dumb individual entities one can see increasingly fading the traits of a past of unconcern, expectation and welfare, a past that is so recent but also utterly distant. Even the narcissistic trait of the newly rich or the cunning truancy of the constant postponement of responsibility as a refusal to actually become adult, elements that were characteristic of the neo-Hellenic temperament, have been smudged by the foot-prints of crisis as an event. Lack is the fundamental element of the constitution of the new normality, from human rights to the meaning of existence, making the big Greek cities representations of collective reclusion, where darkness becomes destiny and the management of loss a lonely business.

Greece in crisis is a society silently experiencing its mourning and without a compass to help it open its wings. At the same time it is a frozen moment in terms of the historicity of every society which has faced or will face a power system structurally grounded in social injustice and inequality in the sense of the absence of a collective vision, where the possibility of the “feasible” is being limited to the embedment of an invisible yet giant barbed wire.

This fixation upon the semiology of pain in an endless downfall we search in the walls the reflection of a bubble as the sign of an encrypted message of freedom in the manner described by Steinbeck at the time of the Depression.

«Then I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be ever’where—wherever you look. Whenever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Whenever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there… I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’-I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build-why, I’ll be there.»

– John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath,