ΑΘΗΝΑ Σ' ΑΚΟΥΩ




HEAR YOU ATHENS (1998-2006) 


Athens, the third room of my apartment.

HEAR YOU ATHENS is a series of photographs and short narrations. It is also a correspondence between two friends, Georges Salameh and Alexandros Mistriotis. Their conversation, over the years, is summarized in a book.

This body of work was produced over an eight-year period, living and learning to observe the urban space as an expression of an experiential, direct, non-conceptual gaze. 

Wandering and sinking in Athens' chaos we abolish it. Chaos resists us because we resist it, for chaos becomes man.Wandering in time expanding outwards, Ι discover the inner in its entirety and Athens echoes ones' intimate space and aspirations as a citizen.

Through those years of my apprentice, I started off to hear & embrace my city neither for what I wanted it to be but for what it is and eluded me.

*All photographs are from 35mm slides.





ΑΘΗΝΑ Σ'ΑΚΟΥΩ (1998-2006)


Αθήνα, το τρίτο δωμάτιο του σπιτιού μου.

Το 'Αθήνα σ' Ακούω', είναι μια σειρά φωτογραφιών και μικρών αφηγήσεων. Είναι και μία αλληλογραφία μεταξύ δύο φίλων, των Georges Salameh και Αλέξανδρου Μιστριώτη. Αυτή η συνομιλία τους μέσα στα χρόνια, συνοψίζεται σε ένα βιβλίο.

Οι εικόνες έχουν παραχθεί σε μια περίοδο οχτώ χρόνων, μαθαίνοντας να παρατηρώ το αστικό τοπίο, σαν μια έκφραση ενός βιωματικού, άμεσου, μη εννοιολογικού βλέμματος. 

Περιπλανώμενος και βυθιζόμενος στο χάος της Αθήνας, το καταργώ. Το χάος αντιστέκεται όσο του αντιστεκόμαστε, γιατί το χάος ταιριάζει στον άνθρωπο. Περιπλανώμενος στο χρόνο που ανοίγει, ανακαλύπτω το ελάχιστο ολόκληρο, και η Αθήνα αντηχεί τον οικείο μου χώρο και τις φιλοδοξίες μου ως πολίτης.

Μέσα από τα χρόνια της μαθητείας μου στην Αθήνα, ξεκίνησα να ακούω και να αγκαλιάζω την πόλη μου, όχι για αυτό που θα έπρεπε να είναι ή για αυτό που θα ήθελα να είναι, αλλά για αυτό που είναι και μου διαφεύγει.

*Όλες οι φωτογραφίες είναι από διαφάνειες 35mm.





* CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE LARGER

farewell
I took this photo on an august night in 1998, the day my grandfather passed away, but a few days later my bag with the slides inside were stolen. So I re-shot the photo few weeks later, and was left with only a reproduction of that lost image & a missed farewell. That became a turning point in how I understood photography as a tool of expression and as an artistic gesture.





subway tickets
After the first few months living in Athens in 1998, we started having those long conversations about how one has to love his “ugly” city, otherwise his effort shall remain on the surface and fall of its body, and how only by sinking in its chaos we abolish it… and other theoretical stuff that seemed abstract to me until that morning, when I crossed this kid at Victoria station: Occupying Athens with his imagination!





newspapers
Before coming to Athens, newspapers belonged to the daily life of a child who grew up during a civil war, today they seem timeless.





grey costume 
Sometimes at the end of a street, incidentally, we meet men who are ‘islands’ in this urban sea.






statuette
War, hated by mothers.





crimson jacket
Sometimes I followed an elderly person through the streets of Athens for a few steps to remind myself of all the old dead people in my family, left behind in Lebanon without having had the chance to say "goodbye" to them.






halo






retainer





Agios Panteleimon square
After the fall of the Soviet bloc and the war in the former Yugoslavia, living in Athens at the end of the 90s and daily observing many children, from these migrations, growing up in the city squares, like seeds for a possible future Cosmopolitan Athens, I never imagined that one day, some would only call them "foreigners"!







clips
The crab without its claws dies, as the state without its para-economy. (Greek proverb)






prank





sweeper
Cleaning up, during the Olympics in 2004, in front of the image of the Acropolis, wrapping partly the facade of some athenian buildings in ruins, the famous “Kountouriotika“: refugee housing compounds, built in 1934-40, after the great Catastrophe in 1922, Alexandras Avenue.
An icon that became five years later a premonition of a new era for Athens!






Hotel Acropole






shadow mask
Looking towards the future, the past or just the sky of Athens!





heat wave






florist
This is not a shopping trolley.






lamp






landlord





flokati
Whenever I see a red flokati (Greek carpet), I hear bombshells whistling!






blue plastic bag






Nikiou13






Athenian face
Staring at the inevitable, in the chaos of Omonia Square, belly button of Athens.





empty cart
Melancholy, despair without means.






strikers
Not believing in your own actions anymore, is like eating pepitas in the middle of a revolution!






undergraduate
A casual visit or perhaps a rendez-vous with History.






redhead and dog
Between the age of 13 and 16 years old, I had been struggling with my overloaded double school program, when suddenly everything was abruptly interrupted, on March 14th 1989, by another chapter of the Lebanese civil war.
My parents decided to leave for Greece that summer, but this time they would never come back.
A few years later, I realised when I was already at university in Paris, that I had missed this transitional phase between puberty and adulthood: I overlapped my teenage rebellion, no passionate love stories at school, no secrets from my parents, no strange haircut, no drinking and driving, no wild parties, no other risk-taking behaviours, and not one relevant immature adventure other than going once to a casino with friends, forgetting to tell my mother that I'll eat out ...
After my studies, my military service and my return to Athens, was born a certain nostalgia for an age never fully lived.
My teenage years manifested before me one day, a fleeting moment, when two trains occasionally intersect in a subway station.
All lasted for a glimpse !






heart






yellow plastic bag






girl
A yellow hyphen between a gaze and an apparition.






bedside table






pimp
Under the indifferent eye of the most hollow gaze!





hieroglyphs
'It is forbidden to display feelings'





Cavafy
Behind a public bench, Egypt square, at the end of Alexandras Avenue, once a river, which empties its flux of traffic into Patision avenue, forming a delta, reminiscent of the Nile and the city of Alexandria, the place of origin of Constantinos Cavafy, author of the poem “Walls“, now gazing for years at those of Athens' and its buildings … Is it the irony of fate or the decision of a civil servant, like him sitting behind his desk and plotting against oblivion?






tires






Maria
Sometimes her face inspired me hope or longing. Other times, she recalled "The Scream"by Edward Munch, and once I even heard that silence of the early morning hours, after a heavy night of bombardments. It also can be the quality of this icon that enables mirroring and enhancing a particular feeling of the moment. It might as well be the power of this underground passage that echoes in us the voice of Athens.





boyhood






judge






yellow folder
There are times when downcast eyes can be more penetrating than a direct look into the lense ...






green blanket






two columns
- What are the foundations of an identity?
- It is rather ruins and identity crisis!





Makriyannis‘ broken sword
There’s is always something revealed in a story and silenced in History.





red high heels
My eros for Athens began inadvertently one spring afternoon while entering Attiki’s subway station.
A tiny, internal, almost quiet explosion, that would determine my future.
One first love that would sign my skin for ever, like this little scar on my cheek that everyone thinks it’s a dimple!




left hand
Awaiting for the subway, I heard a female voice, on the station's speakers, whispering: "Raise your left hand and swear that you shall tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the expanding moment in time."






urban rails






tenant





book


For orders please contact here: memsea.productions@gmail.com
For more information please click here

17×24 cm, 96 pages, 50 color photographs
Texts Georges Salameh & Alexandros Mistrotis
Softcover (yellow or green), ota binding
Offset printing
Greek & English
ISBN 978-618-85273-0-0
Edition of 500
Athens, May 2021






featured 









editions 

Photographic Aspects and Views / Hear you Athens 


13th Venezia Architecture Biennale / Athena Bender of Vision 





exhibition 

Urban Of - Athens Photo Festival (Greece, Oct 2000)



10.1.01 A.Σ.Κ.Τ (Greece, Jan 2001)



Athens: Photographic Aspects and Views - Benaki Museum (Greece, Sept 2001) 



 
Anatomy of Political Melancholy (Samos, Greece, summer 2018)



 
Anatomy of Political Melancholy (Athens, Greece, Feb.-April 2019)



WHEN IN ATHENS (Georgia, USA, June 2021)