Echoes of Eco at Documenta 14
Two Walks in Athens
The publishing collective continent., co-founded in 2010 by Critical Media Lab Senior Research Jamie Allen, will go to Athens this year to stage a walk and talk in that city on the subject of economic and ecological interactions.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. Ecosystems and financial systems have increasingly been deregulated and in conflict. In places like the economic zone of China’s Pearl River Delta, the more passable Northwest Passage, and the petrochemical sunsets of Athens, we can sense and grasp the effects of capital exchange, accumulation, and collapse. The invisible hand of the “free” market is made visible in physical spaces, becoming more apparent, tangible, everyday. Economy and ecology, often presumed in opposition, echo a common root—oikos, a household or dwelling place—respectively through its management, and the interrelation of its parts. The growing economisation of material ecologies now responds to the progressive naturalisation of modern economic science.
Echoes of Eco is a set of walks in Athens that gathers an open group of researchers, activists, artists, onlookers, and passersby—an attempt to experience and make sense of the intertwined economic and ecological “crises”. On these walks, we will visit and discuss local sites chosen for their connection to the graspable, material effects of the current political economy, marketisation, urbanisation, privatisation, resource and land use. In walking and considering together, we also wonder aloud how “learning with” (instead or in addition to “learning from”) a place, its people and things, might be possible.
How might we witness, gather and create documents, think through and annotate sites in Athens—a place of dwelling saturated by economic debates and reconfigurations? What spaces have been created geographically, altered geologically, or damaged physically by local, regional and global economic forces? Where do market drives toward the spastic exchange and unbounded growth or erosion of capital (monetary, cultural and otherwise) touch down in the city of Athens? Can we trace, underline and read the marks that these forces leave on the bodies of places, people, animals, plants and things that constitute the city? What becomes of the city when the very modes of government and means of trade it has given birth to turn against it—eroding its grounds, disintegrating its assemblies, ruining its ruins?