II.Votanikos tool kit
“Utopia is not longer an ideal. Utopia is reality’s potential to be transformed.” (Peter Noever)
Since Votanikosness works merely with its own resources the area has it is very important to mention all of them. The process of Votanikosness, and of the modification of spaces are constituted by a tool kit of the resources that can be found on the site, in the Greek Constitution, in peopleâ€™s mind. These resources range from human, spatial, physical to mental.
There is a recently enacted Greek law caused by the fact that a lot of people have been leaving the country abandoning many buildings. According to the law,
“If a building is abandoned for more than 10 years, it falls into the public realm.”
On the one hand, this law will allow the design interventions and actions to be legal to be built up. On the other hand, and most importantly, this law gives a structure of time to the interventions. Every year a certain amount of new buildings can get in the system of the incisions, interventions, relocations. This means that the design intervention itself would work both with a “designer,” and with the natural actions of Votanikos people.
The designer would come every year, would go through the newly “freed” buildings with the other resources of the site, with the help of the Votanikos people, with the tools, with the matrix to make all the interventions work in their context, relocate elements, and leave. During the rest of the year, Votanikos people would work as nature; keep on interacting with the physicality of the site with the same tools and skills that they already have.
As a starting point, Votanikosness builds up on the abandondeness of the site; 60% of the actual built environment has no function at the moment, but they are either completely or partly in usable, even good condition.
As well as there are abandoned buildings, there are abandoned squares, spaces, lands, dead end streets; the ones around the abandoned buildings.
The abandoned catalogue
For the classification of these materials, spaces, buildings an abandoned catalogue has been made that shows the location of the buildings, photographs of them, and in a short description explains its state, when has it been abandoned â€“ so according to the law when can it be intervened - and what was its original function.
Roma site, use of resources fo the site
Agias Zonis road
The abandoned tool kit
90 90 90
A catalogue for these tools has been made as well.
In all of these abandoned spaces â€“ mostly factories or terrains â€“ there are also abandoned machinery, cranes, axes, ladders, cements, etc., that can be used for the deconstruction and reconstruction of spaces, walls, physical entities.
The villagers know how to manipulate smaller scales, are emotionally very much attached to the area and have a lot of free time.
The factory workers know how to use the machinery and thanks to the lack of work have some free time.
The human kit
And as the last part of the tool kit there are the people of the site. They all have different kind of skill sets;
People from outside Votanikos can do whatever they want to do with the spaces which might be convenient for them in certain situations, depending on who has physical skills and motivation.
The Romas knows everything about materials, how to join them and have a lot of free time as well.
â€œMy father gives me a glass of milk every morning , saying how good is it for my bones and my body. Milk has a taste of the farm. You can literally taste the udder of the cow in it. He is always telling me that they wash it in the factory, but how could they wash the milk? I do not believe what he is telling to me, and he does not know one of my biggest secrets.
I wish I would get orange juice, or apple juice instead.â€?
Every morning when he gives me the glass of milk and he goes to the bathroom I pour the milk in the sink. Once he came out of the toilet before time and in the sink there was still a bit of the white liquid that usually I wash before he sees, but he did not realize it.
I don’t really believe in essences, but I really believe that trees are pretentious.”
When it is summer the asphalt gets really hot. My favorite season is probably autumn. It is not that hot anymore that I can’t be on the street but it is also not that terrible as spring. When it is spring time the birds are singing so much! I don’t know if it has to do with their wish to attract a mate but its very mush annoys me. As if life would be about flying, singing and having colors on your face. Also everything is so very green. I hate green. Green for me is the color of lies. All the trees are lying; lying about happiness, about beauty, about the future. Their true face is shown in autumn, when they loose all their leaves and remain as skeletons for sixmonth.
Why would anyone want to enter here?
“I don’t want to bother anyone. I also don’t want to be bothered by anyone. I absolutely dislike the food I get and I dislike it when I don’t get any. Usually I hang out around this factory. People think I am guarding something. I don’t. I like to be here; the sun is usually shining, and even if it doesn’t there are shiny tiles on the floor, few others are around, and I don’t have any pressure on me.
“Every evening I look at the number plates and try to memorize as many as I can. If I see one that starts with a Sigma, it means I will have a lucky night. If I see one that starts with a Beta I would have no clients. It is usually true. The days when it happens differently it means that there has been another car that I haven’t notice with these letters that nullifies the significance of the first one. When a car stops but does not want anything it means that I am going to be bothered by dogs at some point of the night, and If a yellow car stops, it means that I will be shouted at within two hours. This usually becomes true. My last law is about the cars with the number plates where if you sum up the numbers on it the result is 5. For example, if the number is 5413 it sums up 14 which sums up 5. When that happens I am going to have enough sleep the next day. That is the one I am the most happy to see.”
“Usually I am siting in this same chair and drawing little animals. In the past 23 years I have probably drawn more animals than I have ever seen. I very much like giraffes, they have a special appearance; very unexpected. If I would be an animal designer I think I would find the giraffe an excellent piece of work. It has a weird, unexpected shape, and colors. Why does it need that long, very disproportionate neck? Also the color combination is extraordinary. Brown and yellow. Why would nature decide that this animal will be brown and yellow? Why brown spots on yellow background, why not yellow spots on brown background? On my paper the giraffes usually are black and blue. These are the pens I have, but I already developed the technique of pushing the pen less, or making the lines with bigger gaps in between. These are my black and white giraffe. But I know that it is yellow with brown spots on it.”
“Home? Is there such a concept? I am not so sure about that. Nothing is more or less home for me.
How to explain it better? Of course I have a bed where I sleep every night, but that could just be any bed; any piece of textile holding my body. Yes, I have a television, but that could be anyone else’s television, and than it would already not be mine. I am not envious with my things because I never can deeply relate to them. Even if a try to think hard I can’t think of anything that I would be really sad to loose. My mother’s ashes? Not even that. That does not relate to anything she meant for me.”
Andi Schmied, 2012, London