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A Collective Social Interface in Athens


Student Name:

Michelle Rourke

Student Title:

A Collective Social Interface

Module Code + Title:

AT6016 Thesis ___ Documentation + Dissemination

Lecturers:

Eve Olney + Jason O’ Shaugnessy

Year of Submission:

2016

Word Count:

13,200


Synopsis_________________________________________________ 2 Thesis Statement __________________________________________10 General Overview of Athens _________________________________12 Polykatoikias_____________________________14 Field Work In The Public Spaces of Athens ______________________22 Reflection post Athens______________________________________36 Thinking Through Laundry As Social Practice____________________39 The Migrants Laundry Technique________________44 Classification of Various Laundry Techniques________59 Collapse of the Indexical System ______________________________55 Platform of Equivalence_____________________________________59 Smog as an Enveloping Atmospheric ___________________________63 Material Studies___________________________________________55 Algae __________________________________73 Felting _________________________________75 Design Proposal___________________________________________77 Kombucha Material_______________________________________ 81 Siting Stratergy____________________________________________92 Piraeus_________________________________97 Polykatoikia Building Typology________________105 Koumoundourou Park_____________________ 111 Conclusion______________________________________________123 Bibliography ____________________________________________125 Image Bibligoraphy________________________________________138


Figure 2: The laundry billows unashamedly in Athens


Synopsis ‘Starting with nothing is not very easy but just sitting and waiting around doing nothing is much harder’ [Hiba Albassir, [citied in Copley 2016]

T

his project brings together three

Athenians suspend their clothes to dry. This

seemingly disparate narratives found

fieldwork reveals subtle variations in techniques

within Athens - a social study of

that highlight social inequalities and allows for

hanging laundry across the city, a reflective

the framing of different social groups, from

interest in the smog that imbues the urban

migrants to local Athenian, within one critical

scape and a critical consideration of the flow

platform. Yet, a metaphorical exploration of

of vulnerable immigrants’ migration through

smog and the fabric dissolve any indexical

the city. Each are understood in terms of

system of classification, as the migrant and

how they occupy and navigate the city and

Athenian’s clothes are both subjected to the same

transgress concepts of boundaries, dissolving the

air conditions. This exploration indirectly reveals

preconceived notion of the private/public realm.

an opportunity of an equitable platform where the Athenians become receptive of the migrants

This research begins with an ethnographic

and experiences and enrich each other.

exploration of various methods of how

2


Figure 3: The smoggy air that imbues Athens

3


This proposal extrapolates its design from

The window, the initial interface observed in the

the overlooked presences within Athenian

fieldwork, allows laundry to appear in the public

society; the smog, the laundry and the migrant

realm and the smoggy air to permeate into the

become the defining parameters that outline

private sphere. The Kombucha enterprise, like

the design objective. The contrasting narratives

the window, becomes the mediator of these

and hierarchical segmentation exposed in the

spaces that encourage interactions between

fieldwork are momentarily suspended in ‘A

previous separate social groups such as the

Collective Social Interface’, where a platform of

natives, the migrants and the tourist.

equivalence is proposed. By exploring the smog further, I understood it Within this equitable social space, the migrant

to be a facilitator in negating the city’s identity.

and local Athenian come together in a social

Its presence conflates Athens into a characterless

enterprise to co-produce a new resource for

trajectory where the concrete-scape becomes

Athens; Kombucha material. This material

indistinguishable from the air conditions. Like

can purify water with its dense crystalline

this shrouded identity of Athens, the migrant’s

structure while also creating unique objects

individualisation is hidden within the general

from the golden material. Through the migrant

term of ‘refugee’ or ‘migrant’. ‘A Collective Social

production of this valuable resource, they

Interface’ seeks to reverse the normalisation

become a contributory member of society for

of this mass anonymity. Behaviour patterns,

both their own, the Athenian’s and tourist’s

analysed in the fieldwork, highlight the migrants’

benefit. This leather-like material grows from

innovative and intriguing informal economies,

two distinct entities, collectively defining this

emerging from a position of scarcity.

material at the interface of a fermenting beverage known as Kombucha.

4


Figure 4: Fermenting bubbles within the Kombucha

5


These latent socio-cultural narratives of

land journeys. The next site, Polykatoikias,

resourcefulness showcase the potential to

[the residential building typology in Athens]

cultivate new identities and, therefore, inform

becomes the social collective that the Athenian

the design of a social enterprise - producing

engages with. The final site, chosen to embody

the aforementioned Kombucha material. By

the Kombucha enterprise within the city, is a

participating in harvesting and creatively

public unused space. Like the discarded objects

defining this material, the migrants’ and

that become redefined, Koumoundourou Park

Athenians enterprising and creative skillset,

embodies a hybrid of functions that coexist

observed during fieldwork, is valued and used

without constraining or subordinating the other.

as an opportunity to recast their identity. The imperceptible microscopic elements that evolve

In Piraeus, the water is collected from the

to synthesise the material can be equated to

port and purified. It is then distributed to the

the migrants who fall below the social radar.

infrastructure that supports the growth of the

This design proposal seeks to realise the

Kombucha across the city. The port at Piraeus

potential of both the migrant and this new

becomes a dissemination point for the objects

resource, in rejuvenating the social, cultural and

needed for the migrants’ onward journey which

environmental systems of Athens.

is made from the new material. Within the Polykatoikias, fermentation vessels of Kombucha

The design proposal is installed at various points

are suspended alongside the laundry, juxtaposed

across the city and begins to mimic the journey

against the building’s concrete façade. From

of the migrant through Athens. The migrant’s

these social collectives, the Kombucha material

entry point, the port of Piraeus is chosen as

is collected and brought to the Koumoundourou

it marks the interface between their sea and

park, a central convergence and exchange point.

6


Figure 5: The Kombucha material in a site plan of Koumoundourou park

7


The provision of water at Koumoundourou park

enterprise merges the architect, the artist, the

supports the growth of Kombucha material

biologist, the sociologist and bestows upon the

and with it, the essential purification tasks of

migrant and the Athenian a new found, inclusive

laundry, bathing and religious purification

production method that becomes a spectacle

process follow suit, normalising these activities

for the tourist. This methodology transcends

within the public sphere. The aerial suspension

the traditional boundaries of manufacture and

of the drying sheets, create a collection of shared

thus challenges the bewilderment of modern

shaded spaces,open to various social activities; a

societies disconnect with how objects are made.

community of social groups.

This collective social enterprise encourages collaborative reciprocal relationships. It evolves

The Kombucha enterprise that produces the

as a social norm, recognising and valuing the

golden material, become a unifying language

previously disparate social groups and the

across Athens and this social collective. Cross-

potential of their contribution to Athenian

pollinating trans-disciplinary fields, the social

society.

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Figure 6: The Kombucha material with its distinct patterns + patinas

9


Thesis Statement

T

hrough an engagement with the urban

‘A Collective Social Interface’ outlines a

context of Athens in the fieldwork

technical and social system that supports the

studies undertaking in October 2015,

growth of a new resource; the Kombucha

the contrasting observations of laundry displays

material. This material is made available to the

outline the social inequalities within Athens.

native Athenian and migrant community to

This fieldwork highlights the refugee crisis and

collectively coproduce a sustainable resource

recognises that the refugee is an overlooked

to rejuvenate the small scale industries. As this

presence within Athens.

golden hued material grows across the city, it offers an opportunity to positively enhance

The refugee is a marginalised individual

the aesthetic and functionary role of the city

subjected to neglect by the governing

centre. Kombucha material also enables the

institutions. From this attitude, informal

bereft migrant with a new valuable resource that

settlements emerge of enterprising individuals

enables them to set up their new life in Europe.

that creatively redefine the discarded objects in

Through this collaborative activity, a sense of

the streets. By analysing these and the informal

inclusive urbanism is cultivated and begins to

‘bottom up’ [Cruz, 2016] approaches of the

engage positive reciprocal exchanges between

invisible urban and social dynamics this project

the migrant, the tourist and local Athenians;

endeavours to empower the migrant who has

building a capacity for change.

no resources and seeks to restore their sense of ownership and belonging.

10


Figure 7: The migratory paths of refugees and migrants to Athens

11


General Overview of Athens

‘In 2015, 1 million people smuggled themselves into Europe for the dream of a better life’

R

[Bluemel 2016]

efugees and migrants from troubled

In October 2015, when the field trip to Athens

areas of Africa and the Middle East

was undertaken, the borders were open and

are creating migratory paths, arriving

the flow of migrants was evident, gathering in

in Athens, through the port of Piraeus, due to

Athenian public spaces, waiting indefinitely for

its geographical positioning as the gateway into

passage onwards to Germany. The inundation of

Europe. A refugee is a person ‘fleeing armed

transitioning migrants has rendered the city in a

conflict or persecution’ [Edwards, 2016] whereas

perpetual state of flux. The limited forms of the

a migrant is a person that makes a ‘conscious

repitive housing typology and the rigid layout it

choice to seek a better life elsewhere’ [Edwards,

has created for the city fail to cater for this influx

2016]. In this thesis, migrant and refugee are

of displaced bodies. The migrant has become

interchangeable terms within an understanding

an overlooked presence in Athenian society, the

of ‘the other’ as I understand both groups to be

vast numbers that appropriate the streets reach

present in Athens. I define ‘the other’ [Juschka,

saturation point and their excessive visibility

2003 p.89] as an individual or collective that is

normalises their vulnerability, their neglected

perceived to be inferior to the ‘dominant group’

state goes unnoticed.

within Athenian society [ibid].

12


Figure 8: The polykatoikia housing typology defines the Athenian landscape

Figure X:

Figure 9: Overlooking the lightwells + narrow courtyards

13

Figure 10: The Enclosed Spatial Form of the Polykatoikia


Polykatoikias Athens, the city of infinite repitive residential typology produced a formless, borderless + placeless urbanscape’

I

[Dragonas, 2012]

n Athens, the residential typology, the

to occupy what Homi K. Bhabha interpets as

Polykatoikia1 generates an urban fabric, a

‘interstitial passages’ [Bhabha, 1994, p.2]. I

homogenous concrete profile that emulates

understand this trajectory as the leftover spaces

structure and order. However, they are failing

between the Polykatoikia, such as the streets,

to cater for the influx of the new migrants. The

the neglected under crofts and the public park

impermeable facades of the Polykatoikias create

that are open and flexible to ‘entertain difference

apathetic barriers that divide and segregate ‘the

without assumed or imposed hierarchy’, allowing

other’. Within this study, it subjects the migrant

for the ‘fusion or co-existence of possible worlds,

to nomadism, ‘the other’ that falls beyond the

spaces and systems’ [Zamora + Faris, 1995, p.5-

conventional social category of Athenians. In the

6]. This ‘cultural hybridity’ [Bhabha, 1994, p.2]

absence of the regularised and rigid Polykatoikia

that occurs in these ‘interstitial’ [ibid] spaces is

apartment concrete block ‘the other’ begins

juxtaposed against the Polykatoikia typology. The flexible in the ‘intersitital spaces’ [ibid] of

1

The polykatoikia is a multistored concrete apartment building that

facilitated Athens expansion in the 1920’s when its population increased rapidly due to the arrival of refugees from Asia minor [Dragonas, 2012]

Athens allow for new spatial configurations, identities and innovative techniques to emerge.

14


15

Figure 11: Shops + restaurants overspill into the street

Figure 12: Habitable space in the undercrofts

Figure 13: Migrants unpack their belongings in the public

Figure 14: The Migrants on their journey of indeterminate

parks of Athens

duration


The ground floor of the Polykatoikia building

‘intersitial passage’ [Bhabha, 1994, p.2] becomes

typology is set back from the street and is

an explorative method into differing valuations

typically occupied by a commercial enterprise.

and assignments of spaces that are intrinsically

The shopkeeper values this extension of space,

linked to differences in social functionalities.

as an opportunity to exhibit an array of goods to attract passers-by and tourists into the store.

In Athens, I observed the migrant to be trapped,

Due to the economic recession, some retail units

both literally and metaphorically, somewhere

are vacant, resulting in left over spaces which

between their homeland and their future home

have relinquished their original function. They

but belonging to neither. Athens, for the migrant,

begin to ‘accumulate other meanings’ [Duchamp

is seen as a transitory stop, a temporary resting

+ Tompkins, 2013, p.60]. The migrant carves

point on their onward journey to more receptivie

and captures this non-fixed space and bestows

nations such as Germany. Countries such as

on it a new value, as sheltered and inhabitable.

that Macedonia, that border Greeces, have

Space expresses itself by those that inhabit

impeded the flow of refugees, resulting in Athens

and utilise it, echoing De Certeau’s phrase that

becoming a permanent home for over 57,000

space is ‘made by its users, not by its makers’

migrants [This American Life, 2016]. Greece has

[1984, xii]. The variations in the use of the

become a field of ‘interrupted dreams’ [ibid].

16


Figure 15: The mgirant carves out space underneath the

Figure 16: The ‘other’ returns later that day

sheltered undercroft of the Polykatoikia

Figure 17: The cardboard softens the cold concrete steps

Figure 18: A tap in a public park becomes an informal laundering spot

17


In Athens, the migrant slips into these

95]. Everyday practices typically associated with

‘interstitial spaces’ clustering together where

a domestic interior are now visible outdoors,

‘the city is no longer’ [De Sola-Morales, 1995,

dissolving any preconceptions about boundaries

p.20]. As a result of the automobile, Athens has

of public space. Activities such as alfresco dining,

sprawled and its centre has been cast aside by

sightseeing or rambling the city streets mingle

the natives in favour of the less dense suburbs.

unexpectedly with sleeping, showering and

In the absence of an inhabited city centre,

laundry as they are unpacked into the public

indeterminate and ambiguous spaces emerge

sphere.

that present an opportunity to be grasped by the transient ‘other’ [Juschka, 2003, p.88].

As ‘the other’ burrows out the indeterminate space, the flexibility of the rigid pattern of the

De Certeau [1984, p.63] argues that these liminal

densely populated Polykatoikia is challenged.

spaces, ‘belong to everybody and nobody’, yet it

Athens recalibrates. Spaces acquire a duality of

is ‘the other’ that are inhabiting and occupying

functions. Objects and spaces cast aside by one

them. They articulate new spaces of co-

individual begin to now ‘function in another

habitation where contrasting social groups and

register’ [Certeau, 1984, p.32]. These incidents

conditions such as the private and public realms,

diffuse and overlap with one another rendering

begin to ‘reside in the other’ [Juschka, 2003, p.

no one fixed or definable locus.

18


Figure 19: This dynamic structure begins to challenge the spatial constraints of the city. With the body, the structure incurs consequent changes

19


My initial exploration looks at the synthesis of social relations in the ‘interstitial’ [Bhabha, 1994, p.2] spaces of Athens, by registering the subtleties of their duality of functions. These leftover spaces enhance the spatial possibilities to their extremities, allowing for unintended social interaction and participation. This becomes a developing interest throughout my field observations.

20


Figure 20: Athens recalibrates itself and challanges the flexibilites of an ingrained pattern

21


Field Work in the Public Spaces of Athens In Athens, photographing, videoing, field notes, interviewing immigrants and sketching became paramount to a critical understanding of its social, political architectural and cultural structure.

Figure 21: Newspaper are suspended along the street

Figure 22: Domestic Objects Are strewn across the streets

22


Figure 23: Bodies disperse into the street in various

Figure 24: The young child + the elderly homeless man

conditions

Figure 25: The ‘other’ carve + soften space

23

Figure26: The streets are populated with their belongings


D

Day One

escending into Athens, the city is

cabinet on the street, the knees and out stretched

wrapped in a thin layer of haze,

hand are all that are visible. They carve out

imbuing it with a particular sense of

space with found objects; a chair, a mattress,

lightness, suspension and fragility, softening the

a collection of magazines, or the cardboard

carpet of concrete blocks.

box that acts as a nightstand. The streets are populated with their belongings; random water

On the metro from the airport, a homeless

bottles, coffee cups, lottery cards, chocolate

person sat beside a Greek child, their mother

wrappers, blankets and coke cans. On a side

sitting in the opposite aisle. The destitute man

street, there is a man crawling on his knees, his

began to fall asleep and impinge upon the child’s

body bent at the waist and his hands dangling

personal space. This juxtaposition of the young +

to the ground. His body stays hunched and

old, the wanderer + the settler begins to blur the

unmoving as his fingers are unable to take hold

line, for me, between the notion of the displaced

of the syringe that falls out of his grasp. The

+ placed.

streets are a sea of such syringes as women and users shoot up in the ‘interstitial’ [Bhabha, 1994,

Bodies are dispersed across the street in various

p.2] spaces behind cars, in front of pre-schools,

conditions; lying, sleeping, standing idly. They

universities, shops and churches.

seem to find space anywhere, behind an electric

24


25

Figure 27: The meat is suspended on hooks in close proximity

Figure 28: The migrants here in Omonoia square are

to the lighting

subjected to this indeterminate period of waiting

Figure 29: The butcher meat is in close proximity to the main

Figure 30: Random steps interrupt the street leading to

passageway in the market

commerical spaces below


O

Day Two

monoia Square is an effervescing

movie. At the edge of the passageway, ripped

noisy place filled with commerce

out hearts and lungs dangle from hooks next to

in the heart of Athens. There is no

the amputated feet and long tongues. There is

street furniture and its high exposure ensures

an overpowering smell of blood and the violent

few people inhabit it. Poverty emanates from the

chopping of the meat results in butcher’s aprons

middle-eastern immigrants sitting on the hard

splattered in red. As I walk past I fear a stray

steps, as the traffic swirls and encircles them.

piece of meat may land on my clothes.

The streets outside the meat market are

Strings of pungent smelling garlic tresses

congested with baskets of nuts, raisins, dried figs,

dangle from shop signs on the market street of

buckets of squirming snails and every variety

Evripidou Street to dry. Random concrete steps

of olives. In the market, the passageway for the

carve into the footpath and descend into cheap

customers doubles up as an extension of the

rentable spaces below the street. The incredible

workspace for the butcher or fishmonger. My feet

amalgamation of various activities blend

are saturated with fishy liquid as men spray water

together in a narcotic composition of sweet and

over mounds of shimmering seafood to make

hot, spicy and vanilla side by side with oily tools

them glisten and stay fresh. Their comrades

and exhaust fumes fueling the hot metallic air.

unravel fish guts in my presence into buckets and stray pieces litter the floor. The reason for

The elderly people make their way to and from

the fish monger’s smirk, as they glance at my

the market with a walking cane. The gentle

open toed shoes, now become clear. Next door,

tapping of their sticks is in contrast to the

the meat market is like a scene from a horror

relentless drone of traffic.

26


Figure 31: A man washes his shoes at the tap and waits for

Figure 32: Elderly men search rubbish bins for leftover food

them to dry in Koumoundourou park [Scene 1]

27

Figure 33: Another man refills his water bottle and washes his

Figure 34: Migrant woman sleeps under the shade of the tree

teeth at the tap in Koumoundourou park[Scene 2]

in Koumoundourou park


Day Three

T

he street is the backdrop to an array of

population of migrants. Isak says that the park is

different urban qualities and tensions.

divided by language; the failure to communicate

Buildings are in disuse, eroding yet

or be understood, in turn culturally isolates

colonised by the marginalised other. Shops are

them. As I sit in the amphitheatre at

shuttered one after the other, rising + falling;

Koumoundourou Park, I observe a public tap,

displacing people into continuous movement.

and it becomes centre stage as various scenes

Athens’ geographical position makes it the main

unfold. I am observing reality, washing, a

entrance for migrants directed towards Europe.

common everyday occurrence, yet from this

The infringement of the personal into the social

perspective, in this public location, the usual is

realm results in migrants being forced to sleep in

beginning to look unusual.

public parks, shower at public taps and scavenge garbage cans for food. I spoke with Isak who

Scene 1: Man washes his sports shoes. After doing

escaped to Athens from the Sudanese military.

so, he returns to the steps, barefoot, to sit and wait for them to dry in the afternoon sun.

‘I can’t go back even if I wanted to, I would be killed by the military. There is nothing to go back

Scene 2: Man searches nearby rubbish bin for a

to and moving forward isn’t possible anymore’.

water bottle. He retrieves it and fills it to wash

his face and then quench his thirst. He takes his

[Isak, 2016]

toothbrush from his pocket and brushes his teeth. In his squatted tenement, Isak and his fellow migrants do not have access to water or

Scene 3: Man arrives with a pack of tissues. He

electricity. This park is an oversized al fresco

moistens one of the tissues and uses it to clean his

waiting room for this transient vulnerable

shoes. 28


Figure 35: Men analyse the daily newspapers

Figure 36: Disposed objects in the streets disrupt the pedestrian flow

29

Figure 37: Flattened cardboard boxes are dismantled and

Figure 38 Drying clothes are in close proximity to

brought as a material to soften the cities concrete

pedestrians, and the fumes of the nearby street


I

Day Four

n Geraniou, the city looks eastwards

2013]. The disposed household objects in the

and retains its oriental legacy. The

streets have been made redundant perhaps

concentration of migrants make it possible

due to interior space limitations. The unequal

for me to imagine myself in Ottomon times.

distribution of resources highlights the various

There is an overarching presence of being

strands of the economic class within Athens.

watched. Some men work in the shops, while

The abandoned mattress in the street is sought

others just stand around, loitering, leaning

after by the marginalised, ‘the other’, who are in

against the concrete pillars of half-wrecked

turn becoming ‘monopololised by the dominant

buildings, looming and glaring as I walk

class’ [Bordieu, p. 84]. The objects, like the

through.

spaces, display a duality of shifting values. These objects become obstacles in the street where the

The scattered cardboard boxes in various

pedestrian’s movement is hindered and rerouted.

transitional states occupy the streetscape. The

The space is animated by these domestic objects

structured form implies physical movement

trespassing into public realms. Even above the

of goods and commercial exchange. This is in

street, laundry billows unashamedly. Inversions

contrast with the dismantled box that implies

are omnipresent in Athens, privacy becomes

a forfeit of its original function. The unwanted

unhinged and unfolded into the public sphere.

commodity continues on and finds its value for the migrant as a material to separate the body

Men gather at the kiosk to read the newspapers

from cold surfaces.

suspended on incongruous objects. They stay for a short while to catch up on political news and

As time progresses, objects fall in + out of use,

move on. They investigate different opinions +

as ‘no objects have eternal value’ [Duchamp,

perspectives from one newspaper to the next. 30


Figure 39: A migrant child inspects the ornate stairscase at

Figure 40: The migrants family await their next destination

the National Library in Athens

underneath the shaded space of the ornate staircase

Figure 41: Couple using staircase for their wedding pictures

Figure 42: Tourists and migrants occupy the same spatial trajectory but often overlook each others presence

31


A

Day Five

trilogy of buildings located on

the user and their requirements at that time.

the main thoroughfare between

The shadow of the spiraling staircase provides

Omonoia and Syntagma square

shade for a family of refugees. Its extravagance

capture my interest. These neoclassical buildings

is exploited in the staged wedding photos and

house the national library, the national university

yet from certain vantage points, the curved

and the academy of Athens. The surfaces are

form conceals the drug users. Each action and

covered with graffiti and posters line the metal

movement define a paradoxical spatial quality.

railings as far as the hand can reach. Graffiti seems to blur boundaries as artists unify planes

The small white rectangular form of air

into one canvas. The repeated phrase of ‘OXI’,

conditioning units, protrude from the building

meaning ‘NO’ is peppered throughout.

façade, create a bumping texture interrupting the sleek building. Balconies, parasols, awnings

‘No to the blackmail of EU/IMF’

and laundry hover above the streetscape.

‘No to the euro debt until the end’

From here, the hustle and bustle below are

Όχι στον εκβιασμό της ΕΕ / ΔΝΤ’

observed undisturbed. People call out loudly

Όχι στο χρέος του ευρώ μέχρι το τέλος’

to acquaintances or wave them a greeting as they gossip with their neighbour. In the

The staircase at the national library becomes

spatially restricted apartments above, balconies

the next focus of attention for the observer,

become representative showcases of the internal

as it combines various social groups in close

domesticity within. At points across the city, the

proximity with one another. Various social

balcony is used as an additional storage space

activities are intertwined and entangled. Each

for potted plants, drying racks, fluttering flags or

interpretation of the staircase’s form differs

children’s toys.

depending on the cultural and social values of 32


33

Figure 43: Migrants on the train journey from Piraeus to

Figure 44: Within Alexandras Avenue, the Syrian family

Athens

charge their phones and use their prayer mats as bedding

Figure 45: The Syrian family that I met squatting at

Figure 46: The Syrians child’s socks are left to dry on the

Alexandras Avenue

windowsill


T

Day Six

he metro is immaculate. It is like a

items on display. The undergarments stand

fantasy underworld where everything

unashamedly next to the kitchen towels. One

is squeaky-clean in comparison to the

man is fixing a blocked water pipe outside his

disorder and chaotic scenes of the streets above.

squatted home. He occupies it with his family

The surfaces adorned with marble contrast with

and extended family from Syria. Two weeks ago,

life within the train carriages - panhandlers,

they arrived at Lesbos, an island off Greece, and

hucksters, and napping vagrants. The pleas for

are now waiting to go to Germany.

help and hard luck stories of transport systems across the world and are not unique to Athens.

‘Anyone can become a refugee, it is not something

Even though in Greece the language is not

which you chose, it is something that happens to

understood by me, the tone of the plea, and the

you’

[Hassan, 2016]

gestural response by the commuters is familiar. Everyone avoids eye contact. Eyes dart to the

They tell me one of their children is sick from

floor, seeking anything but the face of the person

the boat but they can’t afford to go to the hospital

pleading. Before walking away empty handed,

situated here on Alexandras Avenue. Children

they make one last desperate appeal, which I

run from the bathroom to play outside, hiding

interpret personally as

behind the expensive doctors’ cars that shade them from the Athenian sun. Hassan invites us

‘αν κάποιος μπορεί να με βοηθήσει σε όλα’

inside, in one of the vacant rooms, an elderly

‘Can anyone….. anyone help me out at all?’

lady sits on a mat, sobbing. Her possessions are now reduced to a few bags in a corner. A child’s

Alexandras Avenue, a housing complex initially

pair of socks lie on the windowsill to dry. Mobile

designed for the refugee influx in 1930 displays

phones line the floor, waiting to be charged at the

an array of laundry; concealing and revealing

sole electrical socket.

34


Figure 47: By pairing ‘binary oppositions’ unexpected strangness begins to occur

35


Reflection Post Athens Field Trip

it and laundry that is displayed,

T

[Day 5: How the same staircase is conceived

is etched from the ‘energies of its

differently depending on the variations in the

creators’ [Stewart, 1995, p.478]. I, therefore,

cultural and social values across Athenian

understand Athens to be oscillating between

society]

ordered + disordered,

he city’s identity, smog that imbues

rational + irrational

local + stranger

[Day 6: Hassan’s sick child at Alexandras Avenue

[Day 1: The homeless man on the train who falls

who lives in close proximity to the hospital but is

asleep on the young Greek child]

unable to receive medical treatment] inclusion + exclusion fixed + variable

[Day 4: The dispersed bodies carve out the

[Day 1: The rigidity of the Polykatoikia, the

neglected space under the Polykatoikia

housing typology, juxtaposed against the smog

residential building]

that stains and weathers its static facade]

36


Figure 48: Interior of a deteriorating neoclassical home in

Figure 49: The deteriorating facade of the neoclassical

central Athens

buildings of Athens

Figure 50: Ladies gossip as their undegarments are visible to

Figure 51: Domestic objects agitate the pedestrian flow

the street below

37


Calculated inversions are omnipresent across the

unpack from the interior realm interfere and

lived environments of Athens; streets become

agitate the pedestrian flow and force one to

inhabited and neoclassical homes become ruins.

weave in and out to negotiate these stumbling

Activities typically associated with the private

blocks. The transgression of boundaries and

realm unhinge and unfold into the public sphere.

the duality of ‘the intersitital’ [Bhaba, 1994, p.2]

This inversion distorts limits and deviates

space highlights the fluctuation of values and the

away from the normal separation of domestic

intercultural identities that occupy it. Precarious

and urban space. Undergarments suspend in

paradoxes, observed in Athens, allow for new

a canopy above the street, encroaching upon

ways of thinking and are paramount to the

public spaces and they begin to challenge

architectural and social pursuit I explored in this

preconceptions about privacy. Domestic

thesis.

elements such as mattresses and chairs that

38


Thinking Through Laundry as a Social Practice ‘Before familiarity can turn into awareness the familiar must be stripped of its inconspicuousness; we must give up assuming the object needs no explanation. However frequently recurrent, modest, vulgar, it may be’

[Brecht, 1964; 144] cited in [Highmore, 2002, p.21]

Figure 52: Migrants in Athens + their laundry practice utilise

Figure 53: Local Athenian with their laundry suspended on a

available surfaces and simple mechanisms

specially designed mechanism that protects the more intimate garments from prying eyes

39


D

uring these initial observations

Ben Highmore [2002 p.2], a professor of culture

in Athens I began to focus on

studies, remarks that ‘everyday life can both

domestic elements and activities

hide and make vivid a range of social differences’.

that colonise and amplify these ‘interstitial’

From my observations, the recurrent, everyday

spaces. This investigation of the domestic object

actions highlighted differing cultural practices.

encroaching upon public space became an

Naomi Schor, a critical theorist, remarks that

exploration into the different valuations and

there are two locations where the everyday

articulation of space. Each utilisation infers

can be found; in the ‘daily rituals of private

‘different … kinds of functioning’ [Certeau, 1984,

life’ and in the ‘chance encounter of the street’

p.30] that in turn became a barometer of the

[Schor, 1992, p.188]. Laundry converges Schor’s

social and cultural values of Athens.

two definitions of the everyday; as aspects of interiority begin to interfuse and layer over the exterior.

40


Figure 54: A migrant using the branches of a tree to suspend

Figure 55: Shirts billow against the concretescape of Athens

her laundry

41

Figure 56: Migrants leave their clothes to dry on a set of soccer

Figure 57: The fencing now begins to have this double

goalies in Piraeus

legibility as that which suspends and encloses


This overlooked phenomena of hanging laundry

In my study, the object that the clothes

begins to critically reveal the city of Athens

suspend upon, the drying apparatus, becomes

to me. In Athens, the reason drying clothes is

a signifier of a connective device, one which

externalised is two-fold. The weather conditions

links the cultural explorations of Athens and

are favourable and the domestic realms are often

the preliminary analysis of the migrant’s arrival

deficient of the spatial and economic facilities

into Athens. Critically evaluating their laundry

to dry within. The facades of the buildings

process reveals how they adjust to their adopted

recede as a result and the laundered clothing is

environment and the variety of methods suggests

foregrounded. The boundary between public

their gradual assimilation into society.

and private becomes ambiguous as the domestic household within is showcased to the street below.

42


The Migrants Laundry Technique

43

Figure 58: The migrants arriving on to Lesbos Island, Greece

Figure 59: The neon orange mountain of discarded life

after their treacherous journey

jackets + wet clothes are relinquished by the migrants


T

hrough a series of photographs, the

context, their technique is radically transformed,

laundry displays observed in the

as the limiations of the physical and social

fieldwork maps the migrants’ laundry

infrastructure determine how the task unfolds.

process at various points along their journey;

At the shore, refugees disembark their rubber

from the object upon which they suspend the

dingy, their clothes and personal belongings

clothes to the fabric itself. The variations in

are saturated, heavier now than when they

technique and the disembodied clothing itself

commenced their journey. At the shore side,

become explorative agents in decoding the

the chore of laundry is impossible and not

various social functionalities. Laundry becomes

prioritised. All that is feasible is to remove

a social narrative that exhibits the temporality

the wet clothes and leave them draped to dry

of their journey from their initial arrival on

on a nearby surface where the outdoor air

the Greek islands before venturing onwards to

temperature can evaporate the excess water.

Piraeus, the port city eight kilometres south of

Possessions, life jackets, unnecessary for their

Athens.

onward journey, are relinquished, creating great hulls of neon orange. All that they carry onwards

Unlike the Athenian who has the necessary

is a tapestry of heartbreak and the salt residue

resources to do their laundry, their practice

that remains on their clothes; a silent indicator

typically remains unchanged day in and day

of their perilous journey to Europe.

out. For the migrant estranged from their

44


Figure 60: The migrants try to dry their feet + saturated shoes

Figure 61: The migrants dry their clothes by the fire

Figure 62: A mother her sons shoes on Lesbos Island

Figure 63: The migrant woman searches through the donated clothing

45


The refugee’s perpetual state of transience is

and modest dress code of their Islamic culture12.

exhibited in their immediate discard of their wet garments in favor of the donated style clothes.

Judy Attfield, a design historian, speaks about

In the Cultural Biography of Things, Kopytoff,

cloth as ‘the connection between the body and

an anthropologist, refers to slaves being sold as

the world’ [Attfield & Kirkham, 1995, p.124]

commodities but here it can also be equated to

and for the Muslim women among the refugees,

the individuals who have been ‘stripped of their

fabric ensures their modesty is upheld. Their

previous social identity and become a non-person,

vulnerability is revealed as they slip out of

indeed an object’ [Kopytoff, 1986, p.65]. The lack

their wet opaque loose attire into the dry

of resources and mechanisms to launder obliges

garments that do not adhere to the cultural

the migrant to forsake the clothes they choose

and social coding that they are familiar with.

so carefully for their journey. The acceptance of

This dispossession of their own material needs

dry donated garments is, in itself, the first step

and styling has been recognized by a group

in accepting their ‘new social identity’ [ibid] in

of volunteers who have now begun a social

their host country. The donated clothing might

enterprise. They collect the saturated fabrics on

exhibit this ‘conflicting identity’ (Kopytoff, 1986;

2

89), as the fabric may not adhere to the moral

Excerpt from the Qur’an: Surah 24:31 ‘And say to the believing women

that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons’ (Ali, 2009)) 3

46


Figure 64: The migrants suspend their clothes on the chain

Figure 65: A migrant child falls asleep while her mother

link fence altering this mass produced item

suspends their clothing above

Figure 66: A Muslim woman checks on her laundry

Figure 67: Clothing left to dry on side of balcony at Alexandras Avenue

47


the beach and launder them. This task in itself

fails to uphold the modesty that may be desired

mitigates the loss of cultural identity through the

by the individual refugee. Here the subtle shift

redistribution of clothing is especially coherent

to individualisation from a mass produced item

with those migrants that are Muslim 3.

becomes a metaphorical critique of the multiple individual identities that have now been

From the beach, the discarded laundry maps

rendered anonymous and framed within the

the migrants’ journey to the refugee camp.

general term of ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’.

Once they find a stabilising presence, clothes become suspended on incongruous objects.

The migrant’s laundry process becomes

The chain link fence which suspends their

entangled with local Athenian practice. The

movement is read anew and subtly transformed

articulation of differences in techniques,

into a surface to allow the drying of the clothes.

for example, the stratified display of drying

These objects, which are re-appropriated begin

methods observed at the apartment complex on

to overlap functionalities like the transitioning

Alexandras Avenue , becomes a subtle register of

social status of those displaced. Within this new

the varying social groups within Athens. These

configuration the form of the fence is beneficial;

variations of displayed laundry infer different

the arrangement of wires allow cloth to cling.

‘agents’ and ‘agencies’ [Leach, 2007, p.168] of the

However the high exposure of its flat surface

social parameters at play. Leach [ibid, p. 167], a

3

Dirty Girls of Lesvos is a voluntary organisation that collects the

discarded clothes on the Lesbos beach and has them laundered at a commercial laundry. They are sorted and distributed so that they can be reused by others on

social anthropologist, remarks that ‘people are connected to what they produce’ and that objects

arrival. [Sarandon, 2015]

through their use are an ‘index of something else’

[Ibid, p. 184].

48


49

Figure 68: Solar shading also supports the clothes line at

Figure 69: The minimal display of the socks at Alexandras

Alexandras Avenue

Aenue highlights the migrants transitionary status

Figure 70: The materiality and quantity of the clothes hung to

Figure 71: This Athenian balcony in a more affluent part of

dry can define the social status of the inhabitants within

Athens where the balcony displays plants + the national flag


At Alexandras Avenue 4 , hanging clothes from

the launderer. Some apartment blocks have

home-made frameworks that also support a

specifically designed drying racks that attach

handcrafted solar shading device highlight

to the balcony or window. This mechanism

the use of readily available low cost resources.

allows for systematic arrangement, maintaining

Compare this to a single pair of socks left on

the privacy and modesty of the local Athenian

the windowsill to dry. The minimalist display

within. Household items, such as towels, act as a

surmises the Syrian family’s transitory state.

shield for intimate garments behind. It allows for

The absence of a mechanism, upon which to

delicate layering that maintains the privacy and

dry laundry, subjects them to use an outdoor

modesty of the occupants within. Some regard

elevated surface. The quantity of fabric and the

the obtrusive display of laundry as a marker of

quality of the object used to dry it are linguistic

poverty and disorder. In more affluent areas of

markers that allow for extrapolation of various

Athens, laundry retracts internally, the balcony

social narratives.

is no longer associated with domestic chores but

1

with leisure. The allocation of additional space Transitioning from one area of Athens to the

internally and the economic provision of a dryer,

next, the spatial occupation of laundry differs,

allows the task to be internalised. Perhaps, the

highlighting similarities and differences in the

affluent, also acquire the knowledge that wet

domestic space and resources at the hand of

cloth exposed to smoggy air, render the clothes less than clean.

4 ‘Alexandras Avenue, is residential typology that was built in 1930’s to house the Greeks fleeing Turkey. Currently, the housing complex has gradually become a haven for squatters aswell as immigrants trying to cross into northern Europe

through Greeces porous borders’ [Karakalis, 2014].

50


51

Figure 72: A migrant boy collects from the fencing at a

Figure 73: The Athenians utilise the sheets and towels to

refugee camp

conceal the more intimate items behind

Figure 74: The migrants wait in public spaces in Athens

Figure 75: A migrant uses the shape of the chainlink fence to

while their laundry dries on a nearby railing

her advantage, in the absence of pegs


To further expand upon the research, I focus on

a new child, the arrival of visitors or the death

the clothes themselves as unintended collections

of a loved one. The ever present collections are

that are drawn from the domestic environment

subjected to scrutiny as they become a register

held within. Leach [2007; 168] refers to this as

of the diversified and differentiated identities of

the ‘object nexus’; collections that identify the

Athens and how its inhabitants live within the

owners even when their presence is absent. The

private realm.

disembodied garments, become an ‘extension of the body’, [Taussig [2003] citied in [Bal,

In the absence of a domestic setting, the migrant

2015, p.105] ] which is infused with identity,

values their clothes as their ‘secondary skin’

imprinted with the shape and odour of the

[Albers, 1957, p. 36]. The migrants come to

body that occupied it. The suspended clothing

Athens with the sole possessions they embody,

communicates meaning similar to that of a

and their clothes become their ‘transportable

newspaper bulletin disclosing a social narrative.

shelter’ [Albers, 1957, p.36], that provides

Consider the impromptu garlands of laundry

protection from the external environment.

as they expose the intricacies of life; the birth of

52


Figure 76: Classifaction of the similarities + differences in the laundry techniques by the Athenian and migrant

53


Classifaction of Various Laundry Techniques

W

ithin a series of heuristic

that dry the migrants’ clothes, are integral to

drawings, the significance of

decoding their relationship within society.

the social complexities within

Initially, the migrant exposes their clothes on

Athens emerges. The initial drawings mapped

any surface, exposed to the full view of the

the journey of the refugee from Greek islands to

public, on the rocks or the chain fence. As the

Athens by analysing their laundry techniques.

refugee is embedded within their new context,

A series of drawings looked at the similarities

the unwritten rules of what is concealed and

and differences within the set of objects the

revealed begin to be adhered to. Through the

migrant and Athenian dry their clothes upon.

possession of specially designed objects, they

Each variation concurred with varying degrees

can adhere to the cultural requirements of social

of social functionalities and inequalities. The

norms. This adjustments subtly suggests their

inhabitations of the clothes upon the objects

gradual assimilation within Athenian society.

54


Figure 77: Collapsing the indexical system unveiled in the previous classificatory drawing [see Figure 76]

55


Collapsing the Indexical System

T

he act of laundry itself is totally inclusive, a thread that constitutes everyday life and allows the framing of different social groups from refugee to local

Athenian within one critical platform. In their exhibition of laundry, the hierarchy that exists within this scheme of thinking, reveals a classificatory system of various social groups. Andrew Moutu, the anthropologist speaks about favoring the ‘juxtaposing set of analogies’ [Moutu, 2007, p.101] over the classificatory schemes of thinking. These allow for new meanings and further possibilities to emerge from the ‘cultural hybridity’ at play within Athens [Bhabha, 1994, p.1]. These ‘hybrids’ [ibid] allow for alternative readings of the Athenian urban environment and potentially reveal further possibilities for innovative sites of collaboration and architectural programmes that suspend imbalances between various social groups.

For example, the drawing in Figure 77 begins to take Moutu’s theory and collapse the indexical system uncovered prior. In favor of juxtapositions, it begins to entangle various social classes and activities allowing for ‘contradictions to stand face to face, oxymoron’s to march in lock and step’ [Stewart, 1995, p.1].

56


In the drawing, a dismantled cardboard box, that

encourages interactions between perceived

has now been reappraised, is used as a material

alterities. Realism is subverted through a

to soften and separate the transient body from

fusion of scales, the tap that provides water

the cold concrete. Set next to the specifically

is exaggerated in scale and highlights the

designed drying rack that allows for systematic

struggle to carry out simple everyday activities

arrangement of clothing that protects prying

such as laundering and bathing observed

eyes from more intimate garments. In the

in Koumoundourou Park [See Day 3 of the

drawing [see Figure 77], meat from the market

Fieldwork Study p.27-28]. By interconnecting

stalls suspends above the recently laundered

and entangling the contrasting systems into

clothing. By bringing these opposing binaries in

this one platform, they begin to share and

close proximity any hierarchical segregations are

enrich the other through reciprocal exchanges

dissolved.

and allow the reader to scrutinise accepted conventional behaviors. New potentialities for

57

The composition of the image places the window

non-exclusionary space emerge to encourage

in the centre of the drawing [see Figure: 78], as

the design proposal to allow for equitable and

it becomes the interface at which the domestic

participatory cohabitation between seemingly

and public realms pivot, the mediator that

disparate social groups.


Figure 78: The window is the pivot point + interface between the domestic + public realms

58


Platforms of Equivalence As previously discussed, objects are disposed of

now cast into the general term of ‘refugee’. Like

in the street only to be salvaged and re-purposed

the discarded objects, migrants are also simply

by the ‘bricoleur’ [Koetter, 1984, p.102]. I

‘matter out of place’ [Douglas, 1966, p.36], in

understand the migrant to be the ‘bricoleur’ who

their adopted context. They are overlooked

collects this ‘debris’ [Scalbert, 2011, p.73] from

because their new identity has yet to be defined.

the street, where they salvage it as their ‘treasury’ [ibid]. Discarded objects that are picked up by

In the same way that the migrant dismantles

the migrant are disassociated from ‘the sequence

standardised products, this drawing [see

of operations, from matter to product’ [Albers,

Figure 79] dissolves the geometrical limitations

1965, p. 62]. The migrant is unaware of not only

associated with the objects in the previous

the previous owners’ identity, but also ‘obliterated

drawing in Figure 77. These objects are

from awareness’ [Taussig, 1992, p.16] from the

disassembled, their mechanisms became

creator and an understanding of the object’s

dissociated from each other, strewn in contact

creation.

with mechanisms from other objects. With this, new forms begin to emerge that reimagine and

59

The migrant recasts objects with new functions

creatively redefine the objects in unexpected

and reassigns value; a disposed mattress on the

ways. Like these refugees, who have been

streets becomes bedding for the undercroft of

removed and disassociated from their context

Polykatoikia. This transitional quality of the

of origin, the new forms that are examined

object falling in and out of use, highlights the

here, begin to positively suggest that the non-

complexities of the in-between state of a singular

status refugees can regain their significance and

migrant whose identity has been altered and is

identity.


Figure 79: The various elements to suspend the laundry are dismantled to dissolve the geometrical constraints of the standardised products

60


Figure 80: New forms begin to emerge from the disassembled laundry airing mechanisms that recalibrates our understanding of the objects in question

61


Therefore, this design proposal of a social

own identity. This social enterprise of growing

enterprise [as expanded upon further in thesis

and harvesting this new Kombucha material may

centres around the material properties of

be the stepping stone that stabilises their new life

Kombucha] seeks to reverse the normalisation

in Europe.

of the overlooked non-status refugee. In the same way that this drawing recasts the objects

A further platform of equivalence I wish to

associated in Figure 80, migrants are redefined

engage with is the smog, which in a similar way

as enterprising and contributory members to

to laundry mitigates the idea of boundaries. The

Athenian culture. The Kombucha enterprise

smog also acts as a metaphorical agent for the

propagates plural possibilities for the migrant

migrant in that it too negates the identities of the

community to participate in productive or

city.

creative processes, enabling them to recast their

62


Figure 81: Smog as an enveloping atmospheric

63


Smog as an enveloping atmospheric ‘Gas is positioned as a breach between the imagined line that separates the individual from a surrounding space’

T

[Gissen, 2009, p.64]

he discourse of this study allows three seemingly disparate threads to be critically examined; the overlooked presence of laundry, the normalisation of the refugee occupying

abandoned spaces and finally, the smog, that imbues Athens. Smog is critically framed within this thesis project in two ways, as both metaphorical and problematic. Considering the atmospheric condition of the smog it becomes a technique within which to understand Athens, as it dissolves differences and collapses boundaries.

64


65

Figure 82: The air condiitoning units create a regularised bumping

Figure 83: Supplementary air conditioning create a tempered +

texture on the impermeable facade

mediated environment for the inhabitants within


Firstly, like the exhibited laundry that converges

and as a result, the disordered other is placed

and mediates between different boundaries,

outside [Wigley, 1995, p.107]. Prior to this, ‘the

the small scale particles of the smog transcend

other’ has been understood as the marginalised

and infiltrate the public and the private realm,

group within society. In this instance,‘the

disturbing the modernist tempered and

other’ can also be considered as the unknown

mediated spaces.

weather condition or the unpredictable toxic air. Air conditioning units that monopolise the

The façades of the Polykatoikias allow for ‘worlds

façade mediate exchanges with the external

to abut on to each other’ [Connor, On

air and climatic conditions strive to function

Air, 2004]. However, their ‘frozen forms’

autonomously in the environment surronding.

[AMID.cero9, 2011] prevent the entanglement

The air conditioning filter units fail to impede

of interior and exterior spaces, of public and

the incessant drifting smog, subjecting those in

private activities and instead creates barriers.

the hermetically sealed environment to the same

The architect, Mark Wigley, writes that this

external air conditions as ‘the other’ who remain

fixed façade creates a divisionary line that

outside.

classifies groups between various social forms

66


Figure 84: Smoggy air knows no boundaries, in turn this creates an invisible platform of equivalence

67


Smog is understood metaphorically as that which

social distinction. Within the air and landscape,

conflates the city into a characterless trajectory.

it encompasses a bevy of oppositional forces

Through the initial observation of smog in the

such as toxic and non-toxic elements into a ‘mass

fieldwork, I began to make equivalences between

of confused colours’ [Balzac, 1979, p. 436]. The

smog as ‘matter out of place’ [Douglas, 1966, p.36],

differentiation between body and environment is

and the migrants as displaced bodies. The migrants

dissolved as the hard concrete is dissolved ‘into

are itinerant persons that are suspended in this

the airborne’ [Connor, Haze, 2006]. This vaporous

new context of Athens, rendering their previous

condition acts as a kind of ‘visual noise’ [Connor,

social identity obsolete. On the other hand, smog

2010, p.38] that melts away distinctions between the

is the agent that momentarily renders Athens out

natural and the man-made and the various social

of focus. The smog’s dissolution of distinct forms

groups within Athens.

and lines also temporarily equilibrates spatial and

68


The migrant and smog come together within my explorations of the fabric, the ‘intimate interface’ [Attfield + Kirkham, 2000, p.124] between their skin and the smog. Smog, like the migrant, is a felt presence within the city. Yet, it remains unregistered as an issue to be dealt with. The laundry suspended to dry becomes a reservoir for matter. These minute particles that are imperceptible to human perception serve as an analogy for the refugee, who is also an overlooked presence within Athenian society. The environment that contaminates their laundry highlights the initial phase of their assimilation into Athenian society. As the migrant becomes more entangled within the Athenian culture, the air pollutants stain and infuse their clothes with microscopic, but distinctive, particles. The smoggy air knows no boundaries and it subjects the migrant, local Athenian and tourist to the same atmospheric conditions creating an Figure 85: Water transforms the fabric, its materiality changes like the

invisible platform of equivalence, curbing any

city shrouded by the smog- matter dissolves into illegible differentiation

difference previously uncovered in the indexical

allowing for new forms to emerge

69

system of laundry.


‘Air is medium, a membrane rather than a reservoir or resting place, constantly in flux, parted and permeated by what passes through it’

[Connor, On Air. 2004]

Figure 86: Cloth becomes infused with Athenian particulate matter

70


Figure 87: The smog is a problematic issue for Athens, with health warnings issued frequently

71


Yet, smog cannot only be considered from

Smog is a visual manifestation of the ‘two-way

a metaphorical standpoint but must also be

linkage interface’ [Groz, 2011] between the ‘class

understood as problematic for the Athenian citizens.

and particular economic system that produces it’

In June 2016, high pollutant levels were recorded,

[Ruskin in Gissen, 2009, p. 49]. Since the beginning

sparking the Health Ministry to issue a warning for

of the economic crisis, the Greek government

Athenians to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary

increased the tax on heating oil by 45% [Daley,

exposure to the toxic air [Ekathimerini, 2016]. The

2013]. This has forced Athenians to use non-

topography of mountains that surround Athens on

sustainable methods of heating the home, such as

three sides and the densification of the Polykatoikia

the burning of wood and other detritus, resulting

blocks that hover over narrow streets, trap the

in an increase of toxic matter in the air [ibid]. The

effluvia from vehicles and stop the air from filtrating

prioritisation by the governing institutions to seek

across the city [Goodbun, 2003].

additional economic revenue has degraded the physical and atmospheric environment and subjects

Along with the natural topography and spatial

the inhabitants of Athens to the perfidious air and

characteristics of the urban scape of Athens, the

its aseptic duality. As the invisible elements from

respective actions of society and culture calibrate

manufacturing processes begin to escape into the

and recalibrate the composition of the air. Smog is a

air, alternative resources must be found to create

‘product of civilisations, a socio-cultural construction’

a more sustainable city. The following material

[Eliasson citied in Smith 2006)], where the body

studies begin to explore these alternative methods in

and city are considered active in the ‘production

creating new biomaterials that are less detrimental

and transformation’ [Groz, 2011] of the air quality.

to the environment.

72


Figure 88: Suspended algae capsules

73


Material Studies Algae

T

he use of microorganisms opens up the possibility of alternative solutions to the environmental issues such as

‘The difference between an artificial machine and a natural machine is like the difference between the finite + the infinite, the static + the dynamic, the fixed + the mobile, the finitely producible or reproducible and the infinitely reproducible. [Younes, 2010]

the smoggy air that face Athens today. Initially, the viability of introducing algae as a means of mitigating pollution in Athens was researched. Oxygen levels are 90% lower in the city, and any initiative that could improve Athen’s air quality was investigated [Lehaneur, 2009, p.45]. Algae was considered as an infrastructural system for Athens as it consumes carbon dioxide and emits oxygen as its by-product. In comparison to trees or plants, the living organism is more efficient in oxygen production [Wurm, 2016] and more suitable for Athens with its lack of open fertile spaces.

74


Figure 89: Felting technique and sculptural model from the material

75


Felting Laundry utilises water and air in its process

piece. The felting technique and its material

and transforms the material qualities of the

substrate make it a sustainable renewable and

cloth. The creation of a biodegradable material

biodegradable material.

that uses the resources of air and water were investigated, in a process known as felting. This,

The design proposal seeks to harvest a

like weaving, undergoes a transformation where

biomaterial of bacterial cellulose from the

individual fibres transform into a matted textile.

Kombucha enterprise. This emerged as a hybrid

In a process reminiscent of laundering, the

from the initial studies of felting and algae. The

repeated agitation and compression causes the

living organism, Kombucha, similar to algae,

natural epidermal fibres to scale up and become

allows for biomaterial to be created. Similar to

interlocked. The process is irreversible as the

felting, a sustainable material of Kombucha is

fibres can never be untangled. As it dries, shapes

formed and can be moulded to form a variety of

can be moulded and its inherent structural

objects.

stability allows it to become a sculptural

76


Figure 90: The transitional atmospheres that overlap between inside + outside dissolve thresholds, allowing ‘binary opposites’ to occupy these sites of difference without contestation

77


Design Proposal ‘A boundary is not that at which something stops but from which something begin its presencing’

W

Martin Heidegger [citied in Bhabha, 1994, p.1]

ithin this research, the migrant,

generate new materials, the traditional methods

laundry and the smog in

of production are challenged. The biological

Athens have been critically

systems work in tandem with the natural

analysed as presences within the Athenian

environment rather than exploiting or damaging

culture that have been typically overlooked

it. For this architectural project, Kombucha

This normalised phenomena of the laundry

material syntheised by bacteria will be grown

and smog allow for the billow of garments to

and harvested by the migrant and Athenian.

unapologetically transgress from the private to public sphere while, in reverse, smoggy air defies

The material is simple to grow and allows

and infiltrates the sealed façade. The transitional

the migrant to generate a valuable resource

objects and atmospheres that overlap between

to contribute to the social, economic and

inside and outside dissolve thresholds allowing

sustainable rejuvenation of both themselves

‘binary opposites’ [Juschka 2003, p.99] to occupy

and the centre of the city. The collective scheme

these sites of difference without contestation.

normalises positive relationships between the local Athenian, the tourist and the migrant. The

This design seeks to propose an alternative

Kombucha enterprise allows the migrant to be

cultural model that suspends any social

relinquished of the status of an ineffective voyeur

imbalances, a platform of equivalence between

and to be regarded as a valuable participant

various social groups. By exploring the use of

within society. The migrant has little to exchange

an overlooked resource such as microbes to

and with the availability of Kombucha material 78


Figure 91: The Kombucha Material begins to seep in and affect the spatial variety of the cities ingrained pattern

79


it encourages further informal economies to

The deployment of the standardised

emerge so individuals or groups can generate

Polykaotikia building unit optimises the urban

an income and creatively redefine their own

scape due at the loss of open spaces within

identity and independence.

Athens. Encased within these geometric constraints, the body is disconnected from the

The architectural proposition ‘A Collective

natural and biological environment. By growing

Social Interface’ installs a technical social

this Kombucha material, ‘A Collective Social

infrastructure that supports the fermentation of

Interface’ seeks to reconnect all Athenians

this biomaterial. In between the infrastructural

with the environment and creates endless

framework, collective and shared spaces

possibilities to conceive new objects for society

emerge from the drying sheets of Kombucha

and new ways of living. The fermenting vessels

material. In the absence of a river network, the

coexist alongside laundry, seeping in and

proposed infrastructure provides the water for

affecting the spatial variety of the urban scape.

this resource to grow while also allowing the

The ‘microscopic elements begin to trickle up’

residual and forgotten members of society to

[Cruz, 2009] as the emergent language that

restore their dignity and comfort by allowing

slowly introduces a new sense of colloborative

them access to two of life’s basic needs;

ethos to the city. Like smog, which affects the

water and shelter. The architecture is open to

appearance and functioning of the urban fabric,

alternative reading and potentially reveals future

the deployment of the fermenting Kombucha

possibilities for innovative social, architectural

vessels enables the Athenian and migrant

and economic programmes.

community, as active participants in altering the physical, environmental and social culture of the city.

80


The Kombucha Material ‘Ecological architecture must be based on design principles that consider the material world in a different way,

in which non-human matter has a different and much more potent status’.

[Rachael Armstrong, 2012, p.2]

81

Figure 92: Evolving microscopic form of Kombucha

Figure 93: The microscopic elements are compressed into a

fermenting

tangible material


T

he clothes that are suspended on

for example, cellulose grown by bacteria.

the drying racks are made of three

Similar to the migrant who falls under the social

different kinds of cloth, ‘animal-

radar, the microorganisms that secrete this

based materials, plant-based materials and

form of cellulose are imperceptible to the naked

synthetic fibres largely made from petroleum’

eye. It is only in its collective organisation and

[Rosa, 2016]. Even traditional textiles such as

cohabitation with the yeast [‘the other’] that the

cotton, generated from plant cellulose have

invisible microorganisms begin to compress

an environmental impact in its method of

and produce this pliable biomaterial. By cross-

production and transporation [Grushkin, 2015].

pollinating relationships between architecture

In an age of depletion of the planet’s resources,

and science, this symbiotic relationship

bacteria and other microbes like yeast and algae

becomes a manifestation of the friction of two

are increasingly being used to pioneer bio-

opposites and how their possible cohabitation

materials. The study began to explore microbes

can manifest new ways of making and thinking

that are capable of synthesising new materials,

about Athens.

82


Figure 94: The collective systems of yeast + bacteria

Figure 95: The microscopic elements begin to become

coproducing to create something new

perceptible at the surface

Figure 96: The material thickens as it evolves over time

Figure 97: The microscopic elements that were once imperceptible to the naked eye now become visible

83


The anaerobic microbes that are used to

scientists and designers have showcased the

generate a living layer of bacterial cellulose are

creative applications of this Kombucha material.

found at the liquid-air interface of the beverage

As well as using it for textiles, Maria de Sousa

Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea that

Gallagher [2016], a biochemist at University

is brewed primarily for its health benefits.

College Cork suggested that if the bacteria

This distillate is full of probiotics, antioxidants

was grown in a bioreactor [in a controlled

and detoxification elements that cleanse the

lab environment], oxygen could be pumped

body and support a healthy immune system

in to increase the level of bacterical cellulose

[Michaelis, 2009]. Up until recently, the residual

produced. She suggested that the resultant

trace of bacterial cellulose, a by-product from

material would not only form at the surface but

this Kombucha fermentation has been viewed

throughout the liquid; resulting in a polymer

with indifference and is typically discarded

material that could be poured into moulds, or

or used solely to propagate new batches of

used for 3D printing.

Kombucha. Collective collaboration between

84


Yet, the simple ingredients required for

bacterial cellulose – Kombucha material. This

this Kombucha material do not require

thickening surface begins to appear, sprout

lab conditions and this allows the process

and propagate at the air and liquid interface

to appear organically suspended from the

because this is where the ‘most oxygen is found’

domestic facades and public spaces of Athens.

[Carpenter, De Lannoy, & Wiesner, 2015,

The ingredients for a brew of Kombucha

p.5279]. The opaque layer of Kombucha material

are simple; tea, water, sugar and a scoby. It

acts as a filtering layer allowing the passage of

is set aside to ferment at 25-30 degrees and

oxygen to the brew below while preventing any

left for anything between 4-10 days before

external contamination into the vessel. This

Kombucha material is skimmed from the

jelly-like membrane also encapsulates carbon

top and the process is repeated again until all

dioxide emitted from the fermentation process,

liquid has been consumed. The emergence

carbonating the solution to provide an optimum

of the cellulose in a Kombucha beverage is

Ph value for the growth of the yeast [ibid]. The

generated from the symbiotic relationship of

symbiotic relationship that exists in Kombucha

the yeast and bacteria. The yeast converts the

is a series of reciprocal exchanges between

sugar into fructose which in turn is digested

opposing entities of yeast and bacteria coexisting

by the microbes [Allen and Frank, 1999]. As

to allow something new to begin its presence.

a by-product, the bacteria secrete a pellicle of

85


Figure 98: The material is ready to be harvested

Figure 99: The harvester checks if the material is ready

Figure 100: The Kombucha material is removed from

Figure 101: The initial drying stage of the Kombucha

the distilalte

material drips the distillate back into the fermenting vessel

86


The ecological materiality of this fermented

Kombucha material also begins to challenge the

fabric is explored in the thesis project by

idea of the disconnection of production within

proposing to propagate it as a living system that

Athens centre. By using simple methods it allows

colonises the ‘interstitial’ spaces of Athens. The

a range of social groups to engage in the process

material engages both the local Athenian and

of making and this becomes an emergent

the migrant in a common endeavour to grow

lanuage of production evolving across the city.

and produce Kombucha material. The Athenian grows it from the façade of the Polykatoikia,

Rachel Armstrong, an experiential architect

while the migrant comes to the many collective

believes that ‘we culturally edit our preference to

exchange points to either grow or harvest

suit our technological developments’ [Andreotti,

the material [such as that later explored in

2013]. The use of microbes to manufacture

Koumoundourou Park]. Modernism issued

objects, creates new technological advances that

the city a series of ‘clean and inert spaces’

challenge cultural values and diversify the range

[Lator, 1993, p.89 ] that, rather than ‘work

of products available to the Athenian consumer.

with the living ecologies’ [Armstrong, 2012],

Kombucha material generating from a living

exclude them, disregarding their potentialities.

system creates a new ecological material that

Kombucha vessels emerge across the city to

juxtaposes itself against the inert Polyakatoikia.

normalise the controlled growth of a living

Unlike the discarded objects such as the

microbial system, reversing the modernist’s

matress and the chair that fail to be sustainably

obsession with purified spaces.

disassembled, this Kombucha material is biodegradable once the object has reached the end of its use.

87


Figure 102: The bagpack made from the material in the Kombucha ateliers

88


Unlike, the aloof objects that appear in

This proposal seeks to use this golden hued

the centre of Athens as ‘mysterious things’

material to support small scale workshops and

[Taussig 1992 p.16], Kombucha material is

supplement the cottage industry culture that

an externalisaed and inclusive process that

have become weakened by both the economic

reconnects the inhabitants of Athens with the

crisis and the large scale manufacturing plants

idea of how things are made. In a densely man-

that are situated on the outskirts of Athens.

made urbanscape, the symbiotic fermentation

Kombucha material can be considered as

of this biomaterial reconnects the Athenian,

an alternative to leather, contributing to the

migrant and tourist with the natural world. By

sustainable rejuvenation of the ateliers and other

propagating this living system, the Polykatoikias,

offshoot enterprises. This new material becomes

which constrains Athens, become ecologically

an ‘agent’ [Leach, 2007, p.168] for social

connected as the existing façade to suspends

transformation by encouraging new social and

Kombucha vessels.

cultural relationships between the scientists, the brewers, the artisans, tourists and the migrants.

89


Figure 103: The infrastructural systems that supports the growth of this Kombucha material

90


Figure 104: The siting stratergy mimics the refugees movement

91 koumoundourou park

the overall grain of Athens is etched from the polykatokias building typolgoy

piraeus


M

Siting Strategy

y initial study mapped and

social enterprise varies depending on its landing

recorded laundry practices as

point across the city.

a marker of the refugee’s initial

arrival and their assimilation into society.

Piraeus is the point of contact where the migrant

The siting strategy for ‘A Collective Social

arrives into Athens and transitions from sea

Interface’ is extrapolated from the variation in

to land, highlighting their indeterminate

the stratification of laundry as one migrates

state that is betwixt and between two worlds.

across the city. This Kombucha collective

Piraeus becomes the first point of contact for

begins to read as a piece of infrastructure

the migrants’ engagement with the Kombucha

that mimics the refugee’s movement from

material. For the migrants who are rendered

port to city, weaving itself into the ‘interstitial

helpless and bereft of their possessions, the

spaces’ of the urban scape. The production

Kombucha social enterprise distributes valuable

of Kombucha connects the disparate points

objects made from the Kombucha material for

of Piraeus, Koumoundourou park and the

their onward journey. The structure that purifies

building typology of the Polykatoikia residential

the water, distributes it from Piraeus to different

apartments. Like laundry that retracts and

parts of the city that facilitates the growth of this

reveals itself differently depending on the social

new material and resource for the city.

and economic circumstances, the Kombucha

92


Figure 105: Collection of the Kombucha material from the Polykatokia before transporting it to Koumoundourou park

93


In the Polykatoikias, the fermentation process

By providing the necessary infrastructure for

adorns the building’s façade, and this highlights

the collective harvesting of Kombucha material

the point where the local Athenian engages

the elements begin to have a social function

with the process. From here, the material is

within the public sphere. Water is required for

collected and transported by a Kombucha

the growing of Kombucha. Accessible water

harvester to a central exchange and convergence

points across the city continue to allow indirect

point where the material’s transformational

social activities such as bathing, hydration and

and transitional qualities are highlighted. This

laundering to also occur within the public realm.

site is Koumoundourou park which is spoken

The aerial suspension of the drying Kombucha

about on Day 3 of the fieldwork study [see p.27-

sheets provides shade and a public atmospheric

28]. There, I observed an assembly point for

spectacle for the tourist, Athenian and migrant.

various cultures and identities, as infrastructural

The process generates a host of collective and

elements, such as water from the solitary tap

shared spaces that become tailored by the

and shade are provided and from the trees are

inhabitant.

utilised by the migrant.

94


Figure 106: The subtle transmutation of matter from the microscopic to macroscopic, transparent to translucent, worthless to valuable are transitionary stages exhibited in Koumoundourou park

95


The fermentation process also echoes the

transitory state, abiding and anticipating their

laundry process as both go through different

final resting point.

phases of materiality; dirty to clean, wet to dry, creased to folded. Similarly this Kombucha

As observed in the fieldwork, everyday

material has numerous transformable forms;

opposites are held together within the city.

microscopic to macroscopic, transparent to

Affinities appear between objects as they coexist

translucent, worthless to valuable. The alchemic

within the same realm, overlooking, rather

transmutation of matter becomes a subtle

than interacting, with each other. This proposal

analogy for the ‘interstitial’ spaces, carved

seeks to take clues from these observations,

and colonised by the migrant and of their

allowing for a duplicity of spaces, encouraging

emerging identities as they adjust and adapt in

the migrant, Athenian and the tourist to be in

these moments of scarcity. Both the laundry

close proximity. Yet, unlike the observation

and fermentation of this Kombucha material

at the national library in Athens [Day 5 of

-a slowly evolving process that evolves over a

fieldwork, see p. 31-32] where the Athenian and

multitude of spaces and time frames - can be

tourist begin to overlook the migrant, the design

equated to the migrant who is subjected to this

encourages positive recipcorcal interactions.

96


Figure 107: Proposed water desalination infrastructure at Piraeus port

97


Piraeus In Piraeus, the structure finds itself at the interface betwixt and between land and sea, echoing the social position of the migrant whose previous social identity is obsolete and a new one is yet to be defined. The design proposes slender sculptural forms that delve into the sea [see Figure 107] and through capillary action push saline water upwards until it reaches Kombucha material where it is pulled through it using a vacuum. Kombucha material is formed by nano-cellulose fibres which have a filtration capacity to purify the contaminated water in this industrial area.

98


Figure 108: Salt Rejecting Device and water filtration using nano cellulose

99


Nano-cellulose, the scientific name

de Lannoy, & Wiesner, 2015, p.5278].

for the Kombucha material, is a

The tiny pores of the porous material,

fibrous bio-based structure that is

result in efficiently absorbing oils,

100% recyclable and its production

salts and other detritus from the

is of low toxicity to the environment

water. Cellulose nanomaterials are a

[Florea, et al. 2015]. Cellulose is a

promising absorbent membrane ‘due

common filtering natural paper and

to its high surface area to volume-ratio,

is used typically in vacuum bags and

low cost, high natural abundance, and

tea bags [Cooke, 2016]. In comparison

inherent environmental inertness’ [ibid,

to typical filters which have to be

p.5280]. Traditional water filtration

replaced, the environmental burden

plants add chlorine to kill bacteria

is reduced as the nano-cellulose filter

which momentarily inactivate them.

is not only biodegradable but also

The crystalline dense fibrous structure

compostable. The small diameter of the

of the nano-cellulose membrane

nano-cellulose fibres are significantly

removes the microscopic organisms

smaller than micro-filters [Carpenter,

before it ever enters the water supply.

100


Figure 109: Dispersal point for the Kombucha bagpack and other valuable Kombucha material objects for their onward journey

101


The filtering system metaphorically

The salt crystals are separated and isolated

emulates porosity, it becomes the interface

from the remaining detritus where they

between what items are permitted to

are assembled and deposited in the take

pass through and what is suspended. The

away channels and strategically directed to

filtering layer is made up of two layers of

infiltrate the salt chambers. The salt crystals

nano-cellulose similar to the discarded life

purify the body, draining and drawing out

jackets on the beach in Lesbos. The bottom

toxins from the inhaled smoggy Athenian

layer is a strong, non woven material that

air.

provides strength. The upper layer(s), with smaller pore sizes and greater functionality,

In the salt chambers, the air is humidified

allow the water to pass through and

and aerated with salt crystals, intertwining

selectively remove the remaining detritus

the body into the desalination process. The

[ibid, p.5283]. The accrual of salt dries

humidifiers are composed of banks of water

out the skin, resulting in a lighter hue that

sprayers, adding moisture without excessive

begins to reflect the sunshine to provide

heat, to provide evaporative cooling.

shade below.

Through breathing, the salted air purifies and restores the body before the migrants’

The design proposal uses the overlooked

onward journey to Athens and the reverse

resource of salt from desalinated water.

journey of the tourist to the islands.

102


At ground level, the purified water is released as necessary for those that transit onwards. Portable water filters created from Kombucha material are also distributed so that the migrant has a portable water purification unit for their onward journey. A backpack created from the Kombucha material [see Figure 110] is also distributed, designed in one of the atelier at Koumoundourou park by a fellow migrant. Inside the backpack is a starter pack, all that is required to begin the Kombucha enterprise in a new location; tea, sugar and scoby. This encourages the migrant to become a participatory member of the social collective.

103

Figure 110: Detailed drawing of Kombucha bagpack


Figure 111: Migrants on their onward journey to the centre of Athens

104


Figure 112: Proposed design at Polykatokia typology

105


Polykatoikia Building Typology ‘The notion of the neighbourhood as a site of experimentation is fundamental to rethinking our institution in the wake of the economic crisis’ [Teddy Cruz, 2010, p.10] This proposal builds upon the existing collective

The Kombucha material becomes the physical

construction system and the cooperative

convergence points of the metaphorical

‘kentriki’ heating system installed in the

exploration of both the migrant and laundry,

Polykatoikias of Athens [Deh, 2008]. Emerging

highlighted earlier in this thesis. The process

from this culture, the design seeks to allow the

of Kombucha echoes the practice of laundry

residents Athenians of the Polykatoikias to brew

as it migrates from the internal to external

Kombucha en masse and harvest the by-product

environment with a significant transmutation in

material for their own enterprising endeavors

materiality. This subtle shift to individualisation

or to contribute to the many collective central

from the regular repetitive blocks of

exchange points [such as Koumoundourou park]

Polykaoikias, reminds the reader and the

that are dotted across the city.

observer of the migrant who manipulates the mass produced chain-link fence at the refugee

The courtyards of the Polykatoikias become

camp and softens it with their drying clothes.

the sites of production for Kombucha making.

Kombucha vessels reconnect the Athenians

This living social infrastructure installed at

with an ecological system and the golden hue

the Polykatoikias allows for ‘collaboration

is a gentle relief from the overwhelming use of

between neighbourhood residents’ by proposing

concrete [see Figure 112].

‘co-ownerships’ [Cruz, 2009] of this collective resource of Kombucha material.

106


Figure 113: The Kombucha solution is prepared internally before transferring it to the vessel beyond that ferments the Kombucha material

107


The fermenting capsules are specially designed

Figure 113]. In comparison to the faรงade of

vats that suspend from the structural support

the Polykatoikias that tempers and attempts to

of the balcony or window frame. They become

mediate the external air using air conditioning

distinctive elements that begins to interplay with

units, the Kombucha process embraces it and

the rigidity of the city. The rectangular shape

infuses various airborne matter. Its final patina

allows for a maximum surface area of liquid to

and texture correlate to the context and air

air interface.

that it emerges from. The variations in amber hue also depend on the substrates used in the

The tea and sugar solution are prepared

microbial brew. [Darker fabric is produced when

internally where it is then added to the

black tea rather than green tea is utilised].

Kombucha apparatus suspended outside [see

108


the material creates a shaded canopy for the cyclist

the material is laid out flat provides portable hydration points

and drips and stains as it travers the city outling its journey to the park

Figure 114: A simple mechanism attaches to the bike that collect the Kombucha material + distillate from the various collectives

109


The Kombucha process echoes again

the material to the central exchange

the laundry process in that both are

points at Koumoundourou park [see

in a constant state of flux. Once the

Figure 114]. The harvester also pours

Kombucha material grows across the

the remaining Kombucha liquid into

surface of the fermenting vessel, the

a series of bottles and returns to the

brewer lifts off the layer of material

processing point at the park. As it

and lowers it, along with the drained

travels, the material weeps a golden

liquid, in a capsule to the street level

hue, outlining its journey from the

where the Kombucha harvester collects

Polykatoikia collectives to the park,

it. A specially designed apparatus

a subtle marker of this evolving

of flattened mesh can be attached

colloborative ethos between the

to an existing bicycle to transport

Athenian and the migrant.

110


111

Figure 115: Various Collectives Converge + Exchange at Koumoundourou park


Koumoundourou Park ‘Spaces and urban arrangements are usually treated as collectors of objects or volumes, not as actors. Yet the organisation is active. Action is not necessarily movement but rather embodied relationships, relative positions and potential in organisation, action is immanent in the disposition of an organisation’

[Easterling, 2012]

T

he next installment of the design

Now that the borders have been closed by the

transgresses into southwest Omonoia,

neighbouring countries to Greece, the migrants

in a part of Central Athens ‘where

movement has ceased and they are subjected

the city is no longer’ [Hudson and Shaw, 2007,

to indeterminate waiting; the displaced bodies

p.1] and the desolate spaces discarded by the

can neither return nor move forward. When I

Athenian begin to be recast by the migrant.

observed Koumoundourou park, the refugees

Koumoundourou park [mentioned in Day 3 of

are suspended in this impermeable barrier

fieldwork study see p.27-28] is an intermediary

between nations and culture where language

point for the refugee before they reach their final

limits communication between various social

destination in Western and Northern Europe.

groups.

112


Figure 116: Temporary accommodation within the landscape of the trees with ateliers for the Kombucha below

113


Whilst on the field trip I observed that people

thing about Syrians – we don’t like to do nothing,

kept their belongings in the trees, elevated from

we want to be part of any society we are in’

immediate grasp. In the same way, I propose

[Luckhurst 2016]. The refugees do not want to

moments of temporary accommodation that

be dependent on their host and this Kombucha

are made from Kombucha material [see Figure

enterprise allows them to participate within

116]. They are suspended within the landscape

society restoring their dignity and self respect.

of the trees and their elevated height enables a sense of security and privacy as well as creating

This design proposal sets out to enable the

a visual phenomena for those strolling in the

migrant to redefine their identity in Athens

space below. From observing the cultural

by engaging the migrant in the harvesting of

manner of the refugees whilst in Athens,

the Kombucha material. The transitional states

they are polite, patient and protective of their

of the process and the transmutation of the

families. One example of a collaborative effort

intangible to tangible matter are an analogy

that ensures large-scale results is the restaurant

for the individual’s emerging enterprising

at Lesbos Island that prepares 300 meals every

and creative identities. Through collective

night for the arriving refugees. What initially

collaboration, it allows these previously

emerged as a relationship of dependency, now

anonymous migrants to become distinct entities;

employs five Syrian full time chefs and the clean-

allowing for new relationships and connections

up is performed by the refugees themselves

to develop between the migrant, the tourist and

[McCrystal 2015]. One refugee states that ‘I

the Athenian.

want to make money, I want to learn. That’s the

114


Figure 117: Shared collective + shaded social spaces emerge around the infrastructural elements for harvesting the Kombucha

115


This proposal provides the necessary support

Kombucha material sets up a ‘social condenser’

system for growing and harvesting both the

[Rendell, 2013, p.1] for migrant, tourist and

Kombucha beverage and the material. From

Athenian to coexist, mimicking the social

visiting Athens, this will be embraced by the

entanglement initially observed at the national

tourist, for its visual phenomena and the refugee

library’s staircase [See day 5 of the fieldwork,

and local Athenian for its practicality. The folded

p.31-32]. In this design proposal, the exchange

and stretched material creates habitable sheltered

points create a catalyst for human interactions,

volumes for the migrant’s spatial production [see

the drying sheets of Kombucha material gather,

Figure 117]. The direct provision of water for

creating pockets of shaded habitation for the

the Kombucha process also allows the migrant

bathers below., The water that washes the

to animate the space with domestic processes

material is strategically filtered and redeployed

of purification - laundering and bathing - now

for the migrant to rinse clothes or carry out

positively perceived and normalised in the

religious purification rituals. The alchemic

public sphere. As disposed objects and spaces

process of Kombucha production brings a spatial

in the streets differ in valuation depending on

complexity to the park by layering contrasting

the user, the migrant utilises and inhabits the

social groups into this platform of equivalence.

space differently depending on their needs. The

116


Figure 118: The spectacle of bubbling patterned vessels suspend above the landscape become a part of a temporal framework of vagrant ecologies within the city

117


Kombucha vessels begin to filter amber light to

Polykatoikia collectives. This site of production

the field below and they become valued as visual

highlights the multiple fields unified in this

phenomena. The spectacle of bubbling patterned

common endeavour. The visual connection of

vessels that suspend above the landscape

this Kombucha collective begins to retract and

become a part of a temporal framework of

reveal itself in similar ways to how laundry

vagrant ecologies within the city. The lighting

appears and disappears within the city. A field

conditions below the vessels change depending

of devices, such as that in the Polykatoikias, are

on the blooming of the self-generating skin. As

deployed across the city allowing the migrant

the Kombucha material thickens, the amount of

and local Athenian to engage with the process.

light penetrating through the vessels fluctuates

A specially designed mechanism transports the

opaque to transclucent. This creates distinctive

material from the collective to the park [see

spatial and atmospheric conditions that create

Figure 114, p.109]. At this exchange point, the

shifting patterns on the ground line that

sheets are washed and then left to dry upon

becomes a register for the harvester that the

the stretching rollers. En route to the central

material is ready.

exchange point, the Kombucha distillate [also collected from the Polykatoikia] provides

Koumoundourou park, as well as acting as a

portable hydration and shade on the streets as it

site of growth and production, becomes the

travels Koumoundourou park.

central point where material drifts from various

118


Figure 119: The Kombucha Tea House with the amber fermenting vessels beyond

119


Once the pellicle has reached its desired

Once the liquid and material have been peeled

thickness, the harvester engages with the

away by the harvester, the reduction in weight

mechanical system that ferments and drains

triggers the infrastructure to release water back

the distillate liquid from the vats. As the liquid

into the vat. Before the water is added it passes

escapes, the pellicle of Kombucha material falls

through a ‘solar vapour generator’ [Chu, 2016],

to the base of the vat, where it is placed upon

that soaks up natural sunlight and heats the

a wire mesh. This mesh is attached to a pulley

water to boiling temperature generating steam

where the harvester hoists the skin up to allow

through the structures pores. The ground leaves

the process to begin again. The distillate liquid

from the tea garden are added to the vat and

that is drained from the vessels collects at two

the steam from the boiling water triggers the

points. The first is for the harvester, who collects

addition of the liquid sugar, a by-product from

a portion of liquid that will be added to the next

nearby confectionaries. Once the brew has

batch. The remaining Kombucha travels through

cooled, a portion of the previous batch along

a series of capillaries where it is distributed to

with the orginal starter Kombucha material are

a Kombucha tea house. As well as this being a

added into the vessel. At this point, the mixture

social and recreational space it also becomes the

is left undisturbed for approximately 4-5 days

point where the proximity between source, line

until the process repeats. Through the repeated

of production and end product become blurred.

gestural actions of the body, knowledge of

As one drinks the Kombucha distillate, one is

Kombucha harvesting becomes understood as

subtly aware of amber vessels that suspend above

a unifying language. The material is then hand

and the externalised process [Figure 119].

washed and pressed of excess water, before being finally transferred to rollers or moulds where it is stretched out to calibrate its form.

120


koumondorou park

Figure 120: The Kombucha harvester takes a moments respite under the shaded sheets

121


By creating desirable products, such as the

products for society. The migrant begins to

Kombucha beverage and material, the migrants

engage in creating useable objects such as

who have initially been perceived as being

baby slings, tent, shoes or backpacks for their

a burden to Athenian to society, are now

fellow migrants, which are then redistributed in

reconceived for their positive contribution to

Piraeus for their journey of infinite duration.

the social and economic aspects of the city. The migrant begins to occupy the habitable

The Kombucha material allows products created

space created by the production and drying

from it to be simple in design, minimising the

of the sheets in microscale workshops. This

utilities needed for the migrant to make it. When

mirrors existing, innovative enterprises that

the material is dampened, no glue is required as

have emerged on the island of Lesbos from the

the material is self-adhesive. This also creates

refugee crisis. For example, the migrants have

a platform of equivalence that allows all skill

engaged with a group of Dutch volunteers in

sets to engage with this enterprising activity

creating a backpack from existing resources

regardless of resources or language. However,

on the beach. The material for the backpack is

the intention of this design is not to provide yet

salvaged from rubber dinghies and the straps are

another consumer product but rather to begin

taken from the discarded life jacket [Cheslow,

to question our under appreciation of often

2016]. Kombucha material was perceived, like

overlooked resources and informal sytems of

the migrants, as an overlooked resource and is

operations that already exist within our cities.

now contoured and moulded to create desirable

122


Conclusion ‘A Collective Social Interface’ seeks to yield

of some of the social, cultural, economic and

new ideas, broadening the field of architecture

environmental complexities of the city.

beyond building. The question of how

123

architecture could facilitate innovative solutions

This Komubucha enterprise seeks to reorganise

to this mass influx and subsequent stagnation

and rethink the urban infrastructure that

of economic migrants and refugees presented

currently infuses Athens. In doing so, I cross

itself. As architects and planners, we often

pollinated transdisciplinary discussions of art,

look at cities as building and streets, but cities

architecture, science and the humanities to begin

serve their people and their social activities

to comprehend the multiplicity of this hybrid

embody its space. This project emerges from an

society. By actively engaging various disciplines,

ethnographic understanding of the complexities

an opportunity arose for the architect to act as

of the context, the site and the communities of

a mediator, seeking the possibility of a social

Athens. Fieldwork observations, and the detailed

cohesive that aligns the migrant, the tourist and

research analysis that followed, facilitated

Athenian on a platform of equivalence. From

an understanding of Athens far beyond

this exploratory research, I understand the

appearances and structures - an understanding

architect’s responsibility as a social advisor to


the governing institutions; ensuring the

material for Athens, while simultaneously

informal economies, the normal collective

disguising it as social architecture to untether

behaviour patterns and the invisible urban flows

segregation and segmentation between the

of the city are not overlooked. As alternatives to

various disparate social groups. In designing

the systematic infrastructure of the Polykatokia

public spaces, it begins to define a participatory

are sought, this research, though paper based

urbanism that examines the scale of city, the

and hypothetical, encourages innovative

scale of the site and the scale of the body. It

trans-disclipinary thinking.

engages new strategies for advancement of the social, economic and environmental possibilities

Conscious of this social responsibility, I propose

for the Athenians and the ‘new’ Europeans that

‘A Collective Social Interface’ as a technical

find themselves now residing in Greece.

system that allows for the growth of a new

124


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Image Bibliography Figure 1: A Collective Social Interface Front Page [Own Image] Figure 2: The laundry billows unashamedly in Athens. Wallace, R. 2008 ‘Laundry on Terrace’, Athens, Greece https://www.flickr.com/photos/robwallace/2397276048 accessed on 29-12-2015 Figure 3: The smoggy air that imbues Athens. Wyngard, F. ’Smoggy Air in Athens as seen from their Parthenon’. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2005/2005-09-22-01.html accessed on 0606-2016 Figure 4: Fermenting bubbles within the Kombucha [Own Image] Figure 5: The Kombucha Material in context in Athens [Own Image] Figure 6: The Kombucha material with its distinct patterns + patinas [Own Image] Figure 7: The migratory paths of refugees and migrants to Europe [Own Drawing] Figure 8: The Polkatoikia Housing Typology defines the Athenian Landscape. Gerolympos, G. July 2012. http://el.yerolymbos.com/filter/. Athens, Greece. accessed on 23-08-2016 Figure 9: The overlooking the light wells + narrow courtyards. Pappa, 2015 https://www.instagram. com/nat.pa/ Athens, Greece. accessed on 23-08-2016 Figure 10: The Enclosed Spatial Forms of the Polykatoikia. Papa, 2016 https://www.instagram.com/ nat.pa/ Athens, Greece. accessed on 23-08-2016

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Figure 11: Shops + Restaurants Overspill into the street. October 2015, Athens Greece [Own Image] Figure 12: Habitable space in the undercroft. Behrakis 2015. ‘Homeless in Greece’ Athens Greece http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2013/06/06/homeless-in-greece/ accessed on 23-082016 Figure 13: Migrants unpack their belongings in the public parks of Athens. October 2015. Athens, Greece. [Own Image] Figure 14: The migrants on their journey of indeterminate duration. Popovski, B., September 2015. ‘People pass railway tracks as they approach the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija’. http:// www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/09/08/a-growing-number-of-countries-are-signaling-they-wantonly-christian-refugees-from-the-middle-east/ accessed on 23-08-2016 Figure 15: The migrant carves out space underneath Polykatoikia. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens Greece] Figure 16. The ‘other’ returns later that day [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens Greece] Figure 17: The cardboard softens the cold concrete steps [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens Greece] Figure 18: A tap in a public park becomes an laundering spot 2015 Michaud, G. A young Afghan washes his clothes at a water point in Schisto Camp, in suburb of Athens, https://www.instagram. com/p/BHZEHaKjqgb/?taken-by=gael_michaud accessed on 23-08-2016 138


Figure 19: This dynamic structure begins to challenge the spatial constrains of the city. With the body the structure incurs consequent change[Own Drawing] Figure 20: Athen recalibrates itself + challenges the flexibilites of an ingrained pattern. [Own Drawing] Figure 21: Newspapers are suspended along the street. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens Greece] Figure 22: Domestic objects are strewn across the street. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens Greece] Figure 23: Bodies Disperse in the street in various conditions. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens Greece] Figure 24: The young child + the elderly homeless man. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 25: The ‘other’ carve + soften space. 2012, Stavrakis, T., ‘Homeless people sleep outside a transit station in Athens’. http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/01/25/hedge-funds-scramble-to-unload-greek-debt/?_r=0 Figure 26: The streets are populated with their belongings [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 27: The meat is suspended on hooks in close proximity to the lighting. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] 139


Figure 28: The migrants here in Omonoia square are subjected to this indeterminate period of waiting. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 29: The butcher meat is in close proximity to the main passageway in the market. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 30: Random Steps interrupt the street leading to commercial spaces below. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 31: A man washes his shoes at the tap and waits for them to dry in Koumoundourou Park [Scene 1].[Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 32: Elderly men search rubbish bins for leftover food. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 33: Another man refills his water bottle and washes his teeth at the tap in Koumoundourou park [Scene 2][Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 34: A migrant woman sleeps under the shade of the tree in Koumoundourou park[Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 35: Men Analyse the daily newspapers. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 36: Disposed objects in the street disrupt the pedestrian flow. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece]

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Figure 37: Flattened cardboard boxes are dismantled and brought as a material to soften the cities concrete. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 38: Dryings clothes are in close proximity to pedestrians and the fumes of the nearby street. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 39: A migrant child inspects the ornate staircase at the National Library in Athens [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 40: The migrants family await their next destination underneath the shaded space of the ornate staircase. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 41: Couple using staircase for their their wedding pictures [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 42: Tourists and migrants occupy the same spatial trajectory but often overlook each other presence. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 43: Migrants on trains from Piraeus to Athens. Konstantinidis, A. October 2015. ‘Afghan refugees are seen on a bus as they are transferred from Victoria Square to an indoor stadium in Athens’ http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-europe-migrants-afghans-idUKKCN0RV50E20151001 Figure 44: Within Alexandras Avenue, the Syrian family charge their phones and use their prayer mats as bedding [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 45: The Syrian family that I met squatting at Alexandras Avenue [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] 141


Figure 45: The Syrian family that I met squatting at Alexandras Avenue [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 46: The Syrians child’s socks are left to dry on the windowsill. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 47: By pairing ‘binary oppositions’ unexpected strangeness occur [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 48: Interior of a deteriorating neoclassical house in central Athens [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 49: The deteriorating facade of the neoclassical buildings of Athens [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 50: Ladies gossip as their undergarments are visible to the street below [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 51: Domestic objects agitate the pedestrian flow. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 52: Migrants in Athens + their laundry practice utilise available surfaces and simple mechanisms. 2016, Gouliamkai, L. Original Title ‘A refugee family at the port of Piraeus in Athens, where some 1,500 migrants are stranded’. found at http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/inside-a-refugeecamp-everywhere-i-look-i-see-children-s-lives-being-disrupted-1.2693628. accessed on 22/06/2016

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Figure 53: Local Athenian with their laundry suspended on a specially designed mechanism that protects the more intimate garments from prying eyes [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 54: A migrant uses the branches of a tree to suspend her laundry. Stavrakis, T., 2016 https:// www.yahoo.com/news/latest-greece-rules-forced-evacuation-migrants-092946215.html?ref=gs t. accessed 23-08-2016 Figure 55: Shirts billow against the concrete-scape of Athens Karla 2007. ‘Laundry in Athens’ https://www.flickr.com/photos/krh/401928700/in/photolist- accessed on 23-08-2016 Figure 56: Migrants leave their clothes to dry on a set of soccer goalies in Piraeus. Karahalis, Y., 2016. ‘Clothes are left to dry on a goalpost at the port of Piraeus, near Athens’. http://www.vnews. com/News/Nation-World/Deportation-Of-Migrants-Starts-Today-1314486 accessed on 23-08-2016 Figure 57: The fencing now begins to have this double legibility as that which suspendsand encloses Neppanen 2011 https://www.flickr.com/photos/discounterintelligence/5617275651/in/ accessed on 33-08-2016 Figure 58: The migrants arriving on to Lesbos Island, Greece after their treacherous journey. Ponomarev, S. 2015 ‘Migrants pulled on inflatable boat crowded with Syrian refugees arriving last month’. Lesbos, Greece. http://nytimes.com/2015/08/05/world/europe/lesbos-greece-migrant-refugee-crisis.html accessed on 29/11/2015

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Figure 59: The neon orange mountain of discarded life jackets + wet clothes are relinquished by the migrants. 2015, Scoppa, F., Life Jackets in landfill http://capta-images.com/project/cold_dark_sea_ lesbos/. Lesbos, Greece. Figure 60: The migrants try to dry their feet + saturated shoes . March 2016, Vitsari, George www. popaganada.gr/evdomada-pou-perase-se-ikones-40/ Lesbos Island, Greece Figure 61: The migrants dry their clothes by the fire. September 2015, Cheun, H. Standing campfire roasting clothing after landing, the majority of the refugees will be wearing wet clothes to walk a few kilometers of the sea’ Lesbos, Greece. http://www.nationalgeographic.com.cn/photography/ galleries/2011.html#9 Figure 62: A mother washes her sons shoes on Lesbos island, Greece. 2015 Cheun, H.‘A mother from Afghanistan to her son at the beach cleaning shoes Far away, a ferry carrying refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, heading for Athens’. http://www.nationalgeographic.com.cn/photography/galleries/2011.html Taken on the island of Lesbos, Greece Figure 63: The migrant woman searches through the donated clothing. Karahalis , 2016. http:// www.vnews.com/News/Nation-World/Deportation-Of-Migrants-Starts-Today-1314486 accessed on 23-08-2016 Figure 64: The migrants suspend their clothes on the chain link fence altering this mass produced item. 2015 Whitehall, T. ‘Clothes are hung to dry at the Moira refugee camp in Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece’. http://fusion.net/story/232589/syria-refugees-greece-europe-photography/ accessed on 06 January 2016

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Figure 65: A migrant child falls asleep while her mother suspends their clothing above. November, 2015. Schlein, L. ‘A kid sleeps under laundry at the migrant and refugee registration camp in Moria village on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos,www.voanews.com/content/un-greek-migrant-facilites-need-expanding/3056722.html Figure 66: A Muslim woman checks on her laundry. Freedom House, 2012. ’A Syrian woman refugee who fled the violence in Syria checks her laundry’ https://www.flickr.com/photos/syriafreedom/68194799938 Figure 67: Clothing left to dry on side of balcony at Alexandras Avenue. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 68: Solar shading also supports the clothes line at Alexandras Avenue. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 69: The minimal display of the child’s socks at Alexandras Aenue highlights the migrants transitionary status. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 70: The materiality and quantity of the clothes hung to dry can define the social stratus of the inhabitants within. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 71: This Athenian balcony is in a more affluent area of Athens where the balcony displays plants + the national flag. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece]

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Figure 72: A Migrant boy collects from the fencing at a refugee camp ‘Eyesore: The harbourside has become an unofficial washing line, with clothes and grubby-looking scarves laid out along the shoreline’. Daily Mail, 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3099736/Holidaymakers-misery-boat-people-Syria-Afghanistan-seeking-asylum-set-migrant-camp-turn-popular-Greek-island-Kos-disgusting-hellhole.html#ixzz4I9riM1n5 Figure 73: The Athenians utilise the sheets and towels to conceal the more intimate items behind. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 74: The migrants wait in public spaces in Athens while their laundry dries on a nearby railing. Michaud, G., 2015. ‘A NGO collected some shoes, food, tents and water to help #refugeesGr in #pedion_areos in #Athens’ https://twitter.com/pantval/status/625963791906381824 accessed on 22-08-2016 Figure 75: A migrant uses the shape of the chain link fence to her advantage in the absence of pegs. Salum, S. 2015. title on original website ‘EU misled by US melting pot social model when acting refugees’ http://sputniknews.com/europe/20151027/1029174755/eu-us-melting-pot-refugees.html accessed on 06-01-2016 Figure 76: Classification of the similarities + different in the laundry techniques by the Athenian and migrant [Own Drawing] Figure 77: Collapsing the indexical system unveiled in the previous classificatory drawing [see Figure 76]

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Figure 78: The window is the pivot point + interface between the domestic + public realms. [Own Drawing] Figure 79: The various elements to suspend the laundry are dismantled to dissolve the geometrical constraints of the standardised products. [Own Drawing] Figure 80: New forms begin to emerge from the disassembled laundry airing mechanisms that recalibrates our understanding of the objects in question. [Own Drawing] Figure 81: Smog As an Eveloping Atmospheric [Own Drawing] Figure 82: The air conditioning units create a regularised bumping texture on the impermeable facade. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 83: Supplementary air conditioning create a tempered + mediated environment for the inhabitants with. [Own image, taken in October 2015, Athens, Greece] Figure 84: Smoggy air knows no boundaries, in turn this creates an invisible platform of equivalence. [Own Drawing] Figure 85: Water transforms the fabric, its materiality changes like the city shroude by the smog - matter dissolves into illegible differentiation allowing for new forms to emerge. [Own series of photographs of laundering] Figure 86: Cloth becomes infused with Athenian particulate matter [Own image + model}

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Figure 87: The smog is a problematic issue for Athens, with health warning issued frequently [Own Drawing] Figure 88: Suspended algae capsules. 2015, Living Things US, ‘Living Algae Lamps’. http://inhabitat.com/living-things-furniture-puts-spirulina-to-work-for-light-heat-and-a-protein-packed-snack/ accessed 06-06-2016 Figure 89: Felting technique + sculptural model [Own Drawing + Image] Figure 90: The transitional atmospheres that overlap between inside + outside dissolve thresholds allowing ‘binary opposites’ to occupy these sites of difference [Own Drawing] Figure 91: The Kombucha Material begins to seep in and affect the spatial variety of the cities ingrained pattern [Own Drawing] Figure 92: Evolving microscopic form of Kombucha fermenting. Biocouture, 2015. ‘This might look like a pint of moldy beer, but in fact it’s the raw substance of Biocouture’s biomaterial. It’s grown in a vat filled with a sugary green tea solution using a kombucha culture. Once the layer of microbial cellulose is sufficiently thick, it is harvested, washed and allowed to dry. After the water evaporates it resembles a vegetable’ leatherhttp://ideas.ted.com/the-skirt-and-shoe-made-from-kombucha/ accessed on 23-05-2016 Figure 93: The microscopic elements become compressed into a tangible material [Own Image] Figure 94: The collective systems of yeast + bacteria co-producing to create something new [ Own Image] 148


Figure 95: The microscopic elements begin to become perceptible at the surface. 2016, Gluewater [https://www.instagram.com/gluewater/?hl=en] accessed on 21-08-2016 Figure 96: The material beings to evolve over time. 2016, Gluewater. https://www.instagram. com/p/-SAEZnkpgL/?taken-by=gluewater&hl=en accessed on 21-08-2016 Figure 97: The microscopic elements are compressed into something tangible. 2016. Microbial Cellulose https://www.instagram.com/p/BHzTrPiDbdT/?taken-by=microbialcellulose ‘Growing Process’ accessed on 21-08-2016 Figure 98: The material is ready to be harvested. 2016. Gluewater https://www.instagram. com/p/-xQeXekpvs/?taken-by=gluewater&hl=en accessed on 21-08-2016 Figure 99: The harvester checks if the material is ready. 2015 Emm Studio https://www.instagram. com/p/8nFeCRBybg/?tagged=microbialcellulose. Growing a skin-suit as a shared space for Brighton bath users, barnacles and zoo plankton, out of yeast and bacteria samples! accessed on 21-082016. Figure 100: The Kombucha material removed from the distillate 2016. Gluewater https://www.instagram.com/p/-fAEYPEpnU/?taken-by=gluewater&hl=en accessed on 21-08-2016 Figure 101: The initial drying stage drips the excess liquid back into the fermenting vessel. [Own Image] Figure 102: The bag pack made from the material in the Kombucha ateliers. [Own Image]

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Figure 103: The infrastructural systems that supports the growth of this Kombucha material [Own Drawing] Figure 104: The siting strategy mimics the refugees journey [Own Drawing] Figure 105: Collection of the Kombucha material from the Polykatokia before transporting it to Koumoundourou park [Own Drawing] Figure 106: The subtle transmutation of matter from the microscopic to macroscopic, transparent to translucent, worthless to valuable are transitionary stages exhibited in Koumoundorou park [Own Drawing] Figure 107: Proposed water desalination infrastructure at Piraeus port [Own Drawing] Figure 108: Figure 108: Salt Rejecting Device and water filtration using nano cellulose [Own Drawing] Figure 109: Dispersal point for the Kombucha bagpack and other valuable Kombucha material objects for their onward journey [Own Drawing] Figure 110: Detailed drawing of Kombucha bag pack [Own Drawing] Figure 111: Migrants on their onward journey to the centre of Athens [Own Drawing] Figure 112: Proposed design at Polykatokia typology [Own Drawing]

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Figure 113: The Kombucha solution is prepared internally before transferring it to the vessel beyond that ferments the Kombucha material [Own drawing]

Figure 114: Simple mechanism attaches to the bike that collect the Kombucha material + distillate from the various collectives [Own Drawing]

Figure 115: Various Collectives Converge + Exchange at Koumoundourou park [Own Drawing]

Figure 116: Temporary accommodation within the landscape of the trees [Own Drawing]

Figure 117: Shared collective + shaded social spaces emerge around the infrastructural elements for harvesting the Kombucha [Own Drawing]

Figure 118: The spectacle of bubbling patterned vessels suspend above the landscape become a part of a temporal framework of vagrant ecologies within the city [Own Drawing]

Figure 119: The Kombucha Tea House with the amber fermenting vessels beyond [Own Drawing]

Figure 120: The Kombucha harvester takes a moments respite under the shaded sheets

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Profile for Shelly Rourke

A Collective Social Interface  

Athens, Migrant, Laundry, Kombucha, Smog

A Collective Social Interface  

Athens, Migrant, Laundry, Kombucha, Smog

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