Tears and Parades
Title: Tears and Parades
“It should be remembered that for the purpose of binding social groups together nothing makes as much sense as nonsense, and hence nonsense always wins. If the reader does not believe this, let him substitute for an impressive and moving ritual a series of factual and practical observations. If he does, he will see the group crumbling for lack of the emotional drive which comes only from ceremony. Tears and parades, not rational discussion, are the moving forces of the world in which we happen to live”.Thurman Arnold (1937),The folklore of Capitalism
My project deals with the aftermath of the economic crisis and its socioeconomic and political consequences in Athens, Greece.
Greece experiences its sixth year of recession. Since 2008 GDP has fallen by 25%, leaving more than 25% of the population living under the poverty line. Unemployment has reached 28%, with youth unemployment being close to 60%. The sudden and dramatic drop of the quality of life of big parts of the population, and the ruining of hopes of the new generation, has brought many on the verge of despair. Although objective material well being in Greece might still compare favorably with many other EU countries, it is the subjective experience of falling life prospects which is more politically salient. The 2012 elections have registered a political backlash to austerity policies, with the collapse of moderate political forces and the assent of parties of the extreme right and left.
Stereotypical photojournalistic imagery provides a representation of the crisis in Greece through images of riots, homeless people and drug addicts. This highly iconic and emotionally laden topics, however, apart from having always been present, fail to grasp how the crisis is experienced by the vast majority of the population.
With my project I do not claim I offer a comprehensive account of events, or analysis. I rather try to convey what i have personally experienced as a change in the mood in Athens, a generalized feeling of depression that looms over the city and its population. The streets and bars of the center around Omonia square, once the commercial heart of the city which have lately been left to degradation, political rallies, religious gatherings of immigrant communities, and demonstrations against austerity, have been the sites where I looked for my subject matter. My photographic narrative is built around the contrast between isolated people in the crowd and venues where new collective identities are being constructed. Blending fact and personal vision, I see my work as a personal documentary that explores the potential of seemingly realist and representational images to act as visual metaphors.