Mountainous passages of Tymfi, Smolikas and Grammos
assembly, coexistence, community, mountain pass, moving lines
Mode of travelling
Biennale of Western Balkans
Cultural heritage and Cultural Practices, Migration and Labour
intercultural co-existence, the right to move, mutual aid, passing invisible lines, community building, the power to shape a common future, mountains as a topos beyond boundaries and borders
ορεινό πέρασμα (or̥ei̯no pérasma) - mountain pass; a navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge. Since many of the world's mountain ranges have presented formidable barriers to travel, passes have played a key role in trade, war, and both human and animal migration throughout history
ανοιχτή συνέλευση (anoi̯chtɛː synélefsɛː) - an open assembly or people's assembly; a gathering called to address issues of importance to participants. Assemblies tend to be freely open to participation and operate by direct democracy. Some assemblies are of people from a location, some from a given workplace, industry or educational establishment; others are called to address a specific issue
Myth 1: Constructed fear of the Other and generalizations about race are used as a toxic political tool in the public sphere. Criticism for xenophobic false perceptions comes now from a large array of fields of public and oral history, memory, anthropology, cultural studies, the communities and a mutual aid movement from “below”
Assembling, Speculating, Projecting, Walking, Overlapping, Juxtaposing
Passing Lines discusses the perception of community, coexistence, and borders, inspired by the passing of Albanian groups of refugees through the Greek mountain borders and their incidental encounters with Greek mountaineers. It is a visual fragment of a shared common struggle in hostile terrain, and an imaginary open assembly upon those mountains.
The identities are merged: mountaineers and refugees could not be separated, they are struggling shadows in a world of ice and snow. In the evening they gather together to cook and regain strength but also to reflect, communicate and discuss. This imaginary open assembly is a place of discussions and collective processes, a field of new beginnings, a common ground.
After 1991 there was a constant flow of Albanian refugees through these difficult mountainous passes. Albanians fled in large numbers into Greece everyday and it was not uncommon back then to encounter them tired and exhausted on the Greek mountains near the border. Facing freezing temperatures, snow and craggy terrain with light clothing, lack of food and the uncertainty of seeking a new country, they often encountered groups of mountaineers in their paths.
Moving borders and crises, the common history of the Balkans through different narrations: the issues of closed or open borders haunt this project as unsolved questions. Mountains are considered a terrain of freedom, of struggle, but also a place of common ground and common cultural history that goes way back in time.
Passing Lines is an elliptic visual fragment of a common struggle against hostile terrain and a projection of an imaginary forum of exchange and mutual aid created on those mountains. The identities are merged: mountaineers and refugees could not be separated, they are struggling shadows in a world of ice and snow. In the evening they gather together to cook and regain strength but also to reflect, communicate and discuss. This imaginary open assembly, a place of discussions and collective processes is a field of new beginnings, a common ground.
In the near future, the Passing Lines project seeks to approach the Albanian communities and include their narrations of their passage into the research. The aim is to investigate the relationship between the mountain area and the local communities in which they navigated, in order to rethink the closeness and dividends of recent history, as well as the barriers/borders between people. A future sequence of the project could be the collaboration with these communities or individuals, to visually represent their own version of their experiences of crossing the border on those mountains.
Yannis Hamilakis, The Nation and its Ruins, Antiquity, Archaeology and National Imagination in Greece Oxford University Press, 2007
Kωνσταντίνα Mπαδα, Ιστορίες μετανάστευσης μέσα από παράνομα μονοπάτια. Χώρος και ταυτότητες.
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Piotr Kropotkin, Mutual Aid
Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water/The Broken Road
Nick Hunt, Walking the Woods and the Water
Δημήτρη Ψαρρά, “Πώς συλλογάται ο Ρήγας;”
Christopher C. King, Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey intoEurope’s Oldest Surviving Folk Music
David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Everything
LAMERICA (1994). Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh2KrZlroDE (Accessed 27 October 2021)
Christian Boltanski, Personnes, Monumenta 2010
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