Between Neighborhoods Athens – Alexia Liakounakou
I always seek out neighborhoods, perhaps because I always wanted to live in one. My street is quite large, and lacks the neighborhood feeling most homes enjoy in Athens.
I set out exploring these neighborhoods when I realized that ‘ugly’ and ‘beautiful’ are two ideas very thinly separated. It was around the time of the first anti-austerity riots in 2008 – exactly when everyone began focusing on poverty, unemployed people and the unfolding of violent events – that I began taking my camera beyond them and wandered around the neighborhoods not only in downtown Athens but beyond the center for the typical, simple, and mundane homes. And as it turns out, this mundane and perhaps uninteresting everyday hid what was most exciting. Streets mixed with the scent of orange blossom, tall buildings belonging to the era of the 70s-construction boom, wild flowers on balconies, the open roads of the eastern suburbs and curtains dangling outside windows pushed by the afternoon breeze.
Yet Athens, like every city, is its outsides as much as it is its insides. After two or three years of photographing the outside, which proved to be both difficult and frustrating because of the growing alertness of the people who feared getting caught – or even worse, have their front door caught – in the frame, I turned inwards. I took my camera to friends’ homes and to family gatherings in order to capture the spaces beyond the living room. The bedrooms, the kitchens, the hanging artwork on the walls, the staircases and other architectural elements which to me seem quintessentially Athenian.
It seems like Athens manifests itself everywhere lately, but never as I see it, and for this reason, I want to present my own Athens to the world.
watch for part two on the congo – You can view more of Alexia’s work at alexialiakounakou.com