This project began as a response to an invitation to respond photographically to the city of Athens.
As an outsider that had never before visited Greece, I began reading different source material – from travel guides to poetry, to news stories, and fiction.
I ultimately wanted to explore the idea of contemporary ruins appearing in a city famous for ancient ruins, as a result of the financial crash. Ruins as a cultural attraction, and how this sits in the conscience when the sites are modern, and the occupants are, in some instances, in states of extreme hardship.
The search led me to a number of different types of buildings which, as I discovered, now symbolise how sites have been re-appropriated, both literally and metaphorically, to meet the new and necessary needs of the people of the city, both newcomers and locals. I was struck by how the grass-roots “movements” of people organising themselves as a result of the government’s austerity, has collided with the “movement” of people across land and sea who are fleeing war.
In recent memory Athens has undergone huge change. In 2009 Greece was hit by the financial crisis and more recently in 2015 the European Migrant/Refugee Crisis has made a huge impact on Greece with unprecedented numbers of people migrating across the Aegean sea via Turkey, arriving on the shores of Greek islands. People have travelled predominantly from Syria and Afghanistan, fleeing Daesh.
This excerpt from the series includes pictures taken inside the old Hellinikon Airport – a site which now includes a permanently closed museum and a terminal now “housing” 2000 refugees. Also in these pictures are pictures taken inside an old town house which had been abandoned and was now being renovated by volunteers from across Europe, for the sole purpose of housing refugees.