2012 – ongoing / Archival postcards and inkjet prints
(Various locations, between 2012 and 2013)
Who Doesn’t Like a Good Old Story? is an ongoing photographic series, which interrogates the structure of the archive and the tradition of documentary and tourist photography. The series constructs alternative ‘portraits’ of cities in the periphery of urban modernity by juxtaposing different representational systems (for example the geometrical topology and the tourist postcard). These portraits confront the viewer with an ‘incomplete’ collection of images and an ‘inappropriate’ juxtaposition of forms, a confrontation that reveals the particularities of peripheral urban projects, highlights processes of transition and change and challenges popular narratives of modernist development.
For example, Who Doesn’t Like a Good Old Story (Yerevan)? is a diptych that juxtaposes archival postcards of a manicured Soviet Yerevan of the early 60’s, with a geometrical assembly of close-up of gas meters that are doted in the contemporary urban landscape. These gas meters are the products of the new energy infrastructure put in place after the fall of the Soviet Union. The work explores through a purely visually gesture the post-Soviet urban transformation and reflects on the complexity of transitional narratives and the ambiguity of mod- ernist projects.
Who Doesn’t Like a Good Old Story (Thessaloniki)? juxtaposes a geometrical assembly of balcony railings in Thessaloniki, with two blown-up archival tourist postcards of arches (the Roman Arch of Galerius and the entrance to the International Fair). The variation and transformation of the metal forms of the balconies visually narrate the story of modernist development in the city, while their close-up framing and symmetrical arrangement infuses a sense of flatness that fences of perspective, creating a barrier. On the other hand, the scale of the arched forms contradicts the enclosure of the balconies, inviting the viewer to wonder into the space of the city. The relation between the private space of the balcony as enclosure and the public space of the city as trophy challenges the transitional nationalist narra- tive of the city and questions the successfulness of its modernist project.