Organised by : École française d’Athènes, Istituto Italiano di Culture, Centre André Chastel
Morning: École française d’Athènes, Didotou 6 | Afternoon: Istituto Italiano di cultura, Patission 47
While contemporary political debates regularly focus on questions of memory and the symbolism of place, the study of urban planning and architecture provides an opportunity to address a number of contemporary challenges: processes of identification, place attachment and territorial appropriation. Today, many places seem to be exemplary cases of a plurality of ways of looking at the past, sometimes in an agonistic mode when memorial practices give rise to or reactivate tensions that are still alive. In these arenas, urban planning and architecture can appear to be the “structural weapons” of political powers, enabling the staging of historical narratives and ideological discourses through the use of aesthetic languages. They are also processes of selection, which remove part of history from view and minimize the presence of certain groups, practices and identities. However, the observation of places, based on “adjustments”, but also on the different processes of patrimonialization initiated by local institutions, and by international structures or communities or populations, allows us to see the emergence of plural, minority and sometimes non-concordant, even dissonant practices, views and narratives, which are now making their way towards public expression. These observations lead us to formulate a series of questions about contemporary heritage processes: what are the consequences of this dissonant heritage? Is it simply a matter of bringing to light the traces of a long-obscured past? What is the future of these imprints, and how do they contribute to our understanding of history and current affairs? Can these once-invisibilized objects become “affordances” to the claims, contestations and celebrations arising from different communities? Can they engage new ways of “being together” that use or exclude them? Do they give rise to new spaces for innovation, connection, encounter or protest?
Drawing on examples from Greece, and comparing them with other Balkan cases, this workshop will explore the contemporary stakes for these heritages, which are considered disturbing in the Greek public sphere due to the multiple interpretations they elicit (dissonances), the disapproval they inspire (difficult) or the deliberate obscuring/forgetting they may have provoked (silenced). This session will involve a group of geographers, anthropologists, architects, artists and art historians interested in the ANR DodécaDiss project “Histoire et actualité du patrimoine architectural dissonant de l’époque coloniale fasciste dans le Dodécanèse”. Their presence in Athens will launch the work of the “Memories, Powers, Public Spaces in the Balkans” program, focusing on a crucial issue for contemporary public spaces: the expression of a growing plurality of views and discourses on the past in the space of cities.