The self-managed community garden

Location: empty space on the Agion Asomaton Street -Psirri

A story about the multiple faces of violence and war in the city center.

“We walk in darkness, guided by the light of the utopian star of our projections and driven by the rage of our “No” towards this present inhumanity”

John Holloway

Ο αυτοδιαχειριζόμενος κοινοτικός κήπος. 29/03/2012 Τοποθεσία: κενός χώρος στην οδό Αγίων Ασωμάτων-Ψυρρή.

The search for an empty space in the city center to create a self-managed Community Garden was an idea that had begun long ago, with the impact of community gardens that have existed for years in other cities, and after the trip and participation of Nomadic Architecture in an action in jardino Parajiso in Manhattan, at Lower East Side.

Navarino Street Park had a significant influence as well as other struggles for public space in Athens, such as the try of the activists to claim Filopappou hill to remain free, for the Elliniko, for the Cyprus and Patision Park, and for the park in villa Drakopoulou etc.

Communal self-managed gardens in the historic city center are a bet, an important claim and a symbolic gesture of cohabitation of diversities in an area with​​omnipresence of the police and its residents who were, at that time, homeless people, immigrants hiding to avoid their closure in camps, HIV-infected prostitutes that were jailed, immigrants with carts living by the things they collect and sell from the garbage. The homeless, the young unemployed, the craftsmen who are worried about the very next day are many of the center’s residents.
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A small mound of soil

Location: empty plot at Sophocleous and Ampelokipon Street

A small mountain of soil. Spades on its top. Moving bodies, empty it slowly. They transfer it. A team that digs. A Hecatonchires excavator. The music embraces me, transfers me. Atzarouli, teslouri, kartouzi, svanouri. The association of Georgians in Thessaloniki ‘Georgia’ cooks khinkali for the Nomadic Architecture Network. We make a garden in Stavropouli. Architects, artists, agronomists, technicians and workers of the Municipality, residents of the neighborhood. We plant sage, sour orange trees and magnolias, benches and tables were assembled by findings of Pavlos Melas military camp warehouse: Stock of old playgrounds, tires from military vehicles, rollers, planks and boards. Next to us the kids of the football Academy of Hesperus Terpsitheas were training. Four to eight years old kids and dedicated.

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Madre Terra – Migrant Trees

“Madre Terra- Migrant Trees” is a collaborative project by the Nomadic Architecture Network (Eleni Tzirtzilaki Stefanos Handelis), Georgia Traganou, Lydia Matthews, Natalia Roumelioti and Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani in cooperation with Parson’s, the New School for Design University. It comes as a sequel to “Open House”, an event presented under the umbrella of  “Unbuilt”, the thematic series organized by SARCHA and hosted at the Byzantine Museum in Athens, Greece.

Scheduled to take place on June 22nd, the current project consists in the symbolic gesture of planting a tree and seeds in El Jardín del Paraíso, a community garden situated at the Lower East Side of New York city. We will of course make a toast for the occasion and offer food seasoned with herbs we cherish as a living memory of the places they/we come from: Eleni and Stefanos will bring along herbs not only from Greece but also from other places where they have lived, including Italy, Cuba and Portugal.

We will chart the paths taken by people over time that led them to the place they call home, the Lower East Side and we will talk about their gardening practices, daily life, how the community garden came to be etc.

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