19th November 2021 – 23rd January 2022
daily 17:00 – 23:00
A perpetual impasse preserving a concrete archetype.
cross section archive is pleased to welcome you to the exhibition The Antimonument and the launch of the new publication Document, introducing the annual theme for 2021-22.
The exhibition is presenting the installation ‘Application For A Monument’ by Maria Lalou & Skafte Aymo-Boot along with the text ‘Obsolescent Progress’ by Brooke Holmes. The artwork unfolds the case of the most iconic concrete skeleton in the Attica region in the form of Lalou & Aymo-Boot’s defence for its preservation in its current state as the archetype skeleton of the polykatoikia apartment building typology. The installation is structured around documentation material submitted as part of the official application to the Hellenic Department for Preservation of Cultural Heritage, responding to specific paragraphs of law N.3028-2002, arguing for the importance of the specific concrete skeleton and requesting its status as a listed monument. A central element of the argumentation is a comprehensive building survey, accurately recording the concrete structure in detail, using the contemporary archaeological registration methods of Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Digital Photogrammetry.
Brooke Holmes’ text, ’Obsolescent Progress’, aligns facts, chronicles and the implications of the current along with the perspective of a Post-Classisists' argument on the preserved, responding to the theme of The Antimonument as the invited resident of cross section archive 2021-22.
Holmes’ text is featured in the first issue of Document, the annual publication by cross section archive, which will be launched during the opening of the exhibition.
With the metropolis of Athens as its immediate context, the exhibition The Antimonument negotiates the role of the monument as a carrier of significance and challenges the invisible structures that have shaped the city and inconspicuously define its everydayness. The research uses as an object of study the unfinished skeleton of a modern cultural phenomenon that continues to shape Greek modern life to an exceptional degree: the polykatoikia apartment building. The simple concrete structure of the polykatoikia, which can be built rapidly and cheaply, with the possibility to finish it in any desired style or fashion, has been essential for the explosive urbanization of Attica in the 20th century and embodies an endemic Greek low-tech variant of modernism. Accordingly, the unfinished concrete skeletons found everywhere in the Athenian cityscape can be understood as representations of the aspirations and values of a nation passing into modernity. In their emptiness, we see a reflection of otherwise concealed currents and structures that define the physical image of the city and the relations of its inhabitants in private life as well as in public space.
Traditionally, the architectural survey of archaeological built objects is a fundamental step in the process of defining the object in question as a monument. The registration of the object captures an essence that until that moment was undefined, shapeless, or without substance. Once registered, it becomes something.
This basic act becomes the starting point of the research. Through the study of one specific unfinished polykatoikia skeleton, the investigation aims to produce a both conceptual and tangible definition of the antimonument.
In the same way that specific regulations and rules are defining which structures are of such cultural historical value that they can be listed as monuments, other regulations and rules are often the reason for the unfinished state of the Athenian concrete structures. Adjustments and changes to laws relevant to the building during years of being left on pause, as well as family feuds and unfulfilled private ambitions, create a perpetual impasse making it impossible to finish the construction, practically forever conserving the concrete state of the building.
This creates the condition of the anti-monument: an open concrete structure without any evident cultural historical value, preserved by law in the condition of an unusable space in the city. At the same time, the typical unfinished building shares many features with the ancient Athenian ruins: a simple structure with a clear monumental quality, mutely being evidence of an undisclosed history. This specific history makes it part of the communal history of the city.
‘Application For A Monument’ by Maria Lalou & Skafte Aymo-Boot.
wooden structure, video essay on mounted monitor, orthophotos on Hahnemühle photo matt fibre, projected video loop of digital 3D model, prints on A4 paper.
Digital architectural survey executed by architect Effimia Lianou and professor in Architectural Morphology and Preservation Studies at DUTH-GR Nikolaos Lianos.
‘Obsolescent Progress’ text by Brooke Holmes.
Document is designed and printed by Friends Make Books.
The exhibition will be on view daily 18.00 - 23.00 from the public space of the crossing between Mavromichali and Isavron streets, 19th November 2021 - 23rd January 2022.
Document issue I can be picked up by appointment at cross section archive (write to firstname.lastname@example.org) or ordered here