Lavrion: 5.000 years of digging the earth

Map of Greece The town of Lavrion is situated on the tip of the Attiki Peninsula, 55 km from Athens. The area is known for its industry and mining operations from ancient times and has always played a key role in the technological, economic and political development of Greece.
During a series of meetings and interviews that we videotaped, the elder inhabitants of the area of Lavrion reconstructed an image of the past of their town and shared their memories with us.
Although our first intention was to concentrate on narrations about the city and how it has changed, the buildings etc, during the interviews we realized that they also had very vivid memories and poignant stories, for instance from their childhood during the years of the German occupation, or their contact with the people that were exiled during the years of the dictatorship in Macronisos, an island of torture and misery situated just face to face with Lavrion, or the strikes and the syndicate movement that was very strong in the area.
So we ended up with a treasure of personal narrations on various subjects, far beyond what we have expected.

The interviewees As the news spread around quickly in this small community, everyone was curious about the stories that we were collecting and they were the eager to hear them too.
Since the local municipal radio station, LAVRION FM, is extremely popular in the area, we decided that the best way to communicate these narrations was through their radio. So, using the audio material of the interviews, we organized it in 6 subjects and we edited 6 half-hour programmes:

  • The daily life in Lavrion (customs, childhood memories)
  • The city (how Lavrion used to be, buildings that have changed or were torn down, the historical settlements of the workers)
  • Work (the factories, the mines, the strikes, the syndicate movement)
  • The rough years of the German occupation, the hunger.
  • Makronisos (the near-by island of exile and torture)
  • The musical tradition and the famous carnival balls in Lavrion.

These programmes where broadcasted daily, beginning on Wednesday, the 12th of July 2006.
They were so successful that they decided to repeat them the next month.

A 3-minute video of the interviews was shown in the 9th MEDITERRANEAN FILM FESTIVAL that took place in the LAVRION TECHNOLOGICAL CULTURAL CENTER (14-17/7/2006).

Technology parc Based on the interviews, an artistic installation/event will take place in the renovated old factory (15-16/9/2006)
Inspired by phrases, stories, descriptions the artist Thomas Müller decided to spread small “environments of reminiscences” all over the vast area of the old factory, using all sort of materials (wood, paper, old newspapers, pieces of old cloths and shoes etc), creating sculptures, paintings and artistic articles, two and three-dimensional.
Through loudspeakers hidden inside these “environments”, we will hear part of the relevant stories, phrases and whispers, choreographed in a way that the sound will have a continuous movement inside the room.
By the use of “black light” every half hour, for a few minutes, the objects will be “transformed” and will “disappear” to give way to another magical world of unseen white lines and paintings, that we do not notice in normal light, but in the darkness they create a new image of the space.

© 2006 The Art of Memory // Imprint // Login