Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS:
Arriving in Greece by plane we fly over extensive, mountainous, sparsely populated areas. More frequently than expected, large reflective water surfaces meander across the rugged terrain. Some are natural lakes, but most are artificial water reservoirs. Traveling by car, the sudden calmness of their undulating surface or the eerie sound of an overflowing dam surprise us round a bend of the winding road.
For each artificial reservoir a considerable extent of land is submerged, along with its pastures, crops, roads, and bridges, sometimes houses, churches, even entire settlements. At the same time, a new ecosystem is launched, where nature, human activity and habitation are renetworked in new, often unexpected ways.
The hellenic territory has been geophysically shaped, since the 10th century at least, to a large extent by a series of catastrophic or creative anthropogenic interventions, such as extensive overgrazing and desertification, or the incredibly pervasive construction of stone walls that retain the scarce arable soil and rainwater. After the establishment of the modern Greek state, and with great intensity after 1950, large and medium-sized water reservoirs as well as drainage, irrigation, water supply and hydroelectric projects constitute a support system for agricultural production and all kinds of human activity. It is a fundamental transformation of the land where a new hydrological - geological map of the country is essentially invented, constructed, and operationalized. It is a process of national scope with an immeasurable spatial, environmental, and anthropological footprint over time, an emblematic confirmation of the Anthropocene era. The "Bodies of Water" address this evolving geological construct, a distillation of collective toil and concern for amelioration. They investigate and present the problematic presence of these bodies and their technical works as a laboratory of the future.
The terrain is apprehended as a construction of the historical present. The word χώρα, meaning country, is understood both in the sense of territory, and with its etymological origin from the verb χωρώ, to contain, that is, a place that contains the lives, actions, memories, and expectations of its inhabitants.