Final Project Statement
Inspired by a folk legend of my region I wanted to approach the concept of loss.
The Ghost of Harmena
Harmena is a neighborhood that’s located in the city of Amfissa in Central Greece. This neighborhood is known for its traditional tanneries and it is connected with the legend of “Stihio” (Stihio=Ghost).
In one of these tanneries Kostantis, a young boy, was working hard, but he didn’t care because this was also his passion. Kostantis was in love with Lenio, a young girl who was helping her father in the olive fields of the surrounding area. Once Kostantis left Harmena to visit the near villages and sell his leathers. Several weeks passed and on his way back he bought a ring for Lenio, using the money he got selling the leathers. When he got back he learned that Lenio was struck dead by a lightning at the Harmena’s spring. Inconsolable and devastated he took his own life in order to join Lenio in the world of the dead. But the local church rejected to give him the proper funeral so he was imprisoned in the world of the living, as an anthropomophic “Stihio”. He was wandering around the city passing through the same alleys and of course Lenio’s house, screaming and moaning. The “Stihio” was protecting the tanneries’ workers by misfortunes and other ghosts, but his scary appearance and his unstoppable screaming were frightening the locals, which where locking themselves in their houses listening his chains. After a lot of wheres the “Stihio” was silenced and everyone believed that he was forgiven by God.
Every year, the residents of Amfissa are gathered accommodate the “Stihio” from the Harmena’s spring to the center of the city. Dancing to the sounds of drums, with painted faces and dressed up as elves, wearing leathers, furs and horns.
Many of us are blind to the realities of actual loss until we are confront them head on. There are many forms loss can take, as there are many impressions it makes upon us. There is no standardized way to deal with everything we lose, but we still find ways to cope. And what remains are occasions where you can still “see” the face of loss. One of the occasions is between crowds and groups.
In the legend, the less of his loved one turns Kostantis to a ghost, literally and metaphorically. Trapped between two words staring at a homogeneous crowd with the only face that matters missing and the same crowd is staring at him a scary threat.
So I decided to create several clay “faces” that stand for the crowd, the people, with one of them missing and a mask for the Ghost. Placed on two opposing walls the composition creates a setting where the Ghost stares the crowd and back. The viewer gets both perspectives by facing each wall a time. I chose clay a medium of greatest importance for me, given its close relation with Greek tradition and the its earthly qualities. The design of the “faces” is quiet simplistic in order to create a neutral appearance. The mask’s design stays simple too, but the expression of it gives emphasis to the devastation of the Ghost.
Having a background of architectural studies, a big part of my current work has to do with how I
experience any given environment and its physical aspects. Here in Siena, I had the chance to
explore with new materials and mediums, my ideas on interacting with the generic aspects of an
environment (crowds, new city, etc.) or more specific aspects of it (my bed, etc.). This procedure
can be seen in my projects for the three I attended this semester: Art & Society, Painting and
Dimensions: 200cm x 100cm x 100cm
Metrials: matress foam, wire, spraypaint, cardboard, thread, fabrics
You see a pile of fabrics, with no articulate function. The only two things that stand out are a hole on the top of this pile and and a different fabric, that indicates the entrance. Once you enter, the geometry changes. When you crawl inside there is only one option: to lie on your back. From the opening you noticed before, the light comes in and highlights the smooth surface and the bold colors of the wall. You are lying on your back, in an isolated, modular space.
Luoghi di Fuga: Notebook Project:
Intro Unit Project: Multi-sensory Materiality
Intro Unit Project: Tempo Zulu
From the very first days I got here, while I was walking through Siena, I noticed the complete lack of green spaces inside Siena’s urban grid, except for three “green tongues” in the south of the city’s center. The largest green space, Orto dei Pecci, is also the one that comes closer to Piazza del Campo. So I decided to use the spot that Piazza del Mercato meets Orto dei Pecci for my Tempo Zulu Project suggestion. The thinking behind the demolition of a part of the parking lot’s brick fence and its replacement with glass bricks has a dual meaning.
In its final stage, the fence has a see-through part that allows the viewer to connect visually with the city’s largest green space inside the walls, and simultaneously become part of the Project in each position.
Intro Unit Project: Points of Entry
Porta Camollia is located in the Istrice district and is the point of entry for the pilgrims following the Via Francigena. As you pass through, you read <<Cor magis tibi sena pandit>> engraved on the marble arch. Siena shows a heart bigger than this gate. To highlight this Latin quotation, I used the Istrice contrada’s colors and the typical fishbone brick pattern of Piazza del Campo. This could be expanded to create a colorful pattern through Siena, using the colors of each contrada to pave the streets along the Via Francigena.
Alkiviadis Avarkiotis, Greece
Born in Athens, Greece, in 1995. My first experience with painting and drawing runs back in my childhood years in Itea, Fokida, Greece, and has developed ever since, through personal occupation and attending in architectural and freehand drawing courses.
The last four years I have studied architecture in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. During these years through the University, workshops and volunteer acts, I am closely interested in architectural synthesis, urban design, industrial object design, history of art and architecture and those two relate. I find the SNF-SART Scholarship Program an ideal opportunity to take a break from my architectural education and concentrate in old and new ways of artistic expression. At last, to live in Siena, a city of high cultural heritage, and interact with people from very different social backgrounds will provide me memorable experiences, which are gonna widen my perspective on art and architecture.