Light installations and urban planning

Even someone ignorant to the intricacies of the art scene -an observant one at least, like myself- can tell that there's been a real renaissance of the arts in Athens and Greece in these past few years. You can see it in the new Greek cinema, with its quirky films, but also in myriads of events / happenings / performances / installations popping up, for a few days or longer in all kinds of places.

A light installation, constructed by the "BeforeLight" group and promoted by the City of Athens, as part of a wider urban renewal project, was put in place in an abandoned, central Athens arcade this summer. Consisting of a series of old neon signs of shops no longer in business, the installation really makes for some urban eye candy and also has the necessary "Greek crisis" element that gives it bonus points for depth and sensitivity, I guess. They've done some more successful projects that this one no doubt.

8-10 Voulis St. The entrance of Stoa Emporon ("Merchants' Arcade")
 "Ariston", an historic snack-food place is located next to the arcade entrance, still operating in full swing!

The "BeforeLight" neon signs installation at Stoa Emporon / 8-10 Voulis St., Athens
The installation is certainly visually pleasing, and it even draws you to enter the now practically abandoned arcade, only meters from Athens central Syntagma Square. 

The "BeforeLight" neon signs installation at Stoa Emporon / 8-10 Voulis St., Athens
However, art alone can be no substitute for planning. The presence of many closed shops around, together with tagged walls, lack of cleanliness and a seemingly eternally "under-construction" building next door, make the area a bit of an eye-shore, despite the large numbers of passers-by during the day. The presence of a homeless man (?) / drug addict (?) at the inner steps of a building inside the arcade was enough to keep me at bay.

A homeless man ? / drug addict? inside Stoa Emporon / 8-10 Voulis St., Athens, Greece

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1 comment:

  1. Those signs are so blinding, in a good way of course. Wish you had a photo of them up in the dark, though. Their charm would be much more appreciated that way. Khere is something very haunting in that hallway of signs, but you have to admit that they were installed very strategically and beautifully. They really piqued my interest. Hope to see more of that on your blog. All the best to you! :)

    Roseline Ruark @ Crown Neon Signs


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