FOKIONOS NEGRI, ATHENS
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FOLLOWING THE ORAL HISTORY OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF KYPSELI, THE MAGAZINE FINDS ITSELF ENTANGLED IN A STORY-HEAVY MICROCOSM. FOKIONOS NEGRI, ONCE A RIVER, NOW A BROAD AND GREEN, TWO-SIDED BOULEVARD BECOMES A STAGE OF OVERLAPPING NARRATIVES WHERE STORIES ARE TOLD AND RE-TOLD. AS ON EVERY STAGE, THE DESIRE FOR THE STORY IS STRONGER THAN THE NEED TO SUBDUE IT TO RIGID LOGIC. THE MAGAZINE EMERSES ITSELF IN THESE FRAGMENTS UNTIL THEY BECOME OUR VERY OWN MEMORY.
The entire magazine is held together by three bodies of fragmented text called The Road Up and The Road Down. The collection of stories, poetry, overlapping narratives and numerous characters and voices sets out to be a mythological storyteller – just as a the street itself is. New York-based artist David Whelan took his artist residency on Fokionos Negri as an opportunity to unearth underground resistance in a series of narrative snapshots. Fokionos Negri-based artist Antonakis illustrated his obsessive search for the actor who played the leading role in the infamous 1960s film The Punk of Fokionos Negri. Eirini Vourloumis embarks on a photographic, double-exposed exploration of the street, initiated by a tasseography fortune told to her in the street’s Magic Cafe. With a strong literary focus, this issue presents an essay section that consists of four stories: a mythological tale of a boy stuck between two worlds; a Greek, a Bavarian and a broken elevator; a famed opera singer and her Kypseli sanctuary; a 33rd birthday at the centre of the world; a filmmaker’s search for a potential script. Photographer Zoe Hatziyannaki was triggered by Keats’s poem »Ode on a Grecian Urn« to undertake a photographic search for romantic purity. The artist Iris Touliatou mimicked an online medical forum to imagine the effects of olfactory hallucinations, with the street as a producer of phantom smells. The architect and curator Elina Axioti considered the vanished doormen that used to keep the mail and secrets of those living in Athens’ modern, multi-home structures, along with photographer Yiannis Hadjiaslanis. Traces of Resistance, a regular series by editor Fabian Saul, is a historical counterpoint to the very story-focused issue, drawing lines between different lives and stories connected through the street and resistance. Another ongoing series, the shop and home visits series presents souvlaki shop Rigani, cafe Foivos and the restaurant Phaedra, and the homes of former jetsetter Poly, artist Antonakis and consultant Mikali. For the reccurring series »Photographic Trips,« two children capture Fokionos Negri through their own eyes, each using a disposable camera.