Our first tour in Eleusis | the environment28.04.2022
On Saturday, October 2, 2021, we realised our first introductory tour within Transition to 8. Eleusis’s environment, the tour's theme, is the first of the three social axes that will generate public dialogue and artistic creation.
Residents of Eleusis, particularly interested in the subject, its history, and its current and future state, attended the tour. Panos Gkiokas, responsible for the conception of the project by MENTOR, Dora Skali, representing the team of the University of Athens and Akrivi Katifori, a socially engaged engineer from the “Athena” Research Centre, introduced the project. Our guest, Mr Christos Christakis, is a resident of Eleusis and responsible for Ecoeleusis, an activist initiative of Eleusinians oriented towards protecting the environment and ecologically upgrading the city and the Thriasian Plain. Ecoeleusis has been active for over a decade. It has been instrumental in preserving the environment in Eleusis and has gathered a vast amount of information that proved extremely valuable to our tour.
The attendees learned about the industrial history of Eleusis and the damage it has created to the atmosphere, sea and soil. Over the last centuries, many industries have been established in Eleusis. Each has left its mark in various ways, financially, architecturally, etc., and its footprint on the natural environment. For many of us, it was shocking to pass through the premises of Titan, whose chimneys have stopped smoking in recent years. The interruption of the flow of the city's coastal front gives the impression that the factory’s gate marks its end, but this is not the case. The coastal public road through the factory leads to Vlycha. For many of the attendees -even permanent residents of the city- passing through Titan was an unprecedented experience. The stateliness of the facilities has contributed to the eerie sense of abandonment that characterises the landscape inside the once vibrant, productive factory.
In the area of Vlycha, we headed towards the “ship cemetery”, where several decommissioned ships have been abandoned. It costs less than having them transported and dismantled. At that point, attendees took part in a pilot socio-drama session and, engaging in different roles, they discussed the environment. Given that everyone got acquainted with the method for the first time, the results were remarkable. Following this, the teams presented the wearable sensors and all the technological equipment used during the social drama sessions to record the bodily reactions of the participants. The gadgets sparked our curiosity about the experiential part of the research.
Among the abandoned shipwrecks, our walk along the coastal front of Eleusis came to its end. Everyone’s minds were overwhelmed by the danger of further sea contamination by another ship sinking. At the same time, the unconsciously aestheticised decay surrounding us intrigued our hearts.