Letters from Berlin 6: George Pavlopoulos


The oldest of them bear the style in which cities used to be built in the past. Their ornate decorations reflect the optimism for life in the big urban centres which were being completed at the time. Those designs ascribe a triumphant tone on the lamps standing above the streets: they are columns of light towering over people’s heads, anchoring themselves in the middle of the night like tall and lithe Atlases. Continue reading

Letters from Athens 2: George Pavlopoulos


It is the last island before landing in Athens: an uninhabited rock in the Argosaronic Gulf which according to myth was marked by a story of cannibalism. Six hundred years ago a dozen bandits asked a boatman to take them across to Fleves island. They had been looking for shelter to save themselves and they believed that on this island they would be able to lead a free life. Upon arriving, however, they realised that they would have to live in nature –in reality against it- and that wild vegetation was the only food available. No one knows how long they lasted. Nevertheless, due to the conditions prevailing on the island, they started dying one by one. Those that survived would eat their dead companions. In the end, myth has it, only their leader survived. Continue reading

Letters from Berlin 5: George Pavlopoulos


Kollhoff Tower rises like a monolithic statue surveying reality. The most famous law offices of the city are housed there. It is a matter of prestige for these careerists to be based in the Tower. This granite and glass edifice has contributed towards the renaissance –or the renewal- of Potsdamer square. Continue reading

Letters from Athens 1: George Pavlopoulos

Letter from Athens 1

They spend less time on their verandas. Only the kitchens are somewhat lit in the white apartment blocks. They sit around the table sharing a plate of food; a lamp above their heads, some cutlery, house wine and some food; a voice here and there like verbal fireworks into the Athenian night. There is no sunset anymore, only the twilight, that time of day that carries despair with it. Continue reading

Letters from Berlin 4: George Pavlopoulos

Miniatures photo

Train miniatures indirectly narrate an aspect of history. They are small reproductions of material civilization exalting an important parameter of the world. In their compressed dimensions they try to intimate the history of movement of people, despite lacking the awe-inspiring power of real dimensions. Continue reading

Letters from Berlin 3: George Pavlopoulos


She is reading a book I cannot make out. I am watching her from the window as she slowly walks by, stopping every now and then to turn a page of her book. She is in her sixties, wears a stripy shirt and on her head rests a hastily placed beret. As I am watching her, I am listening to the exit polls final countdown in the room and know that in Greece everyone is waiting in front of their TVs. She continues to read. Continue reading

Letters from Berlin 2: George Pavlopoulos


It is the shortest metro line in the world according to newspapers. Principally known as the “Chancellor Line”, U55 has been from the start a victim of its own vanity, aiming to mark out the borders of the newly established government complex following the reunification of Germany. It would supposedly provide fast transport for politicians, even though all of them continue to use limousines. It took almost fifteen years and millions of euros to build the line that serves no one, except for a few tourists who use the U55 to verify what they already know from the TV and the Internet. Continue reading

Letters from New York 2: Soti Triantafillou

Slow Train by Soti Triantafillou

I went south on a slow train that ran through Trenton, New Jersey. Back in the nineteen eighties, I used to stand on the turnpike hitchhiking westwards. It’s a desolate landscape now, full of boarded up factories, abandoned warehouses and rusting machinery. The rivers are green and slimy – I remember that old song about a green river and barefoot girls dancing in the moonlight. A Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

They were different times with different rivers. Continue reading

Letters from Athens 1: Nikos Dimou

Nikos Dimou Munich 2004

It started with admiration and adulation. Eighteenth century Germans – with Winckelmann in the forefront – re-discovered ancient Greece. They visualized Hellas as the epitome of perfection in art, philosophy, and ethics. Their idealized model influenced all of Europe in the beginning of the romantic nineteenth century and was the reason why public opinion backed the Greeks in their war of independence against the Turks (1821-1829) and induced the great powers to help the liberation of Greece. Continue reading

Letters from New York 1: Soti Triantafillou

Alphabet City Photo Soti Triantafillou

The February sun is setting in red and in orange. I’ve already got sick three times and recovered four. The city is blinking and the gardens look electric. Halcyon days went on until Mardi Gras; they are still going on. Early in the morning I’m standing at the bus stop on Avenue D, in front of the grim Edison Plant – chilly winds are blowing from the river. I’m back in Alphabet City, back after almost thirty years. I used to walk through gauntlets, the neighborhood was a shooting alley. Never was I afraid – cities are like dogs, when you’re frightened they attack you. Continue reading