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Impossible is nothing (unless otherwise stated): Balancing between memory and art in Parko Eleftherias and the Polytechneio

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This article explores Parko Eleftherias (‘Liberty Park’) and Athens Polytechnic (Polytechneio), two historical places linked with the period of the Greek military Junta (1967‐74), and their position in the urban life of contemporary Athens. Focus is placed on the limits of artistic expression tolerated in those two historical places, examining different attitudes towards them. We discuss the so-called public programmes organized in the framework of documenta 14 (d14) in Parko Eleftherias, aiming to an extent to bring the dark heritage of the EAT-ESA (Eidiko Anakritiko Tmima ‐ Elliniki Stratiotiki Astynomia = Special Interrogation Centre ‐ Greek Military Police) into light. In the second part, we contrast that case, where all performances were conducted freely and under legal permission, with the 2015 Polytechneio graffiti incident, when artists covered overnight the southwestern fa├žade of the neoclassical building with a gigantic oeuvre of street art that was removed by the authorities, given the illegal nature of the action. This contrast reveals the dynamic relationship between art narratives and attitudes towards monuments, which have followed different pathways of development after the Junta regime ended.
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Keywords: Athens; difficult heritage; documenta 14; gentrification; memory; street art

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Greek Media & Culture is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that aims to provide a platform for debate and exploration of a wide range of manifestations of media and culture in and about Greece. The journal adopts a broad and inclusive approach to media and culture with reference to film, photography, literature, the visual arts, music, theatre, performance, as well as all forms of electronic media and expressions of popular culture. While providing a forum for the close analysis of cultural formations specific to Greece, JGMC aims to engage with broader methodological and theoretical debates, and situate the Greek case in global, diasporic and transnational contexts.
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