"Democratic Landscape"

 

Caro Ray

London College of Communication

 

‘Marathon was not the end but only a prelude to a far greater struggle’

Plutarch Life of Themistocles 75 A.C.E

 

This work is an observation of the legacy of democracy in Greece, as represented by my journey along the original marathon route which runs from Marathon to Athens during the most recent general elections. I observed the juxtaposition of the landscapeI was walking in with the polling booths which became central characters to illustrate a country in crisis.

During September 2015 the third general elections of the year were taking place using classrooms as the backdrops to an integral moment in not only Greek democracy but the continuation of the chaining shape of Europe.  Each polling booth was photographed along the 42.2km (26.2miles) of this busy dual carriageway; each photograph demonstrates a unique setting for the physicality of the polling booths perhaps acting as the road blocks to the betterment of the population. 

At Greece’s heart lies an ancient history with myths, legends and conflicts which are still very present in a country now full of contradictions, austerity and an ever changing relationship with democracy.

The ancient legend of Pheidippides, the greek runner who ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persian army and on arrival collapsed from exhaustion, gave birth to the idea of the modern marathon run. The parallel of my own arduous journey walking this inhospitable main commuter road full of intermittent pavements, road kill, wild dogs and desolate landscape, reflects the struggle and anxious mood which the country has been experiencing for many years.

Ancient and modern routes within Europe and the world link political and economical circumstances and these act as the underpinning of my documentary practice. This concept of creating a narrative of the layers of histories is at the centre of our relationship to the habitat that surrounds us. This organic environment is constantly changing and reflects the human impact from current political and economical events that reflect through the landscape.

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