Walking, talking, smelling, touching, enojying the neighbourhood as a way of reconnecting it
Dourgouti, a former slum area needed some momentum. Shielded off by a wall constructed for the Olympic Games in 2004, and a hotel that literarily turned its back towards the neighbourhood. The artistic collective UrbanDig initiated the Dourgouti Island Hotel project to face this secondary position.
The project brought people attention to the hidden resources of the district, those that need to be dug under the first visible (and not always pleasant) layer. The aim was to make citizens active, aware of their closer urban landscape, full of sometimes undisclosed spaces, stories, smells, sounds, sights... A whole cultural richness to be discovered, valued and creatively used.
This grass-roots perspective was used for researching and mapping the district collective memories, assets, skills, interests and limits. The tours, walks and actions were part of a larger organized neighbourhood festival, including theatre, dance, exhibitions and music. Like that, the streets were finally shown as the scenery for the art performance of the daily routine. Probably the best way of exploring the space; the best way of realizing that a new urban geography could be imagined and built.
The city shouldn't be a hurdle race, but walls can be climbed anyway.