Voices from the peripheries

Voices from the peripheries
A former carpenter in the restoration of rural Epirus. He shared stories, offering insights into the challenges faced by rural communities highliting the cultural significance of these topologies..
Documenting post-rural and depopulated areas, the communities, economies and daily practices

Eleni Charcharidou
Thessaloniki, Greece
I am a woman whose work merges spatial practices with visual mediums like photography and moving images, using my body to narrate stories.
Field of work
Architecture, Ecology, Visual Art, Film, Photography
Project category
Rural spaces
Project submitted

I am a young woman from Greece, shaped by the challenges of growing up during a period of crisis. This background has influenced my work, which centers on exploring the social aspects of our surroundings. With a foundation in architecture, I employ audiovisual mediums to observe and interpret the spaces around us.

My interests extend to ecologies and sustainability, and I engage in practices such as natural building. I am particularly intrigued by the intersection of community organization with economic, political, and technological realms.

Having experienced firsthand the consequences of individuals becoming disconnected from their environments, I understand the resulting impact on social, cultural, economic, and political engagement. In response, my work as an architect focuses on documenting post-rural or depopulated areas. I see these spaces as potential sites for localized practices of dwelling.

Through mediums like photography, video and field-recording, I capture the essence of these environments while collecting oral micro-histories from those who inhabit or have migrated to these areas. My aim is to highlight the complexity of these places and the stories they hold.

I have conducted research on the film-diaries of Jonas Mekas to delve into the intricate reality of displacement and familiarity through the moving image. My interest in collective memory led me to work as a field researcher for istorima, a narrative-driven initiative based in Greece focused on collecting oral stories. Through this experience, I collaborated with craftsmen and local communities to gain insights into natural building techniques, permaculture, and micro-farm initiatives. I have volunteerd in initiatives to repair abandoned areas in various locations in rural Greece. In the begining of 2023 I spent a week in Tirana, together with Lina community, CAF and Barleti making a film-diary of my journey to detect the current transformation of the city's urban environment.

The environmental crisis has exacerbated the challenges faced by rural communities, leading to depopulation and neglect of these areas. As a spatial practitioner,I am intrigued by themes of community organization within economic, political, and technological realms. Witnessing firsthand the repercussions of individuals becoming disconnected from their surroundings, resulting in impairment to social, cultural, economic, and political engagement. The initiative seeks to document post-rural environments with the aim of revitalizing community engagement and fostering sustainable practices. Drawing on my background in architecture and my interest in spatial culture, I will utilize mediums such as photography and field-recording to capture the essence of these environments. Additionally, I will collect oral micro-histories from residents and migrants, providing insights into the lived experiences and cultural heritage of these areas. The success of this proposal lies in its ability to highlight the importance of reconnecting individuals with their surrounding environments. By documenting post-rural spaces and sharing the stories of those who inhabit them, we can raise awareness about the social, cultural, and environmental significance of these areas. Τhis initiative has the potential to inspire community-driven solutions and localized practices of dwelling that promote sustainability and resilience. Looking ahead, I envision evolving into a collaborative platform for interdisciplinary research, community engagement, and creative expression. By forging partnerships with local or international organizations, researchers, craftsmanship makers and artists, we can expand the scope of our work and amplify its impact. I aim to explore innovative approaches to storytelling and spatial intervention that empower communities to shape their own futures.