THE GREEK ARK

 

 

 

I highly recommend a visit to the official site for the Greek pavillon at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition (Bienalle di Venezia).
The theme of the Greek pavillon is the “Ark. Old seeds for new cultures”.

 

“The oldest meaning of the ancient greek word for the activity of building, ktisis, is “weeding, preparation of the soil for sowing, planting“, while the meanings of ‘foundation’ and ‘construction’ are subsequent. Sowing and Construction introduce at the outset a dual function for architecture as the activity of organizing both buildings in space and, also, of open, natural spaces. By means of the present project, we seek to reintroduce into contemporary architectural practices the spaces of culture in its double meaning, of agriculture and of civilization. “People meet within culture”.

The economic crisis under way in Greece and in Europe is simultaneously a crisis of production and of employment and, overall, a crisis of human performativity within metropolitan and, indeed, any man-made environments. Beyond the bounds of the metropolis, the agricultural sector is also undergoing a crisis after the collapse of mechanized monocultures and of the European subsidies. The crisis in agriculture affects the availability and quality of nutrition. At the same time, the harsh conditions of the economic crisis in the cities turn all heads to the countryside and to the land available, which thus assumes the value of vital resource with the potential of providing employment, quality of living, alternative structuring of production and of motivating networking, the forming of communities and the development of communal living practices.

The responsibility of architecture goes beyond the bounds of the constructed edifice. It is being defined anew as a set of practices for the planning and management of land spaces.”

Find out more about the project here.

 

 

Commissioners- Curators: Phoebe Giannisi, Zissis Kotionis.

Ark Design: Zissis Kotionis, Phoebe Giannisi
Ark Construction: Gavrilos Michalis
Collection of Biogenetic plant material: Orestis Davias, biologist
Layout of Exhibition of Agricultural Landscape: Kostas Manolidis, architect
Video & sound installation: Yannis Isidorou, visual artist
Information layout: Alexandros Psychoulis, visual artist
Installation Consultant: Maria Papadimitriou, visual artist, responsible for the actions/workshops in the city, and the performance of catering and cultivation action.

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TIME FOR STORING!

Don’t you just love the smell of first rain? It was raining all night and morning yesterday. Chania saw the first rain in four months! The scents of Rosemary, Sage, Lemon Verbena, Thyme, Mint and Lavender filled the air. Autumn has finally arrived.

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In the mean time, the sun dried tomatoes and figs are ready for storing. The old tradition and art of preserving foods is still alive. On the other hand, the last fresh okras of summer will not be hung in the half shade to dry; they will be prepared for freezing.

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They’ ll stay tender if you’ll follow this method: wash them after discarding stem edges and air dry before placing them in plastic bags in small quantities and freeze.

The seeds are well dried and are ready for storage until the next planting season.

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Old Cretan varieties of cucumbers, watermelons, melons, zucchinis, pumpkins, amaranths, beans…. a precious gift that I received from a local farmer. They are saved from plants that have grown in his family garden for four generations. Farmers like him don’t only preserve a heritage, they also preserve genetic biodiversity.

Fish with okra
(Cretan Cooking by M. & N. Psilakis, p. 72-3, Karmanor ed. 2000)

 

1 kilo fish (preferably sea-bass, red snapper or saupe)

1 kilo okra

½ cup olive oil

½ kilo tomatoes

1 or 2 onions

½ cup lemon juice or vinegar

salt, pepper
Clean the fish. Wash the okra, cut off the stems, and put them in a bowl doused with lemon juice or vinegar. Leave in the sun for 2-3 hours (this is so they won’t dissolve in the cooking).

Brown the onion in a pot and add the okra, the tomatoes, salt, pepper and 1-2 cups water and simmer till half cooked. Remove half the okra, place the fish on the okra in the pot and add the other half. Cook for another 20 minutes without stirring the food; only shake the pot from time to time to prevent the food from sticking.

(This dish can also be cooked in the oven).

Okra and tomatoes are a classic match in Crete. They are stewed together or when okra is fried chopped tomato is added too. Combining okra with fish is a characteristic of Cretan cuisine.