Friday, August 24, 2012

TROLLCASINO at the 13th Venice Biennial

TROLLCASINO is the joined story of two modernist buildings in Athens, that is part of MADE in ATHENS, curated by Panos Dragonas and Anna Skiada, the Greek Pavilion at the 13th Venice Biennial of Architecture.
the stories of the two are presented as installations, each a collage of plywood frames, containing prints and videos and objects and facts and a lot of fiction too

each story is a short film too, presented in fragments, inside small screens

Troll or the Voluntary Ruin is the story of a rare example of high quality modernism in a low income area of Athens
in the video, the building reaches a point where it can no longer tolerate it's surroundings. The typical Athenian polykatoikia (apartment building) was a cheap version of Corbusier's 5 points of architecture, all shifted and tweaked to provide the contractor and the owner maximum profit and floor area at minimum cost. 

Our heroine Chara (Joy) as the building was nicknamed, decides one day to become a mountain instead of a building

she collects energy from plants, cars, protests and people

and heads off for the countryside

the video is an opportunity to take a look at the current situation in Athens, a city that today seems the perfect performer of it's deep civic and financial crisis. Chara wants to leave all this behind.

Greediness on both the individual and government level has been perhaps the key factor in shaping the city of Athens. Political circumstance might come a close second. The project attempts a close look at the reality of the city through a fictional scenario that hints at possible architecture without actually proposing a built structure. 
Chara voluntarily becomes a ruin in order to position herself in a field of questions, leaving for the mountains to collect her thoughts about the city and its architectures.

On top of a mountain we find another modernist icon, the luxury resort and casino of Mont Parnes
the resort offers magnificent views of a city sinking in crisis, where the only thing ever advertised is online casinos

the resort had been built in the 1960s with Marshall Plan funding, 

the idea was that it would advertise the country as a successful proponent of all things U.S.A., a basic technique of the era's cold war politics 
modernist hi-tech architecture and strong, booming economy.
it did not turn out exactly like that. The resort was unlucky, a failed investment that seems to go bankrupt every 5 years.

it got endlessly renovated and rebranded as a casino, a school for tourism, a resort, a casino again
meanwhile casino capitalism was becoming the norm in financial markets
Could it be that the mountain was rejecting the luxury resort?
fact becomes fiction and one night the inevitable explosion takes place 

Bad luck continued, bankruptcies were followed by earthquakes and fires, structural problems and a major financial crisis.

Suddenly the modernist building has accidentally fulfilled it's original purpose, to represent the economy. Only it is a story of continuing failure, misjudged attempts at renovation and constant gambling.

the project attempts to look at the building for another perspective, that of the billboard building, the roadside duck that has no content apart from what its there to advertise. A mountain of questions about the nature of modernism, and what we might call post-modern,

an attempt to piece together an architecture that understands the complexity of casino capitalism, knows how to navigate the jungle of spreads, jump over the ravines of expired bonds and other market abstractions.

could there be such an architecture, 

and would it know how to survive on a mountain?

after the explosion the mountain calms down, and we find the fragments of the casino have become shelters

could a collage between a mountain shelter (a traditional Hütte ) and the modernist shards, provide some closure to the story? Buildings unplugged from the power grid, off the financial network, buildings that decides to leave everything behind.

Andreas Angelidakis 2010-2012

3D and Animation: Sotiris Vasiliou

additional work for TROLL: Dimitris Silaidos, Nana Stathi, Georgios Eftaxiopoulos, Eirini Anthouli.
addtional 3D for CASINO: Diamadis Tegelidis
photediting Alexandra Syriou

video editing AA
installation: Sotiris Vasiliou, Alexandra Syriou, AA

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