Photographs as Agents of History
Photographs as Agents of History emanated from a public lecture hosted by The Cultural Centre of Verioa Municipality, Greece in October 2014. The research considers the agential nature of photographs in terms of social and cultural history and memory. In particular, the photographs published in the book are seen as spanning a crucial period in the history of modern Greece and specifically in the town of Verioa, which is just 90 miles from the Macedonian border.
The research draws on the degree to which the photographic archive held by the town’s cultural centre, has contributed historically to the town of Verioa, and discusses how photographs in archives become woven into the social and historical fabric of a town, city or nation, and have the capacity to generate leverage for ethnic consciences.
The research is inspired by the large number of photographs of bridges found in the archive which span the Tripotamos river which runs through the town, and discusses how the bridge can be considered a metaphor for the capacity for photographs to connect communities and cultures across time periods that are seen as both static and progressive. It uses Walter Benjamin’s interpretation of Klee’s image Angelus Novus (1920), which Benjamin interprets as The Angel of History. The passage is used as an access point to discuss the social and cultural deterratorialisation of the Ottoman Empire, covered in the archive.
The lecture was presented to the people and public dignitaries of the town of Verioa. It coincided with the 100-year commemoration of the start of World War 1. The lecture was translated to Geek, live at the event and selected for publication in issue 59 of Cultural Activities; A Periodical of Public Enterprise in January 2015 (ISSN 11065354).
Cultural Activities 59: three-month periodical of public enterprise in Verioa (2015)