Lectures 2005
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"The “Self-critic” of the street"

The street is the public space’s most functional part. The net of streets houses transportation and goods’ transfer, while, at the same time, it remains in the collective conscience as the main place of communication and exchange, where collective activities are developed, and as a receptive space of social conflicts. Under this frame, the code of the street cannot be defined as a clear correspondence between indications and actions, as for a communicative code, but as a system that forms indications, proposing some actions through its structure. These indications do not appear as explicit instructions of actions, but they constitute reading instructions attempting to impose an order in space. The use and symbolic value of space create a field that often accepts regulations through definition strategies of its character that is demonstrated through the code. Into this frame of the code appears through also the strategy of rationalizing everyday movement and commercial activity, targeting the transformation of the city into a disciplined and functional machine.

However, the urban street convention, as it was formed by the lack of planning and historical and social conditions in Athens, coincides the suffocating cohabitation, under the dominance of an hybrid version of the metropolis, that one of the “mega-village” that consists… Whether we like it or not, that convention, as it is described, constitutes a self-recantation field of the street, from which dash every kind of tactics. Consequently, the street, as a formed new code, has already created by itself the mechanism of its subversion. “Urban life-or everyday tactic- favours the reappearance of an element that intervention had excluded”, when at the same time informal actions discover the possibilities of space in or out of the code’s limit that co acts it. In other words, space returns through everyday practices- imprinted on collective consciousness or unconsciousness- and triumphs through the extraordinary practices. Furthermore, the new evidences of the street not only fail defining each code, but also create new incidents of street’s habitation. Is it so that the new conditions that the Olympic Games reformations have created, give primes for a new activation of the “self-critic” of the street. If yes, the procedure has just began.