The second laboratory path ‘Urban Drift’, initially conceived by Casa da Imagem and the Portuguese group of youth workers, took place in Athens as piloting session, from the 12 th to 15 th of April. 24 participants with a common interest in urban planning, architecture, and mobility within the physical fabric of the city came together to experiment and exchange views from different disciplines.
The participants were advised to walk and observe four different routes around and across the neighbourhood of Exarcheia. Before proceeding with documenting their assigned routes, the facilitator of this laboratory path held an introductory briefing touching upon the historical and political aspects of the particular neighbourhood, the migration inflows, and the pressing matter of gentrification and privatisation of local public assets, as the Strefi Hill and Plateia Exarcheion (Exarcheia Main Square).
Initially, the participants were asked to use their smartphones and cameras to identify and document patterns, shapes and emerging motives in the area’s architecture and spatial qualities. As a follow up step, they were asked to actively listen to the city’s noises; then, through a group activity they were asked to guess which audio recording came from which
route of the neighbourhood. Based on their assumptions, the participants suggested to conduct interviews with locals, residents and people working in the area to tap into the lived experience of the area and its mobility schemes.
Following up their recording and short video clips, the participants were asked to collectively draw and experiment in a multisensory approach. Their collages and sketches were brought together to create a map out of the areas they identified as the focal points of their routes. Given the rich material that they had gathered from their walks and interviews, the participants decided to make a short documentary (2’) to complement their sound and image collages (photos available).
The most challenging part of the path was to get the participants interested and engaged with using the apps. Possibly because there was a skilled facilitator guiding, the participants expressed on several occasions their preference of working in groups in the form of physical activities. In the focus group conducted at the very end of the third day, the participants argued that the training could have been longer as they felt that they had only scratched the surface of the neighbourhood’s social and geographical qualities. Their collages, sketches, notes and short film were conceded to Inter Alia and Kipaki Tsamadou (where the third day was held) as a gift to the locals supporting them and guiding them for the past two days.