Athenian Panopticon

How can Athens inspire Documenta to challenge our understanding of the global moment?

By Iason Athanasiadis

A poster in Copenhagen warns tourists against travelling to Greece under the authoritarian Papadopoulos regime, 1967. Photo: Myrhoj/Getty Images View of the Acropolis from Lykavittos Hill, 2006. Licensed under Creative Commons: Rob & Lisa Meehan

Somewhere in the narrow-laned former gangland district of Psirri – its seediness long since raked over into a vibrant, still-scruffy entertainment district – a piece of graffiti proclaims Athens to be the new Berlin. It is a leering aside at the hope-turned-cliché heralding the city’s recovery that has reverberated through the Greek capital’s depressed downtown for years. The upturn is just around the corner, politicians tell the media who pass on the message to the hopeful masses. Any moment now,…

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