STORIES BUILDINGS TELL. ZOE HATZIYANNAKI
by Lina Manousogiannaki



© Zoe Hatziyannaki, Former ministry of education from the series 'Secrets and Crirses' 

Zoe Hatziyannaki started off with a BA in visual communication in Kent, she pursued her studies with an MA on Photography and Urban Culture to finally complete her studying cycle with a PhD on Visual Culture.

My work focuses on space and its relation with time seeking to suggest that space is not static but a shifting reality transformed along with society and our ever changing perceptions. Based mainly on Deleuze’s theories, I am investigating the multiple dynamic connections between diverse notions which construct and deconstruct space such as the near and the far, nature and culture, private and public, the outside and the inside. My effort is to realize space as an incessant flow of production of relations and thus abandon restraints of fixed categorisations and exclusions. [Zoe Hatziyannaki]

The work we are presenting here is a product of her research on urban culture and architecture. The series SECRETS & CRISES has been exhibited in Athens, The Netherlands and elsewhere, as well as, part of the Depression Era collective of which Zoe is a member.

- What did you see in that park?
- Nothing. (Blow Up, Michelangelo Antonioni 1966)

[...]What can though one really see in the photographs of these buildings? The impenetrable details of the public buildings do not just remain in the obvious comment of a hopeless demand for transparency but invite us to think more deeply of our own personal need to look behind the facades of the institutions. Just like Antonioni uses the ‘shadow chasing’ park photograph to comment, among others, on the superficiality of the swinging London in the 60’s, so does the escaping detail in Hatziyannaki’s series: through the failure to illuminate the ‘dark side’ of the buildings comments on the general psychology of crisis in Athens today, as well as, on the weakness to comprehend the globalised language of the recession which was enforced rapidly by the media in order to justify the degradation of everyday life with confusing financial terms. Referring to conceptual photo-essays which form new narratives by focusing on details of existing images, as much as in paparazzi photos in the tabloids and the close-ups of detective movies, these details question the notorious relation between photography and truth by drawing our attention to the continuous re-conceptualization of the image within each changing socio-political framework.”; writes Despina Zefkili in the introduction of the series on the catalogue published by Cube Art Editions (Secrets and Crises, Cube Art Editions, 2013).

So writes Despina Zefkili in the introduction of the series on the catalogue published by Cube Art Editions ('Secrets and Crises', Cube Art Editions, 2013).


© Zoe Hatziyannaki, Ministry of Finance from the series 'Secrets and Crirses' 

Zoe does a lot of research for her projects. As she tells me during our Skype conversation, there isn’t really a process she would strictly follow while working on a project. An idea, an emotion, a quote from a movie, a book, anything can actually be the sparkle that fires up each project. Research and action intertwine and the project evolves during a long procedure. Her main concern is to manage demonstrating her personal feelings through the prism of the social factor; how she, as an individual, is touched, influenced within society. As an artist she is really concerned in returning her anxieties, hopes, dreams to society; she maintains, thus, a way of communication with the world around her. As she mentions in our conversation: «my work spins around the idea of psychogeography, it is often a psychological map of the urban landscape in which I live and interact».


© Zoe Hatziyannaki from the series 'Brighter days'. «This series is a walk through parks, monuments and archaeological sites of the center of Athens. Some of the images share a wider view and some focus on random tiny details noticed around those places. Using photography as a means of psychogeography [...]» 

Zoe sees the city through the architectural aspect which she considers as a constantly evolving element. The place is not immobile, everything changes and memories and feelings connected to the city’s architecture change and adapt to our personal humours and thoughts. She believes that we can never have the same feelings as we did before while walking in front of the parliament or in front of any building-symbol of a democracy which is degraded, corrupted and has lead the country to a total disaster on an economical but also on a social level.


© Zoe Hatziyannaki, Former Social Security Institute from the series 'Secrets and Crirses' 

Zoe is not a technical freak! What is important to her is the idea; the technical aspect is there to serve her purposes so she prefers digital photography and edits the images with her computer to finally obtain the results she prefers.

Her latest project is called 'After the End'. It is a series that questions our interpretation of the image. The artist asks us what we see in the image and she observes how the reactions of the spectator can vary according to current social happenings. Through this project, Zoe tries to understand what it is we see, how we interpret the images we have before us and to what extent the reading of the image is pure or highly influenced by our own personal feelings, thoughts, memories, ideas, as well as events of social happening, such as the immigration drama happening for the moment in Greece. Her aim is to understand how our modern society can learn to interpret the image and how we can actually express ourselves through them. The next step for this project would be a photo book.


© Zoe Hatziyannaki from the series 'After the End'

Some of her favourite readings are What is Philosophy? By G.Deleuze & Guattari, The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre and A user’s guide to Capitalism & Schizophrenia by Brian Massumi. Artists who have influenced her in some ways are Taryn Simon, Andreas Gursky, Berndt & Hilla Becher and many more... Finally, Burden of Proof in The Photographers’ Gallery in London is a show that she recently very much enjoyed.

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LINKS
Zoe Hatziyannaki 
PhD 
Greece 


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Proofreading by Laura Lee Bral