Exhausted after a long day’s trek you walk into the Hotel Grande. Whether you are a part of the world’s traveling art community, a hippy, beatnik, Roma gypsy, an immigrant from one of the four corners of the world looking for a brighter future or just a good old tourist, the Hotel’s simple lobby welcomes you. It offers a bed to rest your weary limbs and “A New Atlas of the City” to guide you around your new temporary home, Larissa.
Maria Papadimitriou’s project “Middle Ground” focuses on finding exactly that: a space where all travelers’ wishes and desires can converge. She coordinates the actions of communities such as the Roma gypsies of the region or students from the University of Larissa. She channels their creativity towards a common cause. This cause may be the naming of the Hotel Grande by the gypsies themselves – a comical take on the simplicity and the minimal comforts offered by this establishment in the heart of Larissa – or the “New Atlas,” made up of thousands of photographs taken by students and compiled as a visual tour of the city to be leafed through in the hotel’s reception area; Papadimitriou liberates these communities, uniting their separate worlds and ways of seeing and combining to create new territories of meaning.
Excerpt from “Communities & Territories Common Ground,” in exh. cat. Going Public ’05: Communities and Territories, p. 41.