Hotel Balkan
Site-Specific Installation;  Chora;  Hotels;

For her participation in the first Haifa Mediterranean Biennale of Contemporary Art, Papadimitriou used one of the large shipping containers made available to her to create a sparsely furnished hotel consisting of a reception and resting area. Recordings of old Balkan radio broadcasts could be heard throughout while a tapestry portrait of Marshall Tito hung at the head of the bed and small bronze political figurine busts decorated the inclined vanity mirror counter. On the bed, the visitor could find copies of the commissioned novel by Vassilis Constantinos in poster form. The story tells of the Balkan presence in Haifa when small business owners and dockworkers went in search of new opportunities during the turn of the last century.

The unused steel container presented Papadimitriou with an empty vessel of sorts, which she chose to fill up with chapters of absent histories and experiences where the stories, although hinted at through fiction, objects and sounds, remained untold. In this manner, Hotel Balkan is not a monument to a lost history of birthplaces, but rather operates as a diachronic creative capsule, revitalized through the visitor’s reflection and contemplation of an otherwise small contingent of historical knowledge about the Port of Haifa.

Maria Halkias

Excerpt from a previously unpublished text, 2011