How does a global financial crisis permeate the spaces of the everyday in a city? This documentary film traces the multiple transformations of crisis-ridden Athenian public space and those who traverse it.
In three parts, Future Suspended navigates its way through the past and the present of the crisis as it gets inscribed in Athens dwellers' minds, and as it plays out in their everyday lives. The first section, Privatised, explores the legacy of mass privatisation projects that preceded the 2004 Olympics, placing them in the context of present-day privatisation schemes.
Part two, Devalued, examines the ever-shrinking spaces of migrants in the city and the violent devaluation that comes as a result. The final third, Militarised, explains how, at the exact moment when the state recedes from its welfare functions, this devaluation of Athenian lives becomes a generalised condition.
Combining geography, anthropology, urban theory and research with visual research methods and digital design, the project has attempted to read the enormous (and often devastating) social and political change playing out before our eyes through the marks it leaves on spaces of the everyday.
The rise of racism and xenophobia and the establishment of unprecedented policing are viewed through supposedly prosaic urban sites: the Athenian metro, the city's old and new airports, its highways, squares and streets.
The period of 1990s and 2000s growth came together with a project of major economic and material adjustments. This process got the alluring labels of modernisation (exychronismos ) and growth/development (anaptyxi). Under these political slogans what occurred was a process of neoliberal restructuring. This process intensified in the late 1990s in the name of the European Monetary Union and European Integration.
Etymologically, the word memorandum shares the same root with memory. It stands for a note or record outlining what should be remembered. But as anthropologists of memory know well, stating what things one should remember simultaneously implies what things are not worth remembering. For example, the phrase “public expenses for health care should be cut, because we have to rationalise the system”, additionally (if mutedly) “states” that people will die because they will no longer afford the medical treatment necessary for their condition.