Victoria came to stay with us for all of August. She was very inspired to contribute to the Lakkos outdoor gallery. She produced so many works that she was able to host a full tour of just her pieces.
More instalation photos. www.victoriadeblassie.com/site-specific/lakkos/
This has been my writing perch for the last month and then some spare days at the writers/artists residency in Crete in Irakleio at which we've had the amazing opportunity to stay, windows forever open, wind forever zephyring, sky forever azure, dogs forever barking, stray cats forever darting across the roof, a distant movement of foliage and verdancy, the sound of raki glasses clinking against raki glasses as raki bottles mysteriously empty themselves in the eager hands of its drinkers, an undulating seasmell airwave carried in and here forevering foreverly, everything sessile and flowing in the background except everything is, or should be, foreground and background is only a concept with which we could probably disband, while floating listlessly in the Aegean and studying the horizon religiously. From here in Lakkos, in Crete, amongst the Cretans, amongst the Lakkosians as I’ve come to calling them, I’ve been able to hear Lakkos on a day in day out level, its neighbors, its people, its traffic, its communication, its love, its warmth, its earthliness, its regularities, its totality of cacophony and melody competing for primacy amongst the dogs and the cats on a daily, nightly, hourly basis. I’m going to of course miss this writing post extremely, but more than that, I'm going to miss Lakkos and the particular skies above it. It’s a neighborhood, a neighborhood almost tucked inside of a neighborhood tucked inside of a city that feels like a large neighborhood on an island that feels like a country and behaves like a nation, nesting and hiding amongst each other and all its selves, and the stratified layers of time, history, trauma, alteration, subjugation, domination, political upheaval can all be felt and seen and experienced simply by sitting here, or on this roof, or walking through the narrow streets and putting your palm on an established pontific piece of stone, which could be Greek, could be Cretan, could be Ottoman, could be any number of things, all which soldiers have walked past, past which drug dealers have once walked, past which prostitutes have once walked, past which children have once walked, past which musicians have once walked and played in front of, and yet all we know is that these walls now are here, they were there and now they're here, being what it is and we shouldn’t ask any more of it, but to drag my palm along this stone of god-knows how many years and then inhale that perfume of aging and year and pumice is to ingest and intake the neighborhood as it is, as a compendium and a celebration of heterdoxity and heterogeneity, protean spirits abound and flexble demonstrations of identity, and a city that seems to understand the fluidity and the liquidity and the gaseousness of identity and the performance thereof. Here, where I’ve been writing at this residency a novel that attempts to collate and bring together the past 150-200 years of Cretan history beginning with the 1866 Cretan Revolt against the Ottoman empire leading up to the nearly five-year-long Cretan Civilian Resistance against the first ever paratrooper parade of Nazi Germany's wehrmacht hoping to claim Crete as a military operational base for empire expansion into North Africa and East Europe where Germany faced for the first time a civilian resistance for which they were unprepared and gave them significant trouble and losses and which could possibly be said to have slowed their horrid plow through Europe on their way to the Soviet Union just enough to allow the Allied forces to catch up wherein paratroopers caught in the torrid confusion of their parachute were, in one specific case, beaten to death by an elderly Cretan villager with the very wooden crane he used to walk while others used whatever they could and whatever they had to protect their home who couldn't stand to see their island invaded while whole Cretan villages thereafter as punishment for their resilience were razed and torched in retaliation and slaughtered mercilessly until all that was left were toddlers and a few women to carry on the memory of horror, and all the way up to an absurd version of today wherein Crete, and Greece to a larger extent to the whole panhellenic project, exist almost in a kind of feudal serfdom to Germany and the EU’s US-backed globalization project which seemingly can only be described as attempting to usurp and expropriate and colonize, beginning with Greece and Crete as the most metaphorical and figurative expression of the Union’s power, all of Southern Europe, and their first goal is to turn these countries into a warehouse of souls composed of those who've migrated and searched for a better country, home, land, place, life and those who want to escape in search of a better country, home, land, place, life, demeaning, this form of government, all of the life that is naturally there, thriving. Lakkos, in all its gorgeous rawness, feels, amidst this, like a stronghold of sorts, a bastion and a barricade against that kind of onslaught and martial front. Being here, during this period, and seeing and being in and experiencing this neighborhood and its tremendous beauty and vivacity, has been nothing short of profound, exhilarating, and galvanizing, and I will carry it in my blood always. We have one more day here, but when we leave, I’ll already be thinking of our next trip back to this place of such wild and ferocious beauty, untamable and protean variability. There is no place on earth like Crete; driving along its roads and seeing its hills and feeling its curls and bends makes you cry, or at least makes me cry. It is an utterly special place worthy of protecting and letting it become the place it wants to be. . Σας ευχαριστώ, Κρήτη. Σας ευχαριστούμε, Ηράκλειο.