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Diamond in a donut

M37

At the moment I am cogitating around the theme of value – what value do people place on objects, on places, concepts and relationships. This is a hugely broad theme, so elements I am thinking around at the moment are as follows:

The last two nights I have been hanging out with Tarold, the man with the telescope, as he taps in coordinates to his telescope and tries to glimpse galaxies and nebulas far, far away. We looked at a ringed nebula, where the star at the centre is in the last stages of evolution, and so is mainly compressed carbon, so perhaps a diamond. The ionised gas it has expelled into the surrounding area, is trapped in a ring, looking a little like a donut – so it became a diamond in a donut for me. For me, the privilege of being able to see stars at night – To see these nebulas, you need a powerful, expensive telescope – not everyone gets to gaze at galaxies 13 billion years old.

This description caught my ear, as did Angyllke referencing salt as white gold, which used to be very profitable for the area, but now is mainly used locally. When you see the salt factory from a road – three giant mounds of salt sit waiting, with the salt flats in front, flamingoes picking their way through the water.

A lump of Kalloni salt

I am planning to film in an old nightclub with Damianos in Skala, which closed in the 90s. This caught my ear, and perhaps can be linked as nighclubs bought in wealth to the region, but it is also a space where people went to display wealth – with bottles of alcohol, plates of flowers (and smashing of plates!). Ionian showed me videos of flowers being showered on singers, and the huge cost, as well as the champagne bottles being opened for the old man dancing at the fiesta – though not a sip will be drunk.

I filmed with Israa and Justine yesterday, at Olympia’s house, who proudly showed us her embroidery collection, layered with memories of family members, and her families history. The richness of connection there through their shared love of embroidery was powerful.

At the moment I am filming, capturing sound, writing and take photos. I can see elements of all these being included in the final project. For me it is important to talk to more people from the area, as so far my interactions have been mainly mediated through others.

The last 8 months, I have been trying to work out what connects all the work I do, what is it in the people/projects I collaborate on that I am responding to. I think this will help answer my questions about what I am being drawn to here in Lesvos, but for now I am couching my thoughts around value.

To do:

Research

History of salt production

History of nightclub

Concepts of value

Space

Melanie Smith – look at project

Continue conversations with the group

Learn more Greek!

Get some more sleep

Film with 

Friday – investigate / film at old night club with Damianos.

Ero also mentioned an old nightclub in Mytilene which has old posters of singers who performed there still in it.

Saturday – film at salt factory – not sure what this will involve as the factory will not be in production at the time, and I had imagined lots of machinery moving. But there are three giant mounds of salt which caught my eye.

– I need to work out how to get there, and ask a Greek speaker to phone the contact there and see if he speaks English, and what time to get there.

Sardine festival on Saturday – sardine’s are valuable for the area 

Most evenings – hang out with star man Tarold, and understand more about astronomy – why are particular systems more important – will hope to film next week.

Sunday – potentially go to horse racing on the salt flats

Next week:

Film flamingos and salt plains

See more of the island

Would like to spend more time walking around Kalloni / Skala to feel more ‘in’ the area, and  have more encounters.

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