The word "economy" is derived from the ancient Greek word oikonomos. In fact, it is a compound word: oikos means "house" and nomos or nemo means "distribute." In short, the word once meant "household management."
Besides all the other ramifications of the ongoing Greek economic crisis, there has been a tremendous impact on the family unit. With the youth unemployment rate remaining stubbornly above 50%, it is not uncommon for young people to continue living at home for years—well into their 30s. Consequently, new home ownership is down, marriages are being delayed, having kids is being put off indefinitely...the list goes on.
These projects, made by members of the Depression Era Project, offer two perspectives on the current economic/social/political situation in Greece by way of the oikos, the home.
Christos Kapatos: Antonis' Voice
At the end of 2011—in the middle of the economic crisis—I decided to take a decisive leap. Up to that point, I had had a successful career as a salesman in the corporate world. But something had to change. Overwhelmed by work stress, I found that I could no longer function in any aspect of my everyday life. It was then that I decided to leave the wealthy life behind, sacrifice my independence—economic and personal—and focus only on the things that mattered to me.
At the age of 37, along with my fiancée of 8 years, I moved back into my parents' house (following a widely adopted model of cohabitation reinvented during the current crisis). In my subsequent photo project, I set out to depict the anxiety, the worries, the frustration and the faint hope for a better future. I also tried to show a positive side to my new life: the love, care and solidarity among us. I discovered the unexpectedly revitalized institution of my family.
At the same time, my father Antonis suffered a series of strokes—five within six months of each other. These left him with minor kinetic and major speech disabilities. My mother and I are the only people who understand what he's saying, and not always. Antonis found a way to communicate through (sometimes nonsensical) writing. In 2012, I started recording his life and our lives with him. This is a journal of Antonis' voice.
Vaggelis Tatsis: Memories
Two years ago, I began a personal quest into what has defined me, a search into the most familiar of places. Since then, I was brought face-to-face with my three satellites—the three families that used to be one and that are, even now, my own.
I live in a house with many kingdoms and many roles: a father who became a grandfather, and then a father again; a mother who remained a daughter; a man who tried to become a father and a sister who wanted to become someone else. I tried to see everyone in their separate kingdom: the table of calculations, the bedroom of isolation, the kitchen of domination.
Were these relationships based on love? Or dependence? How far does commitment go and how do different individuals define their space? How much freedom of choice do social conventions allow for? And what is left, in the end, when we cease to live together? When we are obliged to redefine our position in the family?
How much distance is needed to find oneself? I, for one, had to go.
Editor's Note: Christos Kapatos and Vaggelis Tatsis are both members of the Depression Era Project, a collective of 30+ artists, photographers, writers, curators, designers and researchers who are working on the topic of crisis in contemporary Greece. You can discover more on the project's website, which features these artists' works as well as projects from dozens of other photographers.