Constructing the commons: Olive | Oil | Light
These daily practices related to olive oil (its production and uses) regulate societies, construct the intermediate time, the before and after the gathering of the olive. They define the way in which local communities are formed, the way in which they create thresholds of sharing, participating in the construction of the imaginary: the seasons, the harvest, life in the olive oil press and the economy around it, the dinner table, light.
The installation tells, in space, the story of the olive oil cycle: From the tangible soil to the intangible light of the lamp. From the compact irregular root to the standardised package.Τhe installation deals with oil as a material product and as a symbol, rooted in culture and tradition, as well as in wellbeing and care in the contemporary metropolis.
The trajectory of oil is developed in the exhibition space as a diptych: from the cultivation of the fhe fruit to the harvest, and its use. Calling upon memory to activate common stories from the origins, it reinscribes stories and images in the present, using the most "humble" materials: soil, roots, net, sacks, tins, lamps.
Soil - Roots - Fruit
The exhibition narrative begins from the soil, which receives and nourishes the plant, where the olive spreads its root, irregularly, and magically. In order to invite – at a second stage - people to take care of it, and to gather its fruits.
Sacks – Tins – Lanterns
The olive cloth is stretched. The harvesting starts. The fruit is collected; mastery, cooperation and labor is required.
The sacks are waiting. They are stuffed, and transported. Agony about the crop.
The tin will travel. Full of the year's labor, it carries memories: the work, the misfortunes of weather, the olive-grower’s expectations and engagement in his task. The tin functions as a memoir. In the installation, the tins are opened, they become light-filled shells, where photographic snapshots of the life determined by olive-gathering, are positioned, enhancing the memory game.
The ceramic lanterns - handmade by the architect herself with clay, a raw material so relevant to the soil – welcome the oil, in order to transform it into light. Just as the soil makes the tree from the seed. The lamps, with their curved lines, refer to the maternal figure, to mother-earth who welcomes, cares, nourishes.
Oil is a gift, often offered in a tin or in a bottle contributing to acts of caring: The care of the land, of the field, of the olive grove, of the oil. Caring about man, nutrition, life. It heats, nourishes, gives light to the lamp, creates atmospheres, plays with visibility, illuminates paths.
The cycle of nature and production shapes the rituals of the future. From the soil to the light. The circle closes. Until its re-enactment.