On the excavation sites of the Athenian agora the ancient history of the city emerges to the surface. Sand is delicately removed from the artefacts. It has been transfixed in this location for thousands of years and has literally become intertwined with these historic objects.
The sand that is taken is compressed and sculpted into statues. These replicas resemble the uncovered artefacts and are placed around the city. The public is given the opportunity to gain cultural knowledge about the objects without having to leave the modern context of the city.
The perceived importance of objects increases when access to them is limited. The statues slowly weather away. Apart from its form, nothing it lost as the sand is collected at the bottom. Not just anybody can come in contact with it. Each region in Athens is assigned a souvenir salesman that takes care of this important task.
In this fourth step, the same salesman offers the authentic sand in the form of a souvenir: a sand globe. Encapsulated in time and space its value is protected.
Shifting Sands is the result of an in depth research into the cultural significance of souvenirs in Athens, Greece. Additionally, I looked into the value of replicas in relation to the original objects. The designed system attempts to reveal various methods of assigning value to a single commodity: Sand.
It was great to combine desk research with a visit to this historical city and its inhabitants!