Memory Threads

Site specific installation | Patras, Greece | 2020

Memory Threads, Patras, Greece, (2020)

A site specific installation by Danae Stratou, realised in one of the old textile factories of PIRAÏKI – PATRAÏKI in Patras, in the context of the wider project: “Patras, the city of factories, Rebetiko and Karagiozis”.

This ephemeral installation was realised in an old derelict and hollowed out spinning mill factory within the larger (and long abandoned) textile industrial complex Piraiki–Patraiki. The work comprised two elements: a soundscape and a physical installation. It was then documented so that the final work would take the form of a film.

The soundscape is composed of sounds of the old textile machines, such as spinning mills and looms, in operation. The rhythmic sound of the machines prevails while the faint voices of the factory’s former workers emerge in passing as they narrate the whole production process that went on in the now abandoned space decades ago.

Traces of the (now gone) textile machines were made on the floor, staying faithful to their original size and location as preserved in copies of the mechanical floor plan. Then, a layer of sieved unprocessed salt was used to fill in the traces and thus to ‘replace’ the missing machines, maintaining the original layout; the machines ‘returning’ as if in the form of salt-made ‘ghosts’.

Once the physical installation was completed it was filmed in a manner that gives the viewer the feeling of wandering through the space. The film, enhanced by the soundscape, revives the memory of the humans and the machines driving the production process in that space. The machines’ rectangular cross-sections within the linear floor space, aided by the repetitiveness in their operating sound, emit a recurring rhythm – a trace of the past that potentially enlivens the memory and activates the abandoned space. The human narratives that faintly fill the air add the ephemeral, human dimension.