He put it on the Acropolis

I try to understand Professor Korre’s phrase “Concrete is close to nature”, but I fail. The Greek word “σκυρόδεμα” may sound more elegant, but the material it describes is called “concrete” in English and “béton” in French. Say what you like, but concrete is concrete.

History, said K.T. Dimaras is a “wardrobe that cannot be opened with one key” and proposed a theory of multiple causes to explain most of the phenomena. Likewise, at least trying to explain to people, I propose, among other things, the theory of multiple blows, especially for the elderly.

I have been observing from a distance what has been happening on the Acropolis in recent years, and I read the proposals and descriptions of experts and non-specialists like me. I attach particular importance to the positions of experts, which is natural even when they contradict each other. And especially when they contradict each other and show us that there is only one correct way to act. But for a public project and even for a World Heritage site, I also listen to non-specialists as they are the natural recipients of the project and their comments have their own meaning.

The public debate on the condescendingly controversial writings on the Acropolis is unfortunately a posteriori and informal. Any system of power, from KAS to ELAS, cares about maintaining people and processes that serve it and do not threaten it, and is responsible only from within with the terrible order “EDE will be carried out” that never led to anything. Policymakers and project managers will never publicly admit that mistakes or failures in the design or execution of projects could have been made: it is like retired archeology and restoration enthusiasts doing all this.

Especially with regard to the Acropolis, I get very worried whenever the sacredness of the rock is mentioned, which to me indicates that my interlocutor is trying to emotionally prejudice me and manipulate the dialogue, probably due to the lack of more convincing arguments. I am most worried about the authority of those who are involved in this, for example, Professor Emmanuel Corre. Will you challenge Korra too? Recently, I often hear the question: “Chairman of the Committee for the Conservation of Acropolis Monuments, who knows the monument better than anyone?” “I see,” is the answer. If I deem it necessary, I will challenge not only 73-year-old Corra, but also my 93-year-old mother, who went to the University of Athens and studied archeology even before Mr. Corres was born.

The fact that Mr. Corres spent most of his professional life on the Acropolis and identified with his service isn’t necessarily good after a certain point. Think of other people who have long been identified with an institution or a process: if I wanted to, for example, learn about Korydallos prison, I would definitely ask Antonis Aravantinos for his opinion, but I would not blindly accept his comments and conclusions. Long-term participation in power tends to establish a parallel system of power, visible or invisible, to create friendship and enmity and, above all, to create personal obsessions that conflict with the public nature of the office. When a person in charge has a personal agenda, he must either resign (if he can understand this) or leave.

A few days ago, Mr. Corres gave a two-hour online lecture on the work of the Acropolis. “Manolis Korres: I am completely satisfied with the result“, – that is how Katimerini called the lecture, as if the goal was to satisfy first of all Mr. Corres, and not the rest of the world. There is an excerpt in quotation marks in the text where Mr. Corres says of the paving: “The ideal way for me is to regenerate a surface from a similar rock, but it is expensive and very difficult. If I was young, I would try, but I know how difficult it is to go from theory to practice. We moved realistically using a material that is a close relative of natural stone. “Concrete is close to nature.”

I try to understand the phrase “Concrete is close to nature,” but I fail. I disagree with every word he says. I am afraid that Mr. Corres and I have different interpretations of the words “concrete”, “near” and “nature” (perhaps also the words “that”, “is” and “in”). It is difficult to agree on this basis. The Greek word “σκυρόδεμα” may sound more elegant, but the material it describes is called “concrete” in English and “béton” in French. Say what you like, but concrete is concrete. With regard to concrete as a material and its use, I am afraid that Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (better known as Le Corbusier) and Aris Constantinidis ended up hurting many people who tried to imitate them.

I am also trying to understand the phrase “The ideal way for me is to rebuild a surface from a similar rock, but it is expensive and very difficult.” But if we don’t try to apply the ideal method to the Acropolis, where we apply it, will we leave it for a monument of greater importance? As for the high cost, even if our suffering state was very bad, as Kawafi says, we couldn’t find a sponsor for this project? Oh wait … Finally I try to understand the personal mention that “If I were young, I would try.”

I do not believe that the fate of the Acropolis depends or should depend on the biological age of Mr. Korre (unfortunately, I will not be present to hear the opinion of the archaeologist of the future, who will be called upon to restore the intervention of Mr. Korre). Mister Corres may be big, but the Acropolis is bigger in every sense. And I think we will all agree with that.

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