Blog der Professur Philip Ursprung

Apr 26

Ec(h)o-Logy: Greek Returns

After centuries of idealization as the “origin” of the European culture, Greece has turned almost overnight into the emblem of Europe’s biggest fear: economic decline and political disintegration. Europe, caught in its own mirror-image, has dropped Greece like Narcissus, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, rejected the water nymph Echo. But the repressed always returns and the voice of Echo cannot be muted. In our expedition to Athens and Olympia we are interested in the echoes of history as well as in the issues of today’s economy and ecology. We will ask how the current crisis affects the every-day space and the life of the people. We will look at the way the city and its periphery was planned and shaped in the early 19th century and again in the postwar-boom. And we will visit “Arcadia”, listening to the echoes of a past age, which was never ours, but which cannot be separated from our own imagination and memory.



Our guides: Encounter Athens: Fereniki Vatavali, Evagelia Hatzikonstantinou, Pascalis Samarinis, Aspassia Kouzoupi

Recent transformations of Athens’ city centre
Walk in Gerani district, Panepistimiou Avenue and Exarhia district




Ancient Athens
Acropolis (tip visit it 8h in the morning, beautiful and empty)

New Acropolis Museum (by Bernhard Tschumi)…

The Market

Visit at the former airport of Hellinikon
Olympic facilities of Hellinikon


Self-managed urban garden of Hellinikon

 Metropolitan Community Clinic at Hellinikon

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Hellinikon provides FREE medical assistance to theUNEMPLOYED and POOR civilians with NO SOCIAL SECURITY or with very little income.

 The development of Athens waterfront and the occupied beach of Ag.Kosmas

Organizer: Aspasia Kouzoupi


Athens Biennale organised by  XYZ: Poka-Yio, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (our guides)

CAMP Contemporary Art Meeting Point

Embros Theater (occupied theater) Omonia Group (

Romantso preview presentaion of the new venue – project space in the so called: „most dangerous area of the city“ (

„Imagine the city“



Ancient Olympia Greece (Peloponnes)

Reenactment of Allan Kaprows Happening:


performed during the Seminar Week FS13

of the Chair of Prof. Philip Ursprung,

ETH Zurich with the students

and members of the chair.

21.03.2013 in Olympia, Peleponnes, Greece

ECHO-LOGY is concerned with natural processes. Water flowing downstream is carried mechanically upstream, is dumped and flows back. Some is lost along the way. More water is transferred downstream mouth-by-mouth, loses oxygen, is mixed with saliva and is given back to the stream to be altered again. A word is silently formed, is recognized from a distance and is passed in that manner upstream, changing its identity, and is spoken to the trees. A word shouted from person to person, so loudly as to be misunderstood, rushes downstream similarly and is silently conveyed to the air. A gas-soaked rag is evaporated in stages on its trip upstream, becoming relatively clean as it gives its fumes to the atmosphere and further chemical change. Human breaths are collected and conducted downstream by hand. Small bits escape. The growing bagful becomes stale and the container is then released to the winds. The movement is simply back and forth.

ECHO-LOGY was carried out by a small group of persons moving the water of a stream in Far Hills, N.J: on the weekend of May 3rd and 4th, 1975. It was commissioned by the Merriewold West Gallery.



carring some downstream water

a distance upstream


pouring it into stream

transfering a mouthful of upstream water

a distance downstream


spitting it into stream


sending a mouthed silent word

a distance upstream


saying it aloud to the trees

propelling a shouted word

a distance downstream


mounting it to the sky


transporting a gas-soaked cloth

a distance upstream

(waving it gently in the air)


carrying a bagged breath

a distance downstream

each adding a breath

opening the bag to the wind




Corinth Canal