Tobacco Area

The risk is possible, yet the pleasure is certain.P. Kondylis

POST PRODUCTIONIn which a tobacco-loving subject observes the social history of a plant (Nicotiana tabacum), which was a definitive element of modernity, for twenty-five consecutive years (1985-2011), a quarter of a century. An image cultivator, he draws up lists of smokers, dead or alive, a purist sculptor, a commentator, a chronicler, and a bricoleur. His theoretical approaches, which are not characterized by abstraction or any special fondness for objectivity, are essentially just theories, duty-bound relationships that have developed gradually, using tobacco as a principal raw material, not only in the agricultural and industrial sense but also in a communicative, site-specific manner.

SMOKERS’ ROOM – TOBACCO ARCHIVESThe configuration is as follows: a general area (a general tobacco area) is defined, which consists of two subareas: (1) the Smokehouse as a vacant space, a sort of a no man’s land, no man’s time, and (2) the Archive as a hypomnesic locus.[i] The first aim is to open up a field of possibilities for organizing familiar experience (history-intellectuality), a terminal station with multiple connections and new interpretations. The second aim is to create a public sphere for discourse and action, a sphere where smoking is openly allowed, providing seamless visibility to smokers and casting a positive light on the smoking heads, in spite of their negative social constructions.

COMO HUMO SE VA (Detemporalization) Weaving and interweaving two cinematic times, a shot from the Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1960) and a shot from a video piece from 2011, this video attempts, in a film noir setting, a paradoxical discussion amid clouds of smoke.

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy (The Political Issue of Tobacco Control) The Tobacco Area project is not a ‘harmonious terrain’. It is a competitive move towards urban planning. It is a field where political science, art, and architecture meet. The binary opposition between smokers and non-smokers is anchored in the distinction between us and them, between friends and enemies (C. Schmitt). It is a form of opposition to the fantasy for a uniform urban space, objecting to both the dictates of urbanization, beautification, and utilitarianism and a false morality that is against pleasures. After the passing of the Tobacco Control Law in 2008, the biggest risk is no longer the usurpation-occupation of space by the smoker’s-opponent’s puffs but the appropriation of the intimacy of public space through ownership-establishing legislation, through a neoliberal policy that hovers between morality and economy.

WALKThe visualization of the historical realm of tobacco cultivation coincides with a walk in a serially planted tobacco field (which thus turns into a Cartesian plane); the ramble, the deviation from the path, the overstepping of geometry, amounts to a philosophical peripatetic stance, a meditation, a prayer, an analogy to Being-in-the-world (M. Heidegger).

“Erlaubliche Gedanken eines Tobackrauchers” (Enlightening Thoughts of a Tobacco Smoker) BWV 515a, a song written by Gottfried Heinrich Bach (1723).

Tobacco Area Texts

A Thick Fug of Smoke


By Thanassis Moutsopoulos

Smoke


By George-Ikaros Babassakis

Images Cultivated From Nature


By Haris Kampouridis

Tobacco Area


By Panayiotis S. Papadopoulos