Sunday 9 September 2012

The Unfinished Cathedral, a story ‘Made in Athens’ #2

[The Unfinished Cathedral, model and photograph by draftworks*architects]

The second story is that of Erechteis, a tribe that is famous among the tribes of the Northwest Passage for their love for Chance. As they totally rely on Chance’s schizoid routes, they are incapable of ever finishing a thing by their own. The text exhibited tells the story of the only time they agreed in something and achieved in finishing it: that was the temporary dome of their cathedral. And they agreed in that only by chance, because the dome was just a temporal substitute for the real dome in the construction of which they never managed to agree. The temporary dome still stands there today, beautiful and mesmerizing. Without even knowing it, it manifests their most important achievement.

The Cathedral itself is a fill-in of a typical Athenian crossroads, as seen in the drawing below.

Excerpts from the story The Unfinished Cathedral, part of the project 'Athens: Northwest Passage', by draftworks* Exhibited at the 13th Venice Biennale, Greek pavilion [curators: Panos Dragonas, Anna Skiada] 

Here is how the story starts:

‘Where the gods reside even the most subtle deviations obtain huge dimensions and show how important is both in our actions and our thoughts what we have thought as insignificant’
Odysseas Elytis, Idiotiki Odos

Day 2, unfinished business

Erechteis are famous among the tribes of the North West Passage for their love for chance. Their notorious love is definitely expressed by their passion for chance games. They are very fond of games like cards and dice; they may spend their whole day at the stock market and put bets on everything. They use to start their phrases with ‘My bet is that...’ instead of ‘I believe that...’ or ‘I suppose that....’ or even ‘I wish that...’ they say ‘I bet on you...’ when they want to say ‘I believe you...’, ‘I trust you...’ or even ‘I love you...’. On the other hand they despise games where chance is not so much involved, like chess. They say ‘things that can be planned are the devil’s work!’. They are also highly superstitious; they paint their black cats white, they never use ladders and they don’t sleep on beds in case they forget and leave their hat on. Beyond that they also use to pay attention to the slightest detail. And when they talk to each other, they may fix their attention to a small detail and miss the whole picture. That is why they often misunderstand each other, get easily irritated and pick quarrels.

And here is how the story ends:


Erechtheis believe that the model of the roof is their biggest achievement. You can see it kept in a jewel case being cared like the most precious heirloom, the dome that they still try to design. This is their ‘Nuper Rosarium Flores’, their ‘blossoming flower’ of the Cathedral, the only work that, according to the prophesy, chance will let them one day to finish by their own. For centuries they believe that they are that close in finishing it. No one pays attention however to their temporary dome. They have never thought that this might be their real ‘blossoming flower .‘

[draftworks*2012. All rights reserved]

[The Unfinished Cathedral, drawing by draftworks*architects]

[The Unfinished Cathedral, model and photograph by draftworks*architects]

[The Unfinished Cathedral, model and photograph by draftworks*architects]

[The Unfinished Cathedral, model and photograph by draftworks*architects]


  1. I just love your works. I wish I could visit this year's Biennale so I could see the Unfinished Cathedral

  2. Thank you milkofthepoppy.. There is a chance the 'Made in Athens' exhibition to be transferred to Greece after November..if you are around.