Saturday 13 October 2012

Daydream / Nightdream, a story ‘Made In Athens’ #4

[Daydream/Nightdream, model and photograph by draftworks*architects]

There is a woodcut of M.C.Escher, called Day and Night [1] where a flock of black birds flying in a day sky coexists in the same picture with a flock of white birds in a night sky. At a zone in the middle of the painting a magic transformation occurs as the black birds change into white birds and the day changes in the night. With his mastery of optical illusions Escher creates a threshold where the exact moment of transformation becomes untraceable. The fourth story of Athens, Northwest Passage, is the story of Leontis, a tribe that have a similar idea about the threshold between reality and imagination, comparing it with the undefined threshold between day and night. Leontis believe that dreams are the catalysts between the two realities. They don’t just speculate that the dreams are some kind of indication of their imagined desires; they actually believe that dreams are true experiences of their desires. In a similar way the city for them consists of two realities that fit into each other. They believe that we actually live in both realities.

In our wooden model we recreate the miniature world of the two coexisting worlds in the form of two typical opposing resident blocks in the city and introduce the threshold between the worlds as an opening and closing of a cupboard. 

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

This is how the story starts:

‘There was a time in this city, that, as I was walking ‘many times in the night’ I could listen to people’s breaths through the open windows.  I could listen to their erotic conversations, their whispers, their agonies for insignificant or important concerns. And the more I was getting far from the neighbourhood, the more I was entering into the transparency of their world.  At that time the human presence at the neighbourhoods and the suburbs was omnipotent. As well as the presence of love. A love that was moving in the streets and was transforming the whole city into an erotic workshop’   [1]

Leontis, Day 2, A Dream Within the Dream


They also believe that dreams should have their proper space in the city. They say that there is a second dream-like city that wakes up within the first one every time they go to sleep. Constructed by the material the desires are made of, Leontis do not just believe in this second city as a fable, they believe in its actual materiality. Having mixed the two cities in their minds sometimes they confuse the threshold between being awake with being asleep and they often can’t even tell the order of things: do they first make things happen and then they dream of them or is it the opposite?


All these people from the opposite flats may have never met, and may also never meet in their entire life. However, for Leontis, the worst fear is not that, it is not having a dream to share. 

[1] M.C. Escher, Day and Night, 1938, Cornelius Van S. Roosevelt Collection

[Daydream/Nightdream, model and photograph by draftworks*architects]


  1. This is my absolute favorite. The concept as well as the execution are exquisite