Every day we produce and consume, constantly produce and consume, with a given mode and very easily the products of industrial production. Momentarily we may forget that it was not always so. There was still a time when all products were handmade. The transition from the world of handmade construction to current factories, with all the benefits we are familiar with, was a true technological revolution that occurred in the early 18th century in Britain and then subsequently spreading throughout Europe, North America and eventually today, the whole world. The radical change in production methods worked as a domino and toppled over the way of life, the structure and economy of societies, the entire culture; provoked thoughts and political systems. Moreover it launched the dominance of humans on the planet, resulting to today’s exploitation of the ecosystems in an incredible degree.
It is the first time that MOnuMENTA’s issue is so contradictory, since under the title Industrial Remnants we seek to equally deal with the individual examples of industrial complexes, as remnants of the great history of technology, and on the other side with the poisonous waste of the industrial activity. Both are industrial remnants, one being the tragical development of the other, aspects of the same development, aspects of our culture.
Our goal is always to highlight issues of protection and it seems that in the case of industrial remnants, the need for protection is imperative whether it is about architectural remains that are not yet well established as worthy of being preserved, or the case of nature polluted by waste, without the sufficient effort to prevent the creation of waste or the application of alternative methods of waste management. The essential framework for the protection exists but as always is the case, the correct application depends on the interaction between economic interests and social demands.
A recent development in the institutional framework of our country is the lodgement in Parliament of the draft Law on "Ratification of the amendment of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and thei disposal”, which ratifies the decision to amend the Basel Convention - known as «Ban Amendment (taken in 1995), which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes from OECD member countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), EU and Liechtenstein in other countries. [In 1986 a fire at the chemical plant industry Santoz in Basel, Switzerland results in great contamination of the Rhine. To mitigate the adverse impact of public opinion, the Swiss Chemical Industry comes with the idea of the "Basel Convention", which was signed in 1989 and establishes certain rules to control the movement of waste.]
The two thematics of the issue are developed as always by a variety of articles, meant to inform us on the industrial architectural wealth of our country, and not only, the ways in which historical shells can teach and be reintegrated in modern life, if new uses that do not downrade the architecture creation are applied, but also on the problems created by modern industrial activity with the untreated liquid or solid waste and air pollutants.
We are happy that the cooperation with the poets Elsa Corneti and Lambros Lazos is consolidating; for this 4th issue they offered especially their poems . Also, is our great honour to present the works of the painter George Polycrates and the photographer Basil Karkatselis; one photograph by the latter shaped also our cover. Thanks again to all our friends who send photos for the creation our cover.
We may not have managed to launch this issue on industrial remnants earlier, according to our planning, but last year MOnuMENTA managed to be more active on issues of our city and the suburban green areas. We refer to the fight for the buildings in Paster and Ravine streets, our effort to save the complex of the former 401 military hospital, the appeal to the Council of State to cancel the road projects in Ymittos mountain, the interventions to preserve the Doxiadis building and the industrial complexes Mouzaki, Lonara, Britannia, Cotton Manufacture etc, the continuation of the programme Local Communities and Monuments part of which is sponsored by the Foundation Costopoulos e.tc. The recent positive development for the buildings behind the New Acropolis Museum, which survived the demolition in order to accommodate the needs of the museum, gives us hope and strength to continue our efforts, always with your cooperation.
For this issue we chose to spread the motto "We Act for Monuments”, because we feel that the natural and built environment of our country is attacked by our way of life.