Project Nero | Alexander Schellow

In conjunction with the Athens Olympics in 2004, the construction of the Kifissias freeway, which began in the 1970s, was finally completed. As a result, the Kifissos River, where according to lore ancient Athens was founded, and which has historically served as the formative axis of its development, has since been nearly entirely covered within the city perimeter.

Project Nero (Project Water) focuses on the Kifissos River, which structurally builds, metaphorically speaking, its line of narration. When we set out, we were intrigued by the existence, or more accurately the non-existence, of the river. For the elders, the river is still engraved in their minds as a dramatic memory and experience – a river that at its essence was a sacred source of inspiration for economic, social and cultural development has now become a social and physical border. For the younger generation, the river has transformed into a geographical reference point, only to be reminded of its existence during annual floods but has otherwise vanished from their collective memory.

In a series of talks and interviews, Schellow follows local and trans-local narrations, weaving what becomes the urban reality of Athens. This process is strongly interlinked with research for the memory-drawing reconstruction, focusing on the structural change in perception of the urban riverside, simultaneously discovered by its parallel narratives. These stories become the mental map for walks following the broken line through the city. Reconstructed from memory, the visual surfaces of these walks become documents of a specific interaction between the artist, a selection of scholars and the people who live in proximity to the river. νερό melds ideas and utopias from experts in different fields including architecture, history, economics and politics creating a constellation to examine the past, present and future of the Kifissos River.

Project Nero is an on going experimental project, showcased in different formats throughout its evolution, ranging from formal exhibition and projection formats to children eco-workshops.



1. NERAKI | Eco-creative workshop for children, 2011
2. THEO.DO.LITES | exhibition format, 2012

3. STREAMING 2.0 | Animation with live sound intervention, in production
4. LET THE RIVER FLOW | Community Action, 2014
5. KIFISSOS | Documentary Animation, 2018

Goulandris Museum of Natural History
Goethe Institute Athens
Pireaus Bank Athens
Athens Municipality


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