Rachel Cusk & Chris Kontos’s Marble in Metamorphosis
              Aliki Panagiotopoulou
              In 1894, just a year after Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis had declared Greece bankrupt, Athens was chosen to host the first modern Olympics. The occasion demanded the total refurbishment of the Panathenaic Stadium, a venue used for athletic competitions since ancient times. As the city embarked on this expensive endeavor, someone (the Olympic committee, mayor, or king, according to different versions of the story) posed the question “Ποιος θα πληρώσει το μάρμαρο;” [Who is going to pay for the marble?] In the decades since, the ancient Greek word has come to acquire a new significance in the modern vernacular: that of damage. Marble in Metamorphosis, a book which “contemplates the physical and cultural life of marble,” is published by an Australian property development company active in Athens. Much like a mockup apartment, everything about this object is designed to showcase the company’s taste: an essay by Rachel Cusk, Chris Kontos’s sleek photographs of Athens and the island of Tinos, excerpts from poems by major Greek poets Giorgos Seferis and Yannis Ritsos, and a poetic afterword by Nadine Monem, all make for a chokehold of beauty. Yet, in recent years, public policies that prioritise property over home, investment over sanctuary, and …
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