NEWS

Cultural ecology of the 1970s

If you drive through Athens, you don’t need to open a newspaper or magazine to find out what’s on. The main avenues as well as smaller neighborhood streets are full of posters, banners and billboards screaming news of concerts, festivals and nightclub lineups. These are usually affixed to electricity poles but also plastered along median strips, even on trees, although the latter fortunately not as often. More are seen on bridges and building terraces, that is, wherever they can distract passing drivers and less often, pedestrians. The secret, it seems, is to post 10 or 20 in a row just a few meters apart. Even if you’re not really interested in what a poster is advertising, repetition exploits hidden mechanisms in the human brain. So even if you couldn’t care less when and where the 28th Ouzo and Minnow Festival is being held, you suddenly find that you know all the details about it. Meanwhile, the main avenues of Syngrou, Kifissias and Poseidonos are completely given over to an unbelievably tatty parade that can be variously described as «Mediterranean exuberance» or «Greek character.» Let’s leave aside for the moment the question of safety, or even aesthetics. Has anyone thought about the tons of paper wasted on Athens streets?