Echoing the visits to ancient ruins by the Eighteenth Century elite on their ‘Grand Tour’, Fragments For A City In Ruins imagines an unseen visitor from the future wandering the city of Athens; from the modern ruins of the deserted Olympic complex to the ruins in reverse of the Acropolis, and from the city’s port to the antipode of the ruin - the museum, with its rarefied atmosphere of suspended time. Unstable sites of temporal fluctuation, ruins provide a trope through which notions of history and empire can be excavated in relation to spatial politics.
What begins as a reflection on architecture and the aesthetics of ruins drifts into a meditation on time. As in a dream, the film merges different periods of time - from historical time and the epochs of civilizations to geological time; and from the aeons of cosmological time to the opportunity for transformation Benjamin believed was offered us by each fleeting second.
Weaving together fragments of text as it wanders through the city of Athens, the film invites reflection on the entwined histories of democracy and financialization, debt and dispossession, empire and ruins. As Sontag observes, “fragments can reveal aspects of the past that cannot be understood by greater monolithic constructs of historical understanding [...] by turning broken forms into pictures, we can begin to reconstruct an idea of wholeness.”