COSCO RAILWAY BRIDGE: THE REMAINS OF SABOTAGE Driving along Athinon Avenue, which starts in Athens city center and heads to the western suburbs, you pass under this bridge, a portal into the region of West Attica. The bridge carries a railroad for container transportation, part of the Chinese-interest infrastructural project which connects Cosco's piers at Piraeus Port to the Balkans via the Logistics Center in Elefsina. The Piraeus Port project is a successful prototype for China's New Silk Road.
An incident occurred on the inaugural journey on this line in 2010. Soon after the bridge, the railway enters a tunnel. According to its driver, the train collided with an improvised barricade: a stack composed of a huge cable coil, lighting tubes, and piled metallic trays that had been ripped off from the inside of the tunnel. The mysterious sabotage was repeated on the train's return journey. The same people that built up the stack in the first place were probably the ones that reinstalled it, more-or-less in the same spot as before. As the train driver reported, the result each time was the delay of the service, in order for the tunnel to be cleared.
A second incident also occurred at this bridge; its two sides were entirely covered with painted black marks, what could possibly be described as a mural. A perplexing chaos that nevertheless looked like the residue of organically orchestrated movements. Like traces of processes and conflicts. These illegible inscriptions seemed to have sprung up from the landscape in the same mysterious way as the surrounding hills, trees, and impressive infrastructure. At the point where the bridge touches the slope of the hill there is a sprayed inscription consisting of three letters: "OFK."
"CLOUDS" SURROUNDING THE BRIDGE The central node of Greece's marine internet fiber-optic cables is at Piraeus Port. Worldwide, 97% of internet traffic and $10 trillion in daily financial transactions pass through undersea cables; only 0.3% of international traffic is carried via satellites.
Marine cables follow the same paths as capital flows and geopolitical futures that are being developed between states. The network of infrastructure running between countries comprises oil, gas pipelines, and undersea internet cables. The internet cables that lie at the bottom of the sea are the backbones of world politics: communication and data protection relies on them, and the locations of their landing points are expressions of economic power. Piraeus' marine cables connect Greece with Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, and Italy.
Both internet companies and states have created and invested in their own marine internet cables; China is also seeking to build a Digital Silk Road, including undersea cables, while financing a new global internet infrastructure. According to a recent Pentagon report, China will "enable politically motivated censorship" with the Digital Silk Road; that is, be able to manage and redirect data flow routes as it expands its presence in the Mediterranean.
ELEFSINA: CYBER-ECO-FEMINIST TRACES OF GAIA Elefsina supports a big part of Greek heavy industry through its shipyards, refineries, steel factories, and the Thriasio Logistics Centre. Despite heavy air pollution, Elefsina is also the home of the worship of the goddess Demeter, a symbol of Mother Nature and the mythical evolution of Gaia.
Gaia has been claimed by cyberfeminists and ecofeminists alike as the embodiment of a cyborg goddess. In A Cyborg Manifesto (1991), Donna Haraway writes of the Earth as "itself a cyborg, a complex auto-poietic system that terminally blurred the boundaries among the geological, the organic, and the technological." Gaias' myth is offered for projecting a cosmos in which humans and technology will abolish patriarchal narratives, and where mind, body, and nature will be one inseparable whole cosmos.
PEIRAIKI-PATRAIKI FACTORY: THE FLESHY INHABITATION OF MECHANICS Peiraiki-Patraiki in Megalo Pefko was the first factory to be built after the Greek Civil War (1946–49). It is well known in Greece due to the strikes against its imminent closure, which finally came in 1992 as its demise became a tool for partisan interests and a stepping stone for the deindustrialization of the country.
Peiraiki-Patraiki was a textile and readymade garment factory, and was mainly run by women workers living in West Attica (Elefsina, Mandra, Megalo Pefko, and Megara). For uneducated girls, a job at the factory was a deliverance from either getting married or working as a maid.
My mother once told me a story about Marina, a worker whose name in Greek means boatyard. She operated a machine that needed a specific hand movement. For years, recursively, with her right hand, she would make three movements: down, pull, and push. During those years the machine had carefully and permanently choreographed Marina’s hand. She embodied the machines’ operation, her hand couldn’t stop this down-pull-push even when she had left the factory: she had become a cyborg logistical subject. Marinas’ nervous system synchronizes to capital flow; the human rhythm has been sabotaged.
ALEPOCHORI & MEGARA: WOLVES AND SHARKS In May 2021 an enormous wildfire burned more than 70,000 acres of forest around the seaside area of Alepochori, on the Gulf of Corinth. During the winter of the same year the locals stated that due to the summer fires, wolves had appeared in residential areas of Megara, their lengthy wanderings caused by unusual damage to the land and the city's ecology.
As wolves stalked the land, another predator appeared in the water. During the last few years an increased presence of sharks has been noticed in coastal areas. In past centuries, sharks followed slave ships across the sea and feasted on bodies thrown overboard. A contemporary myth speaks of sharks that bite and destroy submarine cables, somehow maintaining an enslavement metaphor as the prey is now logistics: networks controlled by the captains of industry for the circulation of capital.
In 2011 a woman in the Georgian village of Ksani caused an internet incident. While scavenging for copper she cut a major internet cable and caused all network services in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan to crash. News of the incident traveled around the world and the media gave her the nickname "spade hacker." Spades are not only gardening tools but also an offensive appellation for Βlack people. Many people living in the periphery and disrupting capital flows have a nickname.
Gaia is an avenger of injustice; on ancient jars she is depicted as a goddess sitting between fire and water. On other jars she takes the form of a large female head emerging from the ground, while satyrs, standing on top of her, hit the ground to awaken her spirit. Gaia's mystic symbols are the torch, marjoram, the sword, and the vulva. With these symbols we will perform on burned soil, until we wake her up.
— PEGY ZALI