Relative Dating

“Relative Dating” is an autobiographical visual essay concerned with concepts of cultural and social traditions in my native Greece. Using photography, I examine the transformation of personal identity on my family’s home island of Kefalonia. It is the attempt to awaken memories and generate a chain reaction of realizations toward individuality.

As a child, I spent long periods of time on Kefalonia Island, which belongs to one of the most active earthquake zones in Greece. On August 12th,1953, life on the island changed completely when a 7.2 Richter earthquake struck the area. The Vlahata village, where many of my ancestors were born, suffered total damage and remains abandoned in forests of ancient olive trees. Here, time loses its absolute dimension and the ground loses its certainty.

I began photographing in Vlahata and the surrounding mountainous area in 2006 as a means of exploring my inner being. As the social landscape of Greece changed with the economic crisis of 2013, Vlahata became an intimate arena to explore feelings related to my personal and family history. I began to evaluate beliefs inherited from my ancestors based on the science of genetic memory, which posits that DNA has the ability to conduct memories. Through practice in self-improvisation, installation and the documentation of my relatives, I long to define my own free will.

Relative dating is a term used in geology to determine the placement of a feature, object or happening in time without reference to its absolute age. Terms from the seismic glossary accompany the images, reflecting the island’s own identity as defined by its tectonic faults. Across the stones, my images reconcile personal and collective consciousness.