Stagiates — The Flow of Resistance

Niki Danai, Emma Bereau, Hanchen Zhang

“Stagiates – The Flow of Resistance” investigates the issue of water privatisation in Stagiates, Greece, and how, through social movements, it has the potential to reinvent the concept of commons. The project uses real-time, aggregated and transcribed data sources to shed light on the contentious privatisation of the Krya Vrysi water spring in Stagiates and how locals are pushing back.

Stagiates, with its population of seventy-five, is a village in east-central Greece located on mount Pelion and falls under the nearby city of Volos. The village was founded in the eighteenth century around the spring known as Krya Vrysi. This led to a deep connection between the locals and the body of water which extended beyond practical and physiological needs to take on larger historical connotations. The superior water quality of the spring became a defining characteristic of Stagiates, which managed and distributed this resource and became the setting for cultural events. However, this relative autonomy was diminished after the city of Volos annexed neighbouring villages, incorporating it into a larger administrative unit – a shift that dampened the villagers’ voices when it came to making decisions regarding their community.

The struggles in Stagiates emerged amidst the Greek financial crisis, leading the government to consider privatising natural resources to address their debt owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As a part of this plan, a majority vote within the city council led to the privatisation of Krya Vrysi and its sale to the beverage company EPSA.

Collaborating with the Athens-based design studio ESTO Association, we will conduct research in Stagiates and hold interviews with locals. Our findings will be presented through an exhibition, a workshop, and a talk at ESTO.

"The Flow of Resistance” is an online platform whose goal is to provide a comprehensive, searchable database that illustrates the undergoing process of water privatisation in Stagiates. By collaborating with the villagers directly, the platform can raise social awareness on a broader scale, reaching communities that face similar struggles to generate viable solutions.