THE BEACH MACHINE
Participant: George Papam (kyklàda.press )
Moderator: David Bergé (kyklàda.press )
Join us for the presentation of one of our latest books "THE BEACH MACHINE: Making and Operating the Mediterranean Coastline" by managing editor George Papam, and kyklàda.press director David Bergé.
Aggressively rebounding after recessions and the pandemic, sprawling landscapes of tourism in the Mediterranean continue to build upon the iconic spatial typology of sea & sun vacationing: the beach. But behind the leisurely scattered bodies and the quiescent summer shores, beachfronts are assembled as intensely ordered infrastructures for the heavy machineries of tourism.
Approaching the beach as an operational socio-technical landscape, this book unpacks stories of construction, programming, and maintenance: from traces of moving sands in Lefkada island to mirror postwar developments in Delos and Mykonos islands, and from historic and bodily excursions to workings of the Athenian riviera to rituals of eco-certification under Blue Flags. The texts frame the beach as a machine, one with protocols of function and metabolic needs, studying how it directs the capture of land and bodies, while establishing forms of environmental control. As a repeatable and proliferating type of infrastructure space, the beach has the potential to expose parallel evidence of seeming globalizations and patchy planetarities.
George Papam is a geographer, working as a researcher and editor. His current project looks at the overlaps between the hospitality industry and the production of environmental science, or what could be called the stewardship-hospitality complex. More generally, he is interested in infrastructures, contemporary global mobilities beyond tourism, forms of actually-existing geoengineering, and the urbanization of the countryside. His writings have appeared in edited volumes and journals such as Footprint, Log, Clog, Šum, and Cartha. He has co-edited the books Athens, misprinted (futura, 2019) and The Beach Machine (kyklàda.press, 2022). George holds an MA in environmental studies from Yale and an MSc in human geography from Harokopio university. He has previously worked as a researcher and teaching fellow for Yale University and Strelka Institute. He has been collaborating with kyklàda.press since 2021.