by Lina Manousogiannaki

The work of Marinos Tsagkarakis is well known to Urbanautica readers. We have presented an interview back in 2016, so naturally when we received his book (sold out) a review was necessary!

«In recent decades, countless of artificial “paradises” were developed around the world and their number still grows faster than ever before. This industry that manufactures an entertainment product of mass consumption meant to satisfy the average man’s need for recreational time and fun, that is called tourism. The tourist industry has drastically intruded the land, transforming it into a product while causing several effects with a severe socio-cultural character. Destinations are in danger of losing their original appearance, structure and identity, through a standardization process that aims to satisfy the tourists’ wishes. 'Paradise Inn' aims to highlight the consequences of this massive and uncontrolled tourist development. In Greece, as in Southern Europe in general, these effects are reflected on the constructed landscape mostly through the unregulated and shoddy architecture, the kitsch and folklore decoration, the construction and adoption of artificial elements and entertainment structures, the falsification of identity and cultural heritage, the violation of the natural environment and finally the desolation that occurs after peak season.»

The concept, the design and the publishing is made by Void. The book is hand bound in tri-folded cardstock. It has 84 pages with 40 colour photographs accompanied by 12 short text phrases and 7 transparent pages. The work was produced in an edition of 90 copies with 10 Artist’s Proofs.

The first part entitled 'Wildlife and nature' presents a series of images which come together in a humoristic, or even I dare say, a sarcastic way, in order to highlight decoration on these paradisiacal resorts which Tsagkarakis is exploring in his work. Plastic is king and posters with exotic content are the minimum effort local owners make, in order to create an illusion of interior decoration/design evoking some Paradise or at least an interpretation of it in modern visual culture. Plastic plants, animals preserved by taxidermy, along with the actual local flora and fauna are delicately selected and presented in order to stimulate the visual perception of the reader and even make him laugh with these odd combinations of Greek touristic aesthetics. Aesthetics which are carefully highlighted by Tsagkarakis in his images.

© Still images of the book 'Paradise Inn' by Marinos Tsagkarakis

'Luxury Resort' is the second part. The kingdom of scrappy, fast and unorganised construction is primary in these areas. Neon metallic signs next to swimming pools, indicating the beach bars, the toilets or just featuring exotic fauna which seems to be trying to blend in with local vegetation. Constructions of bright kitsch colours are the architectural tendency which is featured here. The keen eye of the photographer doesn’t miss any detail and with clever juxtapositions he manages to create images that make even the more sceptics loosen up and laugh.

© Still images of the book 'Paradise Inn' by Marinos Tsagkarakis

The third part is called 'Landmarks'. A few years ago the Greek ministry of culture launched the phrase “Live your myth in Greece” in their touristic marketing campaign of the country. I guess local entrepreneurs took that literally and decided to use a variety of archaeological symbols in order to construct this contemporary Greek fantasy and bring it to life. One can pick up a cab while standing under a Doric threshold, or can admire the Karyads while enjoying a swim in a hotel’s pool! I am being sarcastic and so is Tsagkarakis in his choice of images, and that is what we love about this work!

© Still images of the book 'Paradise Inn' by Marinos Tsagkarakis

The three sections are accompanied by short review phrases one can find on various internet ratings for these Paradise Inns, along with some transparent pages with catch phrases of touristic oriented advertisements.

Overall, we find the work coherent and amusing to read and explore so if one of the copies crosses your path on Amazon or Ebay don’t hesitate to buy it!


Marinos Tsagkarakis
Void Photo
Urbanautica Greece