Feeding a City

By Eirini Tiniakou

Feeding a City is a Vienna based project by Eirini Tiniakou. Shortly after she moved to the city in September 2018 she started working part-time as a food delivery cyclist. Since then, she has been cycling through rain, snow, haze, sunshine, beautiful orange hot days while covering thousands of kilometers all around the city.

– A bit about living in Vienna:

Now and then, I stop to take a picture with my phone gathering a big archive of strange things, beautiful moments, obscure interiors, harsh exteriors, names, “identities”, mundane structures. Biking for that long offers plenty of time to reflect on the urban landscape, on empty space or traffic, on our own troubling roles in this hasty lifestyle. In every shift, there will be moments that I feel I belong “here” and moments of deep longing for my motherland, for the sea…the mountains, even the chaos of the south. But nostalgia can be tricky.

There is history in small things, and when looking around, one can see it in the variety of the architecture of Vienna. The cultural history is visible in a city and is strongly different from place to place. How could I feel familiar with this new urban environment? Familiarity exists in smells, in small bushes by side of the street, in empty corners, and arbitrary spots that remind me of my neighborhood but more or less in experiences and events. Feeling familiar with a place can be due to pure obscurity and accidental glimpses of other parallel realities. And that is what I’m drawn to capture in my ephemeral photos.

I hated this job, I still do but it has become part of my everyday life and of my mobile identity in this particular city. With certainty, I love cycling and the open-air but earning a low wage, having a free contract, and being provided with cheap equipment are aspects that make this job hard, unbearable at times. I am serving an economic system that is against my ideals and the way I want to live and participate in a social system.

Finally, it is my need to overcome the challenges and to feel confident and “at home” that gives an interesting twist to this activity. I am a bike ranger in this city. I can move through alleys and streets in a way no pedestrians, cars, or even other riders know. I create my own rules made of concrete, I shape my own experience and I welcome the unexpected events with a flexibility that I didn’t own before I moved here.

– What is home for you?

In essence, home is wherever one can breathe, taste, and move effortlessly.

Eirini Tiniakou originates from Athens and is residing at Vienna. She practices photography, text, and costumes with an interest in tradition and manual work in the rural and urban environment. Eirini employs multi-functionality in both an actual and a metaphorical notion. The objects she creates are unavoidably in a constant interrelational quest. To that end events that are unexpected or “random” is an important breaking point to her representations.