The national participation of Cyprus in Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2023, Exhibition of Countries and Regions, is an installation, artistically researched and designed by Melita Couta, based on an initial idea by the Curator of the exhibition Marina Maleni. The installation is entitled Spectators in a Ghost City and is inspired by the artistic theme of PQ23, RARE and the ghost city of Famagusta.
As a press release by the Cyprus Theatre Organisation reads, the curatorial team proposes the use of scenographic methodologies as thinking processes, political acts, negotiating real spaces of conflict and artistic practices. Fragments from Famagusta, video archives from today and before 1974, experimental sculptural maquettes inspired by the city’s urban texture, acoustic environments and performative practices are used to connect this rare city with the Prague Quadrennial ’23 visitors.
The visitor at PQ23 will be exposed to another view of the ghost city of Famagusta which has been completely enclosed for the past forty-six years, as a result of the Turkish military invasion of Cyprus in 1974, devoid of human presence, abandoned, inaccessible.
Turning the attention to the Space of the ghost city itself, one engages with it through notions of memory, belonging and displacement, attempting to grasp how the scarred and derelict urban landscape becomes both “Author” and “Dramaturgy”.
Understanding the often conflicted and complex geopolitical narratives while respecting human trauma and going beyond the aesthetic fascination of ruins, the curatorial team proposes a process of reversed scenography. How can we experience real places as dramatized spaces and how can we learn and create alternative narratives to the pre-existing ones?
”We do not aim at providing answers, conflict resolutions or solutions. In looking to the future, we advocate for alternative ways of envisioning such spaces of conflict through artistic and performative practices. Spectators In A Ghost City attempts to communicate through empathy, the poetics of scenographic arts in a utopic vision of the future”, the press release notes.
It is further added that the proposal unsettles the role of the artist and the viewer as it addresses issues of appropriation, spectacle, voyeurism and the role of art itself in the face of human trauma that expands beyond Famagusta and echoes other ghost spaces in the world.
PQ23 opens on June 7th in Prague and it will be open to the public from 8-18 of June 2023. More information about the world event is available on https://pq.cz. More information on the Cyprus national representation is available on https://www.cypruspq23.com/.
Two independent Cypriot participants in PQ23
With the artwork Fragments, Pigments and Figments: An Individualised Walk Through a Buffer Zone comprising of photography and poetry, Ellada Evangelou and Nihal Soğancı are being hosted in The Performance Space at the Prague Quadriennale of Performance Design and Space, taking place in Prague from June 8-18, 2023. The Performance Space Exhibition is curated by Andrew Filmer.
The artwork is an individualised art walk / promenade, a simulation of the possibilities to walk through the Ledra Palace buffer zone of Nicosia, the stretch of 430 metres between two crossing points via photography and poetry. The curators are working with photographers Rahme Veziroğlu and Constantinos S. Constantinou, who have taken 14 photographs of the in-between space of the Ledra Palace buffer zone in Nicosia. Each of the images will be accompanied by its own haiku poem, contributed to the project by Cyprus-based poets Halil Karapaşaoğlu, Maria Kouvarou, Erina Charalambous, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, Gürgenç Korkmazel, Stephanos Stephanides, Avgi Lilly, Tamer Öncül, Nafia Akdeniz, Maria Siakalli, Tuğçe Tekhanlı, Lisa Suhair Majaj, Nese Yaşın, and Nora Nadjarian.
The opening of Performance Space Exhibition, under the general title Acts of Assembly, will take place on June 8th and will remain open until June 18th, 2023, at the National Gallery in the Trade Fair Palace in Prague, Czech Republic.
Furthermore, Team Victor after their successful performance that premiered at ETKO winery in Limassol, in July 2021, will present the new version of the project – Victor X at the International Festival, Prague Quadrennial of Performance and Space 2023, from the 9th to the 11th of June.
The performance was conceived, visualised and directed by Maria Mitsi and Nasia Papavasiliou, with the support of Dr Doros Polydorou. Members of the creative team also include Belinda Papavasiliou as the performer / choreographer. The soundscapes of the performance were composed by Dimitris Savva.
Victor X presents a participatory / immersive experience where the audience engages into a world of interconnectedness and exploration.