You’re all invited to UNCOVERED – Nicosia International Airport – Exhibition & Panel which opens on 23 September and will run until 23 October 2011. The opening night [invitation here] takes place from 19:00-21:00 at Ledra Street/Lokmacı Buffer Zone, and the opening hours of the exhibition is 10am-8pm daily. [Full information in press release here]. There will also be a panel discussion on 24 September from 2:30-7:30pm at the Home for Cooperation in the Buffer Zone. UNCOVERED is a three-year research based art project, divided into two phases, and its area of investigation are the issues stemming from the prolonged condition of the closed Nicosia International Airport. The title of the project is a word-play UN+COVERED reflecting on the role and presence of the UN at the airport since the latter was declared a United Nations Protected Area following the hostilities on the island in the summer of 1974, resulting in the de-facto division of the island and the creation of a buffer zone. The United Nations continues to facilitate Peace negotiations between the two sides. The project aims to explore notions of memory, commons and control mechanisms, as these arise out of the status of a closed-off airport in a space of conflict.
Lying abandoned inside the buffer zone, off limits to the local communities, the Nicosia Airport represents a spatial order generated by 37 years of UN control in the context of a protracted conflict between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. The once-bustling Nicosia airport served as the central port of entry and departure in a newly independent country in the wake of post-colonialism. The novelty of its architecture, with its much-hailed new terminal, has acquired a rich patina of forgetting, a monument to a failed modernism while at the same time remains in a state of suspended animation.
The project explores how this space, frozen in time and space, indicates and exposes the operational and organizational logics of control that have evolved on the island over the past decades and asks questions that move beyond the ubiquitous mnemonic to pain in order to ultimately understand and reclaim the island’s “commons.” 2
The first phase has concentrated on cultural production in Cyprus and the commissioning of eight projects by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, including Özge Ertanın and Oya Silbery, Görkem Müniroglu and Emre Yazgin, Vicky Pericleous, Erhan Oze, Andreas Savva, Zehra Sonia and Gürgenc Kormazel, Socratis Socratous, Demetris Taliotis, Constantinos Taliotis and Orestis Lambrou. The exhibition of the projects runs from 23 September – 23 October 2011.
On Saturday 24 September in the morning there will be a guided tour of the exhibit, given by the curators and a panel discussion in the afternoon with Monica Griznic, Lamia Joreige, Niyazi Kizilyurek , Socrates Stratis and Jack Persekian moderated by Basak Senova and Pavlina Paraskevaidou, followed by a screening of Anton Vidokle’s New York Conversations.
An accompanying book will be published in October 2011 and includes contributions by Stavros Stavrides, Bulent Diken, Alex Galloway, Abdoumaliq Simone, Jalal Touffic,Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Dervis Zaim, Mushon Zer-Aviv, Pelin Tan, and Socrates Stratis, together with essays from the curators and sections devoted to the archive and the artists work.
THE ARTISTS’ PROJECTS
Özge Ertanın and Oya Silbery use various media to investigate and question social and political situations in Cyprus with black humour. As a response to the protracted idleness on the island, they work on a website for the Nicosia International Airport with information and data that function as though the airport was active. Nevertheless, the ironic content of the website reveals the actual state of the airport, once a user starts navigating through its pages.
Görkem Müniroglu works with both sound and image and for this project, he collaborates with Emre Yazgin, a sound engineer, to create a sound installation. Müniroglu aims to revive the dead energy of Nicosia airport by playing it as a musical instrument. For this installation he has produced soundtracks, which consist of series of composed and edited sound recordings, taken from the airports at Nicosia, Larnaca and Ercan.
Erhan Oze investigates how the war of sovereignty over Cyprus has been extended to the electromagnetic field and the island’s air space. The artist highlights that tactic of intercepting radio signals as both Ercan Air Control Centre and Nicosia Air Control Centre try to exercise control over the FIR space and ascertain sovereignty. The artist presents interviews with air traffic controllers from both sides where each presents their side of the problem, while Erhan also maps the airmisses over Cyprus’ air space.
Vicky Pericleous presents a multi-media installation that includes video images from the airport and interviews conducted by the artist. The work is a collage, a fragmented aural and visual narrative. The storyline attempts to reconstruct the airport in space and time, blurring reality with fiction, as though a journey back in memory. Yet this is frustrated by the constant change of frames in the montage. The viewer is being denied access to the airport.
Andreas Savva reflects on the notions of alienation and anticipation in relation to the peace talks in Cyprus. One of the most enduring images from Nicosia International Airport is the rows of dusted seats in the departures lounge that were originally designed by Pambos Savvides. Savva presents replicas of these seats. For his installation he places them at an inconspicuous place, inside the buffer zone, the passageway between south and north checkpoints. Some visitors might recognize them, while for others they will be a novelty or a curiosity. In either case, they extend an invitation to sit down and talk.
Through her installations Zehra Sonya examines diverse socio-political issues. For this project she collects found objects and collaborates with Gürgenc Korkmazel, a poet and writer, who writes semi-documentary stories about them. These stories blend reality with fiction set in a documentary tone. Sonya processes these stories and objects with photographs as collages as an installation. A booklet accompanies the installation including Gürgenç Kormazel’s stories and her collages.
Socratis Socratous foregoes the news reportage style and uses his camera to map human activity. The artist ignores official narratives and concentrates instead on the mundane and everyday. His photographs look at Nicosia airport behind the scenes, shifting attention from the daily references to the peace talks and the nostalgic image of the modernist buildings and the memories it embodies, and looks at the silent stories that unfold behind the headlines.
Demetris Taliotis, Constantinos Taliotis and Orestis Lambrou collaborate to examine the modernist heritage in postcolonial society and question politics of destruction and preservation. In particular they examine the erasure of memory associated with modernist architecture that, increasingly in Cyprus, gives place to the urban sprawl punctuated by the number of car parks that sprout in its place. The artists recreate the space of a make-shift car park, but transpose it in the context of an exhibition. 3
The data collecting team is Özge Ertanin, Eleni Flouri, Giorgos Chrysostomou, Argyris Fellas, Andreas Aristodemou, Görkem Müniroglu, Oya Silbery, Zehra Sonya, Costas Americanos, Argyris Adamou, Maria Charalambous, Christoforos Zacharopoulos, and Maria Tsangaride.
The visual identity of the project is developed by Gökçe Sekeroglu, Xenios Symeonides, and Basak Senova.
The posters and the book are designed by Gökçe Sekeroglu and Xenios Symeonides.
The artist booklets and website are designed by NOMAD.
The venue building is offered by the Kykkos Monastery.
The printing of the book and all accompanying publications is sponsored by the Phileleftheros Group.
The panel and book is in part supported by the Open Society Foundation.
The panel is hosted by the Home for Cooperation.
Catering is sponsored by Cafe Biyer and Azbom Bakery.
Computers are sponsored by Trace Computer Ltd.
The exhibition is presented under the auspices of the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Cyprus with the support of UNDP-ACT.
European Mediterranean Art Association (EMAA)
Pharos Arts Foundation