Cyprus Theatre Organisation is pleased to announce the national participation of Cyprus in Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2023, Exhibition of Countries and Regions. The installation, artistically researched and designed by Melita Couta, based on an initial idea by the Curator of the exhibition Marina Maleni, is entitled Spectators in a Ghost City and is inspired by the artistic theme of PQ23, RARE and the ghost city of Famagusta.
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.
How can we understand places of conflict and trauma through their materiality as carriers of memories? How can we connect with them through scenographic methodologies and ultimately envision their possible futures?
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. In October 2020 entrance was permitted against UN resolutions, through a guided path, allowing people to experience the city-time capsule, painfully retrace their pasts or simply (like in many other places in the world where ruins attract tourists) take a selfie…
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 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.
Curator-initial concept: Marina Maleni
Artistic research-Design: Melita Couta
Collaborating technical advisor: Harris Kafkarides
Art and Technology collaborator for Audio Visual: Giorgos Lazoglou
Video performance artists: Pascal Caron and Melita Couta
Graphic and web design: Philippos Vasiliades
Technical support in Prague: Doros Tsolakis
Technical support in Nicosia: THOC technical services
Permission for use of archive material from Digital Herodotus was granted by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
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 at https://pq.cz
More information on the Cyprus national representation