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Crossing borders

By Maria Gregoriou

After the completion of an artistic residency entitled Stimulating Synapse, as part of the 30-month long Confrontation Through Art project aiming at using art to enhance reconciliation, peaceful co-existence, and creative problem-solving, five artists come together tonight to showcase their art work.

The European Mediterranean Art Association (EMAA) and the Rooftop Theatre Group are the driving forces behind this initiative and, both with years of experience in bi-communal and international activities, they will now share the outcome of their latest residency.

The five artists whose work will go towards the project’s aims are Carl Michael von Hausswolff from Sweden, Ana Elizabet from Croatia, Paul Devens from the Netherlands, Erhan Oze from Cyprus and Eleni Phyla also from Cyprus.

The work created during the residency is site and context specific to Nicosia and the Green Line. Its artistic thread weaves a tapestry through the coming together of two parts of a city by concentrating on how they may communicate with one another.

This question of communication has become an aesthetic fabric which the artists have woven in an attempt to overcome barriers of social indifference. The outcome, the project’s organisers and the artists hope, is to be faced with art that sends messages from one side of the city to the other, to receive their echoes, and finally pave the stepping stones needed for a unifying bond.

Hauswolff, whose artistic contribution is a sound installation, is a composer, visual artist and curator. He uses recording devices, such as cameras and sonars, to investigate electricity, frequency, architectural space and paranormal electronic interference.

Elizabet’s work has to do with public space and how it can be designed to help teenagers and adolescent peer groups have an active and decisive role within it.
When given a chance to be an active part of society, the participants take on responsibilities and realise that their actions have an immediate social and physical effect on the space. This being said, the ultimate aim is to have youths from both sides of the capital collaborate and create a new identity for their city.

Devens uses his sound installation to bring our senses in touch with an abandoned store within the UN buffer zone. This work, entitled Folly, is an interpretation of this architectural construction as sounds were recorded on both sides of the buffer zone, then they were edited to a composition, played back in the store, and re-recorded.

Oze’s contribution to the exhibition is in the form of a web platform, which aims at bringing Cypriot artists and galleries together under one virtual space. This common ground will enable artists to discuss the making of art on the island. It also intends to introduce the world to the Cypriot art scene.

Phyla will also introduce a sound installation to us tonight with her piece entitled Move So That I Can Hear. Phyla’s piece has to do with radio stations broadcasting both in Turkish and Greek. Due to the small size of the country, it is very easy for each side to receive radio signals from both sides.

The installation was created by tuning radios into various stations on both sides of the city and having each radio being connected to a motion sensor so that when someone moved close to it, the activity would cause the radio to turn on. The broadcast may have or may have not picked up a station whose language of original was known to the person triggering its sound.

The residency’s Croatian curator Branko Franceschi comments on the exhibition by saying “the group of European and Cypriot artists at the end created an ambience, consisting of long term projects, project proposals, web platform, interactive, participatory art works and sound installations that reflect present division and hopes with vigour, vision and humour.”

Stimulating Synapse
Group exhibition resulting from the Confrontation Through Art project residency. February 18. EMAA Capital Art Centre, Belediye Street 1, Nicosia. 6pm. Tel: 99-317278



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