Radical Afterlives: The Cyprus Movements Archive Project
19/12/2023 – ongoing
Emily Demetriou, Belinda Papavasiliou, x.ypno
Curated by Ioulita Toumazi & Panos Achniotis

The Cyprus Movements Archive (https://movementsarchive.org/doku.php) is an on-going attempt to digitize, to make public and freely available online the publications of the Cypriot radical movements throughout the island. It includes zines, pamphlets, texts, brochures, academic articles and other material. In its 5 years of operation the Archive has conserved and made accessible hundreds of documents from the radical tradition of Cyprus, especially in the post-1974 era, south of the green line. In this way, not only have the documents been preserved from the erosion of time, but they were also disseminated for the first time after many years to wider audiences. Many of these documents would lay hidden in personal or other depositories for years. As such, many people have had the chance to see them for the first time and reflect upon stories and moments of the past. Considering that archives are not simply a neutral compilation of documents, but that they conceal intentionalities, affect, relations of power and hegemony, artists will have the chance to inquire over the multiple meanings of the archive in human societies and Cyprus in particular.

The Cyprus Movement Archive is nevertheless unimodal, it is composed of a series of documents that are mainly text-based, with occasional graphic material on particular publications like magazines. We contend that a history of radical thought and action could also be composed by photographs, videos, narratives of lived experiences, publications in the mainstream press, mappings of places and times, architectural forms, fashion and aesthetic choices. What is more, this history is also comprised by our operational and also affective interaction with all those materials.

This artistic research programme aims at initiating a dialogue and forging artistic expressions in relation to the history of radical thought and action in the island of Cyprus, as this is documented in the Cyprus Movements Archive. Τhe three selected artists will explore and familiarize themselves with the archive and interact with the various ideas and concerns that live through it. The aim of the project is to re-vitalise and expand the archive through artistic mediums and expressions, which will reach wider publics. The three artists come from different artistic disciplines and are asked to present the culmination of their research in their chosen medium in a group exhibition, with the possibility of holding independent activities/ happenings/ performances in public or other spaces.

The project will also offer the selected artists and the community a series of relevant sessions and workshops on the archive, archiving and other useful analytical tools. The curators will invite specialists, artists and academics to deliver these workshops for the selected artists. Throughout this process, each artist will work on their personal piece to be presented by the end of the project. In collaboration with our partner Sessions, we will offer the possibility to the artists to use a studio space at SPEL throughout the duration of the project as a chance to build bonds and collaborations within a greater community of artists, researchers and activists.

ARTIST BIOS

Belinda Papavasiliou is an artist who works with movement, choreography and performance. Her practice is informed by the relation between bodies, environments and notions of materiality, reciprocity and attunement. Belinda’s methodology is physical, intuitive and informed by the ways bodies encounter other bodies (human or other) and the choreographic possibilities of these events. Her works and collaborations were presented at Sessions x Spel State Gallery, Prague Quadrennial, Rialto theatre, Open House Festival, Majestic State Gallery, Xarkis Festival, Cyprus Choreography Showcase, ONCA Gallery, 4bid gallery in OT301 Amsterdam Cultural Center and others.

Emily Demetriou is a Cypriot, Bulgarian artist and versatile creative who works with archives, cultural production, curation and educational facilitation. Her artistic practice encompasses performance, storytelling, text and sound; creating immersive, participatory and site-specific experiences. She also works with printmaking, photography and makes mixed media installations. Emily’s research delves into practices that have been crushed in order for the current socio-political and economic state to exist; meaning the web of relations that tied the individuals to the natural world, to other people, and to their own bodies. She explores themes of commoning, life/ death cycles, intuition, ritual and magic.

x.ypno is a musician and writer based in Cyprus. He is a member of NYX, a Nicosia-based D.I.Y electronic music collective, and XMK, a four-member rap group. His practice as a producer/songwriter deal with the question of (be-)longing with a pronounced focus on the themes of partition, uprooting, and social exclusion. His first album (ΕΞΩΣΤ-EXHAUST) was created in collaboration with Stelios Ilchuk and was released in 2021. His sophomore solo album (ΕΞ ΟΨΕΩΣ - EX OPSEOS) was released on January 4th through the independent label PYRGATORY studios.

TALKS

Open Talk 1: Αρχεία ή tabula rasa; Ένα ερώτημα.
19/12/2023 | SESSIONS X SPEL | 18:00

Σε μια 3ωρη ανασκόπηση ηχητικού, φωτογραφικού, κινηματογραφικού και μιντιακού υλικού, ο συγγραφέας Σωφρόνης Σωφρονίου θα παρουσιάσει μια ενδελεχή ανασκόπηση των διαδικασιών αρχειοθέτησης που είτε διευκόλυναν, είτε καθυστέρησαν την ετοιμασία του νέου του βιβλίου. Τι μπορεί να αποτελέσει ένα αρχείο; Μέσα από ποιες διαδικασίες μπορεί το υλικό να αποκτήσει υπόσταση;

Ο Σωφρόνης Σωφρονίου σπούδασε ψυχολογία στο Παν. Λευκωσίας και νευροεπιστήμες στη Νέα Υόρκη. Το πρώτο του βιβλίο, Οι Πρωτόπλαστοι (Το Ροδακιό), τιμήθηκε με το Κρατικό Βραβείο Μυθιστορήματος Κύπρου και με το Βραβείο πρωτοεμφανιζόμενου μυθιστοριογράφου της Εταιρείας Συγγραφέων Ελλάδας. Το δεύτερό του βιβλίο, Αργός Σίδηρος (εκδ. Αντίποδες), έχει παρουσιαστεί σε μορφή όπερας και έχει μεταφραστεί στα Γαλλικά (Zulma Editions, 2023). Πρόσφατα συμμετείχε στο πρόγραμμα φιλοξενίας της Εταιρείας Συγγραφέων της Σανγκάης.

Open Talk 2: Thinking Historically about Space
27/12/2023 | SESSIONS X SPEL | 18:00

There is nothing obvious or self-explanatory about space. From a historian's vantage point, space is contingent upon time; the spatial attributes of any geographical entity are neither stable nor fixed. They evolve and change according to their temporal setting, which in turn affects the way humans engage with, or perceive space. That Cyprus is an island is perhaps its most prominent attribute. Yet, what makes an island, and what sort of an island is Cyprus? More importantly, have the insular attributes of Cyprus changed over time? The presentation takes the form of a personal retrospective of a twenty-year-long engagement with these questions, addressing the conceptual and methodological tools of history in the quest of understanding the dialectics of time and space.

Antonis Hadjikyriacou is Assistant Professor of Ottoman and Turkish History at Panteion University. His research and teaching interests are situated at the intersection of social, economic, environmental, and spatial history. His monograph Χερσαίο νησί: Η Μεσόγειος και η Κύπρος στην οθωμανική εποχή των επαναστάσεων [Peninsular island: Cyprus and the Mediterranean in the Ottoman age of revolutions] was published in 2023 in by Psifides.


Open Talk 3: Radicalness – A View from Beyond the Text
13/01/2024 | THKIO PPALIES | 11:00-13:00

The Cyprus Movements Archive contains mainly text-based documents within which photographs about Cyprus make sporadic appearances. Upon examining this group of photographs what immediately becomes apparent is that the political, social and cultural radicalness endorsed by the textual is not welcomed in the photographic. More often than not therefore, the meaning of these photographs remains ambiguous. In this presentation I delve into three dominant photographic narratives about Cyprus as these recur within Greek-Cypriot public education, the context common amongst most Greek-Cypriots for ‘learning’ Cyprus photographically. Through a juxtaposition of examples from these dominant narratives and snapshots from the Archive I consider the cultural work assigned to photographs about Cyprus by local radical groups; and invite speculations on what a Cyprus Radical Visual Archive may look like.

Despo Pasia studied Education, Anthropology, Psychology and Museum Studies. She teaches Art in public primary schools and designs and implements educational programs for historic, archaeological and art museums and cultural organisations. She has worked as education associate at the State Gallery of Contemporary Cypriot Art and the Cyprus Museum and as research and education associate for international research projects on History, Archaeology, Cultural and Digital Heritage. She also co-creates exhibitions and museum interventions. Her recent research examined the experiences of young people’s encounters with historical photographs. Her research interests focus on hybrid exhibitions, historical photographic collections, museums, cultural heritage education and the intersection of historical photographs with performance and the audiovisual arts.