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<nettime> Liminal Zones - the Nicosia seminar
Florian Schneider on Thu, 30 Oct 2008 14:24:17 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Liminal Zones - the Nicosia seminar

From: angela melitopoulos <nc-melitoan {AT} netcologne.de>
Date: October 30, 2008 12:11:23 PM GMT+01:00

Liminal Zones - the Nicosia seminar
5,6,7 November 2008
organized by Socrates Stratis & Angela Melitopoulos


Any attempt to understand the rapid transformation of territories in the
21st century reveals shifting landscapes and moving boundaries, thus a
continuous struggle for their redefinition through conflicts and
exclusions. Different conditions of mobility and migration encouraged by
the so-called 'globalised world' inscribe in material environments
social and psychological borders. In this context Cyprus and its
inherent division acts as one of the frontiers to the EU. The aim of
this workshop is to explore such liminal spaces with a particular
reference to Cyprus and the Middle East.

How are liminal spaces constructed and managed and how can one think
them from an interdisciplinary perspective? What dictates the
organization and management of these liminal spaces? What facts on the
ground challenge the actual negotiation of such "zones under
construction"? How do liminal spaces relate to a larger genre of
boundaries present in contemporary urban environments? How do continuous
fragmentations and reconnections in liminal zones shape contemporary
urban societies?

This seminar proposes to engage in several roundtable discussions as
productive strategies and tactics encouraging engagement between publics
fragmented by the limit. We would like to explore the interdisciplinary
roles of visual culture and architecture as porous interfaces within
such a territory.

The seminar will take place within the Department of Architecture
(University of Cyprus) and the Goethe Institut Nicosia. It will bring
together scholars and practitioners from Cyprus, France, Germany,
Greece, Israel, Palestine, Turkey and the UK. "Liminal Zones" proposes
the creation of a research platform that will be continued in the future
as a model for exchange and production of diverse methodologies.

The Blast of the Possible
by Angela Melitopoulos

Tags: autonomy, migration, reterritorialisation, property, the border of
the political

The “Blast of the Possible” looks on the role of property in Cyprus
after the failure of the Annan Plan in 2004 that triggered a real estate
boom on the island. Today a new road map for reunification is discussed.
This research focuses on the reasons of the boom, the significance of
private space and property in the political conflict, the role of
migration in the discussion on the constitution of the Republic of
Cyprus. The research contains case studies on property claims that
display different political forms of belonging and property rights.
Property is discussed with an emphasis on what the imaginary quality
means within such a political conflict at the borders of Europe.

The Blast of the Possible proposes a film project based on internet
platforms such as Youtube and the potentiality of shared video archives
and texts. An web-site is designed on that one can upload "stories about
houses". Public viewing events are organized that allow to screen and
discuss the archive and to engage in the understanding of media
representation. All materials are used for the creation of a film

The Cyprus conflict was called a "constant failure in international
diplomacy", a conflict that can “poison the regional and even the
international political climate at any moment”. Since the end of the
civil war the population on the island changed radically. Many migrants
live temporarily on the island: settlers from Anatolia, refugees from
Lebanon, student migrations from Russia and North Africa, construction
workers and service providers for the tourism industries from Eastern
Europe, house workers from the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. Many
Cypriots call themselves refugees in their own country; many live

This research links the question of the "autonomy of migration" to the
real estate boom and its effects in the negotiation of the conflict. It
explores on the one hand property claims that display different
political forms of belonging and property rights and on the other hand
the legal status of migrants that is linked to their itinerary. The
space of the "private house” is understood here as a temporary space of
“reterritorialisation”. The house or the "use of property" and its forms
of registration unfold new geopolitical networks emerging at the border
of Europe. The project combines through the analysis on the temporality
of how houses are used the time of occupations with the time-value of
real estate investment.

What does the “temporary use” of property mean within the Cyprus

- from the de jure perspective of the Republic of Cyprus forwarding the
legislation of the European Union

- from the de facto perspective of the administration of the occupied
territory in North Cyprus

- from the perspective of different migrations inhabiting property and
challenging the negotiation of the conflict.

The idea of this practice-led research is the creation of a shared video
database about homes and houses for the production of a film narrative:
a fiction film essay about cohabitation. Similar to my last project
“Timescapes/B-Zone the use of videoclips allows to understand how data
is interpreted because of the condition of mobility of the user. This
concept understands video images not as representatives documents of a
reality but as mnemonic agents of a constituted, visual memory. The
appropriation of the image, the way in which it is used, reveals from
where it is understood. It makes clear how a geographical space is
linked to a collective memory and to the imaginary quality of an image.
To share image material or an archive of video images, texts and maps
allows to share the time codes of edits and to retrace additional
material such as subtitles, image overlays, text etc. This amounts to an
invitation to experience the "other’s construction of reality as it
unfolds, and to integrate that experience as a troubling, inconclusive
element within one’s own expression."

The script for the film “The Blast of the Possible” is a narrative that
essentially entangles five case studies on homes and the subjective
views of their inhabitants: migrants with restricted citizen rights in
both parts of the island, newcomers from the EU with property titles,
Cypriot refugees and soldiers living along the Green Line. The film
scenario composes dialogues disputing the question “where to go” and
“how to stay here”. The film is staged along and inside the Cypriot
Green Line in Nicosia. The space of a house in the film, in that this
narration takes place, is composed as one space, as a space of
cohabitation in that all scenes are linked with each other.

The house-space is seen from its function of re-territorialisation.
Homes are understood as spaces of temporary settlements, translations
and re-translations allowing to transform the sounds of the world into
vision. The project links spatial analysis to the production of a
"nomadic" subjectivity in that property qualifies reverberation,
reverberation qualifies borders, borders qualify territory and mobility,
and ultimately the border between interiority and exteriority.

For migrants (that may become nomads) the space of a house is a space of
temporary settlement (use value), an interval in the itinerary of an
ongoing migration (mobility versus subjectivity). This approach to time
and duration versus space renders the history of a place as a point on a
line (itinerary). The history of a land from the point of view of its
passing migrations is a node in a network where one stays and decides
“where to go next” or “how long to stay”. It is this nomadic cartography
that translates the past tense of another space into the actual one and
integrates habits of perception as homeland. The private space of the
house enters into agency with the political arena, with a "polis" in
that the reality of the autonomy of migration is playing a political
role: that of the border of the political. This research uses rhythm
analysis as an approach for spatial analysis: “Rhythms imply the
relation of a time to a space, a localized time, or, if one prefers, a
temporalized space. Let us insist on the relativity of rhythms. A rhythm
is only slow or fast in relation to other rhythms with which it finds
itself associated in a more or less vast unity.”

The Blast of the Possible is an essayist documentary fiction on the
post-colonial condition of Cyprus and on the the story of a possible
blast for future of Europe.

June 2008 by Angela Melitopoulos

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