Perceptions of Occupation and Control in Cyprus
The history of Cyprus is a fraught one: the Mediterranean island has been a site of occupation and control for hundreds of years. Istanbul-based curator Basak Senova became engaged with the island’s politics of division in 2010, when she and Greek Cypriot curator Pavlina Paraskevaidou devised a collaborative artistic project entitled UNCOVERED: Nicosia International Airport, which used the closed Nicosia International Airport as a site for investigating the mechanisms of control at work on the island – divided since 1974 and subject to a UN peacekeeping force since 1964 – alongside notions such as memory and commons.
The works and activities by artists participating in the UNCOVERED project laid the ground, Senova here argues, for the Occupy Buffer Zone movement that developed in late 2011 and which sought to occupy that which was already occupied. In an action that exposed the absurdity of the controls on the beleaguered island, these activities rendered disused public spaces public once more.