Deepti Barth presents TRANSGRESSION at the home of the Cyprus Visual Artists Association, the Phytorio, located within the Nicosia Municipal Gardens and at the Office gallery, just a few metres from the Buffer Zone. The work explores issues of restriction.
The material was shot and filmed in November of 2012 at the Nicosia International Airport (NIC). The lens follows the movement of a paraplegic Greek-Cypriot through this location: an area within the Buffer Zone controlled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Photographs and video narrate the progression of the protagonist in a fragmented, often non-linear way, beginning on the runway, continuing on the uphill ramp of the terminal building. The paraplegic breaks though barbed wire and a locked entrance door, advancing through the corridors of the main building to reach what used to be a departure lounge – transgressing a decision that was taken by the UNFICYP six months before filming, to strictly prohibit access to the terminal building “for safety reasons” (sic).
Deepti Barth’s approach employs elements that interact closely with one another, and which in some ways fundamentally merge. A series of natural facts, followed by her instrumental choices reinforce the appearance of confinement: the current political-military status quo of strictly controlled access, and the raw realism of the camera recording the movement - without post-production or color correction - shed a light of complex rawness onto the performance. The limits of restriction are reached as the protagonist wears garments that are designed to prevent the free movement of the limbs, and shoes which are dipped into a rubber block-form. Oddly enough, the shoes should prevent a person’s movement - but not when on a wheelchair. Like the blocked door of the airport, limitations on the protagonist’s feet do not function as such, and thus movement is possible.
This is an existentially ironic situation; in TRANSGRESSION the protagonist appears in an absolute center point of Cyprus - the Nicosia International Airport - which would, under normal circumstances, be a quintessential symbol of free movement - and he finds himself face to face with the consequences of the current political situation of a long-divided country. At one time the waiting room of an airport was a place of absolute truth; now it is full of accumulated pigeons faeces and ruined chairs. It is apparent that here, there is nothing left to wait for.
Tassos A. Gkekas
The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus is a demilitarised area that divides the island in two parts, and is patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The island’s division is contested, and the UNFICYP effectively maintain a ceasefire. The Buffer Zone is a result of the 1974 Turkish military invasion of Cyprus. Now the southwestern part of the island is internationally recognised as the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state; and the northeastern part is self proclaimed (1983) as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey. The Buffer Zone stretches for 180.5 kilometers shore-to-shore, cutting through the centre of Nicosia, separating the capital city in two. The width of the zone ranges from 3 meters to 7.4 kilometers.
Garments and rubber block shoes: CAROL CHRISTIAN POELL
Sound: Antonis Antoniou
Graphic Design: Tassos Polydorou
Technical support: Antonis Minas
Video post production: Sandra Schuck
In kind support: Cypriot National Guard
Special thank you to Carol Christian Poell
24/10/13 – 16/11/13 from Tuesday to Saturday 17:00-20:00