This exhibition is focused on ‘displacement’, whether caused by political, economic, environmental or social reasons. The exhibition will present the work of 66 artists from 31 countries including Cyprus, some of which has been created specifically for “In Transition”. Through connecting different sites and different people, the exhibition will be searching for a contemporary perception of the realities and dilemmas which confront displaced people.

“In Transition” will be accompanied by two talks scheduled for 4 Ocober 2006, 7.30 – 8.30pm, by US artist and international editor of Leonardo magazine, Sheila Pinkel and artist Nesrine Khodr from Lebanon.

In Transition – a multidisciplinary evolutionary project about dislocation and displacement

“I’m all these words, all these strangers, this dust of words, with no ground for their settling, no sky for their dispersing, coming together to say, fleeing one another to say, that I am they, all of them, all of those that merge, those that part, those that never meet, and nothing else, yes, something else, that I’m something quite different, a quite different thing, a wordless thing in an empty place…” (Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable)

“A boundary is not that at which something stops but, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that from which something begins its presensing” (Martin Heidegger, ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’)

Displacement is a constant reminder of the problems facing the contemporary unstable geopolitical condition with its transnational threats and global dangers. The focus of “In Transition” is on those people marginalized by this pervasive political and social system. The exhibition, read within the framework of discourse belonging to others, brings the spectator/witness closer to the language of real personal experience. The importance of issues such as national consciousness which is not nationalism, the understanding that the ‘other’ is never outside or beyond us but rather ‘between ourselves’ are central concerns of the project.

“In Transition,” Cyprus 2006 is essentially a collaboration between two artists: Helene Black (CY), co-founder of NeMe, and her invited guest Sheila Pinkel (US). The artists agreed to extend the project to include an international call for participation from displaced people.

As a result of this extended collaborative process the form of the exhibition was developed through three distinct areas:

  • The photo/video installation of Sheila Pinkel on the aftermath of war in Laos and its long term effects on the lives of the Hmong who fought for the CIA and royalist Laotian regime from 1960-1975.
  • The work of Helene Black which included an installation, The Anticipation of Lost Objects, as well as works by 10 artists invited by her as part of her participation. The work of these artists, both international and Cypriot, contributed to the dialogue concerning displacement
  • An installation of works by 57 selected participants from 31 countries who, responding to the call, submitted images and text downloaded via the web.

Both artists anticipated that engagement with local and international participants would transform the exhibition beyond their initial concept of collaboration and as such embody a stronger and more comprehensive representation. This dynamic is intended to develop an understanding of displacement through the creation of a multidisciplinary community of participants and it is this potentiality in expansion which defines “In Transition” as a ‘living archive’ embodying a solidarity of purpose within the context of its diversity.

The Open Call for Participation attracted not only professional artists and intellectuals from various disciplines but also people who have never had an opportunity to ‘testify’ beyond their immediate social and family groups. There was a strong response from Internally Displaced People especially from Cyprus.

Because this is the first time that the curators had attempted an outreach of this magnitude, they embraced a broad spectrum of interpretations of the concept of ‘in transition’ as vital to the integrity of their objective. In addition to the video installations, the exhibition is set up so that each image is presented at eye level and each text placed underneath the image at floor level. The intimacy created by the act of picking up and reading the personal statements accompanying the images shifted the usual distance between observer and the object in the exhibition space. Meaning, time, cultural boundaries and the socio-political Diaspora are reflected by voices with ‘no authority’, by voices who represent the ‘excluded’. It is the participants from this neglected position who give testimony to living in what is effectively a suspended state, that of displacement. In this context, “In Transition” provides a platform for the continuation of an essential exchange within a contemporary interdisciplinary cultural environment.

 

Helene Black and Sheila Pinkel anticipate using the experience of this exhibition to build on and broaden dialogue about displacement. NeMe is now negotiating to show “In Transition” internationally in the near future and hopes to include the multifaceted perspectives of peoples from different parts of the world on the subject of displacement. The artist/curators will continue adding venues, accumulating voices about displacement on the NeMe website as a way of broadening understanding and shared experience between people over time.

Participants

Mehmet Yashin (CY/CY+GB+TR), Peter Lyssiotis (CY/AU), Sheila Pinkel (US), Helene Black (CY), Nesrine Khodr (LB), Chara Savvidou (CY), Yiannis Toumazis (CY), Rob Chiu (GB), Yannis Yapanis (CY), Adonis Florides and Theodoros Nicolaides (CY), Stefanos Tsivopoulos (GR/NL), Katja Gentric (ZA/FR), Jeremy Hight (US), Alena Boika (BY/CZ), Anna Barros (BR), Bego Fuente (ES/CY), C. Bridget O’Rourke (US/FR), Carlos Estevez (CU/US), Caterina Davinio (IT), Deborah Kelly and Tina FiveAsh (AU), Domenico Olivero (IT), Eric Van Hove (BE/JP), Gabrijel Savic Ra (RS), Gautam Narang (IN), Louis Perentos (CY), Effie Halivopoulou (GR), Hans Bernhard (CH/AT), Rimacona (Natsuko Yanagimoto and Marihiko Hara) (JP), Ian Wojtowicz (CA), Margaret-Catherine Perivoliotis (GR), Ioana Raluca Noveanu (RO/FR), Kartz Ucci (CA/US), Laura Dodson (US/GR), Marc Schmitz (DE/MN), Maria Lianou (CY/GR), Michael Dettmer (DE/CY), Michael R. Salmond (US), MiHyun Kim (KR/US), Miriam Jayne Martins Sampaio (PT+CA/PT), Prasenjit Laha (IN/US), Photini Kakouri (CY), Ersi Hatziargyrou (GR), David Guez (FR), Minna Philips (IN/GB), Claudine Caramondani (CY), Evangelos Evangelou (CY), Christiana Solomou (CY), Diomides Nikitas (CY), Remedios Ayala and Paco Balbuena (CH/ES), Rima SAAB (LB), Krisztina Rozanich (HU/IE), Kristoffer Ardena (PH/ES), Roderik Henderson (NL/CA), Sarawut Chutiwongpeti (TH), Sue Huang (US), Sylvia de Swaan (RO/US), Panayiotis Vittis (CY), Vassos Karayiannis (CY), Elena Varnava (CY), Victor Kudakwashe Bagu (ZA), O.K. Parking (NL), Yael Lepek (IL), Clayton Merrell (VE/US), Zory (IR/GB), Istvan Rozanich (HU), Natalie Demetriou (CY/GB), Thekla Stavrou (CY), Erato Kantouna (CY)

Sponsors

Evagoras & Kathleen Lanitis Foundation, The Cultural Services of the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Art Vision, Eureka
Media Sponsors: CyBC, KANALI 6