during the winter of 2014 angus reid and i started thinking about doing a project in Nicosia, Cyprus. having spent a few days there we realised we wanted to return for a self-directed residency with the intention of making a portrait of the city.
we made our plans and the work i did in glasgow (see previous blog entry http://dindafass.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/catching-up-with-2-0-1-5-1-jan-march.html) allowed me to take time out from edinburgh, and in April 2015 i flew to cyprus for a three month work period.
part of our project was to produce postcard editions of our work as we went along as a way of distributing our images, giving people a free hand held version of our work, and inviting people in Nicosia to respond to the work. we used the Scottish Storytelling Centre as a 'post restante' address and although a few cards did find their way back to Scotland, it was during our exhibitions in Nicosia where we had the full set of postcards available in a stand that we collected the most comments. a couple of the final edition postcards below -
i spent the beginning part of the residency cycling around the outer limits of Nicosia, i was curious to find out where the city met the industrial / rural. i came across plenty of blockages, flags demarcating division, and entropic zones where the static nature of the island's division made itself perfectly clear. although i wanted to see these things with my own eyes i decided (in keeping with my intentions for the work in Nicosia) to focus on the living city and it's people; to make photographs of citizens from both sides of the city going about their daily lives as it unfolds in the street. i learnt that i'm not an assignment photographer, i am happier working as a flaneur, keeping my camera with me wherever i go. i make better images this way.
in addition to the the street photography, which i made with a 35mm camera and black and white film an opportunity presented itself to me which i couldn't refuse. i was able, accompanied by angus and a (very patient) UN soldier, to walk along the green line, a military buffer zone which divides the north of the city from the south, city streets which have been empty since 1974. the previous weeks i had been thinking about eyes - the eyes of the street being represented by the shutters of the shops coming up and down daily as the course of the day plays out - and i knew immediately that i wanted to walk the length of the green line making images with my eyes closed using disposable cameras. i will write more in another post about eyes closed photography and the conscious de-skilling of the photographic act. out of these two bodies of work i made the work below, a slideshow / video eyes open / eyes closed , for the exhibitions in september. all the colour images were made with my eyes closed guided by non-visual cues
we had two exhibitions to share our work in Nicosia, one in the north in an ancient municipal building, the Bedesten, within the city walls, and the other in a commercial gallery space outside the city walls in the south. alot of work! and very interesting to experience the differences between showing in a commercial space and a community centred space. what with translations of our press release, framing of paintings and hiring of monitors and moving all this back and forth across the border several times in languages not our own meant we couldn't have done any of it without the help of the amazing friends we made in the short space of time that we were working there.
to see the excellent work that angus made in Nicosia please follow the link below
to read some press coverage about our exhibition please follow the links below