Christina Georgiou © 2019

Mapping the Body, Embodying the Map

MAPPING THE BODY, EMBODYING THE MAP

site-specific interventions

Five site-specific performance interventions at the border of the city of Nicosia, within the Venetian walls

Part of the project:
"Mapping the Body, Embodying the Map:
a corporeal taxonomy into a topographical transformation at the border of Nicosia"

August 2011
Duration: various


"Quid pro quo" - intervention #1

Realization: 8 August 2011
Location: Ledra Palace crossing point, from the South to the North side of Nicosia
Duration: 10 minutes

Materials: Artist's body, border of Nicosia, artist's mother

I carry my mother while walking towards Ledra Palace crossing point in an endeavor to cross the border of Nicosia. This action is an action of exchange, a favor for a favor for my mother and all the mothers who were carrying their children while moving away from home during the exile.

 

The artists' mother has been exiled together with her family from the North to the South part of Cyprus in 1974. With this action the artist is transporting her mother back home as a payback. There is a negotiation between mother and child, where the parent that used to be the carrier of the helpless child receives the favor after 37 years, as the child realizes the mother's wish to go back to where she belongs. The child becomes the motivator, because of the mother's endless wish.

 

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"Sewing the borderline I" - intervention #2

Realization: 8 August 2011
Location: Along the Green Line within the Venetian walls at the South part of Nicosia, from the west to the east side.
Duration: 2 hours

Materials: Artist's body, border of Nicosia, needle, red thread, white dress

I sew the line that divides the city of Nicosia with a red thread on the white dress that I am wearing, during my walk along the so-called Green Line. The architectural buildings on and next to the buffer zone determine the shape of my walk and therefore the shape of the red line on the dress, as they force me to turn towards different directions in order to reach the Green Line and complete my route.

 

The line is created according to the movement of the body and the attitude of the body is described on the dress while being archived in a simultaneous manner.

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"Measuring the border" - intervention #3

Realization: 9 August 2011
Location: Along the Green Line within Nicosia walls, from east to west.
Duration: 3.30 hours

Materials: Artist's body, border of Nicosia, white charcoal

I use my body, and particularly the length of my open arms, as a tool to measure the length of the buffer zone, within the Venetian walls of Nicosia. Through my intention and action, the body changes several positions in relation to the site while being executed on the ground or on the buildings' walls. During my action I calculate how many open arms of my body are used in order to measure the buffer zone length.

 

This durational intervention became an intense physical experience where the body was used in its totality through a constant repetitive action and the mind was deeply concentrated to realize this unit of repetitive actions. The length of the border was estimated: 1285 embraces.

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"Sewing the borderline II" - intervention #4

Realization: 10 August 2011
Location: Along the borderline within the Venetian walls at the South part of Nicosia, from west to east.
Duration: 2 hours

Materials: Artist's body, border of Nicosia, needle, red thread

I sew the dividing line with a red thread on my left palm while walking along the Green Line within the Venetian walls of Nicosia.

 

The line is created according to the movement of the body and the attitude of the body is described on the palm while being archived in a simultaneous manner.

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"Voicing the border" - intervention #5

Realization: 11 August 2011
Location: Along the borderline within the Venetian walls at the South part of Nicosia, from west to east.
Duration: 1, 5 hours

Materials: Artist's body and voice

I walk along the buffer zone of Nicosia and I use my body to speak or sing to and for the divide.


Documentation

Photography & Video: Nicolas Melis, Anna Stylianidou & Julia Andreou



"I have very little to add to Christina’s statement about this project, except that I find it much more penetrating than the description she gives. Although this is a conceptual performance and seems to incorporate some theoretical background (in which and so that the object – the performance – may be situated and mapped) it is very emotional, very much about universal feelings of loss and wanting to belong to the place and to the people that surround us, or wanting them to be somehow craved in our skin. It reminds me of Sokurov’s Mother and Son (when we see the son carrying his sick mother through a long walk), but also of Francis Alys’ performances and some female photographers’ work, as Hanna Wilke, so to say it is as particular – related to topographical notions of the body and a fragmented idea of the urges that same body can accept – as it is close to us all."

~Posted on 27 November 2011, in nihilsentimentalgia.com online publication

 

>The 4 interventions are part of the MA Thesis Project "Mapping the Body, Embodying the Map: a corporeal taxonomy into a topographical transformation at the border of Nicosia" by Christina Georgiou.

 

"I served as one of Georgiou's supervisors for her MA Thesis: Mapping the Body, Embodying the Map: a corporeal taxonomy into a topographical transformation at the border of Nicosia. The thesis included site-specific installations and body-works as well as substantial theoretical and art-historical discourse. Her Thesis was one of the most accomplished to come out of the MA programme in Live Art and Performance Studies as the Theatre Academy Helsinki.

Her artistic research took place on the border of Nicosia, in a black-box space in Helsinki, and on the surface of her own body. She reproduced a map of the border by stitching it into her hand with needle and thread, thereby deploying a methodology to reproduce the affective state associated with the actual cut in the terrain of Nicosia. The focus of much of her work is in this 'cross-over' area between sites and the bodies that inhabit them, where the body is subjectified by the site, but is also subjected and subjucated to the interpellation produced by the border and 50+ years of political division. What is unique about Georgiou's work is her ability to translate her history into visually resonant gestures, installations and graphics, and to 'alchemically' transmute historical pain into positive and constructive cultural engagements."

~Dr. William Ray Langenbach (US), 2015 : Professor of Live Art & Performance Studies Graduate Program, Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki - Finland

You can read the MA Thesis Project here.