Performing the place
“In July 2022, we visited the enclosed ghost city of Famagusta for the first time after its opening in 2020. We spent hours walking along the deserted streets, looking at the empty buildings, houses, shops and hotels abandoned and decayed and trying to imagine what was the life of its residents before 1974. Walking amongst tourist who like us were viewing this macabre spectacle taking pictures and videos, we began to question our role too as Spectators in the Ghost City. The walking performance shown on screen as part of the Cyprus Exhibition installation in PQ, is an attempt to connect with the memories of the ghost city of Famagusta. What does it mean to carry ones “home” on their back where “home” is the shell for narratives and lived memories connected and collected within a space?” MC
For the making of this performance, artist Melita Couta has created two maquettes/ backpack luggages based on the architecture of existing buildings in Famagusta. In March 2023, the two performers Melita Couta and Pascal Caron begun a walking journey along the South East coast of Cyprus, carrying these model/ luggages on their backs and looking at Famagusta from afar. Their journey takes them on a watch tower close to the green line, where they are allowed to view Famagusta through rented binoculars. Their coastal journey is interrupted by barriers and fences where crossing is prohibited. As the performers arrive and enter the enclosed area of Famagusta, the maquettes are no longer on their backs. They become the real buildings of the city. Their walking experience continues as they leave Famagusta behind and finally extends to the journey to Prague, as these travelling maquettes find their way to PQ Holešovice Market.