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Christmass ecard from Manifesta Foundation

The race for the Green Line as a cultural commodity has begun.

Most of us in Cyprus understand that this division, a legacy which many of us have inherited, confronts us with the residues of an un-welcomed conflict, a time both past and present, of a socio-political madness. ‘Wishing you all the best for 2005’ offered by International Foundation Manifesta imprinted in a moment of nostalgic indulgence upon an image representing this unresolved political and physical division is an act of colonialist madness disguised as cultural liberalism, a liberalism which is willing to submerge and consume the sensitive dynamics of a place in favour of the international cultural object. The “green line” unfortunately still exists as an open wound for all Cypriots. Artists and curators must exercise both sensitivity and caution when using either its imagery or physicality so not to dislocate the space from its inherent political and social urgency and merely exploit it as “cultural capital” for the purpose of self-valorisation.

But then again…

“What difference does it make to create ten happy islands in a world where everything keeps functioning just like before? In this way the institution is not being attacked. Madness is being recuperated, encapsulated by the system and loses its function to subversive activity.”
(Asylum – to dwell in Strangeness by R.D.Laing quoting Dr David Cooper)

Limassol, February 2005


4 Comments for "Open letter to Manifesta by Helene Black"

On 10 March 2005, 12:21
Aspasia wrote:

I think that you should leave the matter alone!!! The Nicosia airport is a space which is very 'in' for art shows. In fact we should not mix art with politics.


On 11 March 2005, 11:24
Bas wrote:

How can you separate art from politics aspasia?


On 11 March 2005, 11:33
Helene wrote:

My response is a quote from Luis Camnitzer in "Access to the Mainstream".
"We live the alienating myth of primarily being artists.
We are not.
We are primarily ethical beings sifting right from wrong and just from unjust, not only in the realm of the individual but in communal and regional contexts.
Inorder to survive ethically we need a political awareness that helps us understand our environment and develop strategies for our actions.
Art becomes the instrument of our choice to implement these strategies."


On 9 April 2005, 09:19
Limassol Artist wrote:

Political worlds are seldom seen as being fair or for that matter balanced, most of what we see or hear can appear ilogical. Behind closed doors and away from the media is where the real politics are. The everyday man needs to speak out about injustice, to stand up for what is right and if this means that we use art to promote such awareness then so be it. Sleepy hollows just get forgotten until what is there (be it oil or a strategic poistion) is of greater political gain or value.

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