“We call upon voices of resistance. We challenge the globalization of the built environment. We accentuate the crafting of humanitarian constructed fragments. We augment the simplicities of everyday rituals. We note the synergy of the untouched and the harnessed environment. We record an interwoven scenography of nature and the human condition”.
Curators of the Cyprus Pavilion
‘I Am Where You Are’ is a platform for communication. By highlighting, questioning and then deconstructing sets of binaries, key to cultural perceptions in and about Cyprus, we disengage from convention. Multiplicities, found in-between these binaries, “built_unbuilt, tradition_modernity, Island of Love_place of conflict, immigration_local identity”, are revealed in the pavilion, allowing unexpected experiences to be celebrated.
Architecture is the mediator and the lens used to investigate these often-unnoticed conditions. We focus on the importance of the architectural section. The Pavilion show-cases significant contemporary innovative projects, and incorporates important ancient and vernacular works. We collapse notions of time/space and presence/non-presence, utilizing digital and interactive means. The physicality of the body of the visitor dissolves, as it is enveloped in a wearable apparatus and immersed into a moving-scape of simultaneous projections.
‘I Am Where You Are’, because we are constantly moving and shifting, both physically and digitally. We continuously transform, therefore, ‘ I encompass some of what you are and you encompass some of what I am’. The Cyprus Pavilion becomes a transmitter and a receiver: within the exhibit, visitors interact with people in Cyprus and are transported virtually in space and time into the Cypriot context. Different languages, customs, cultures etiquette and built forms we experience on a daily basis mix and merge. They bring into focus that which differentiates, connects and binds us together.
The team is made up of a diverse international group of architects, a practicing video artist and a museologist. The Curators have collaborated on several projects in the past. In 2016 they represented Cyprus as the Curators of the State Pavilion for the Milano Triennale with their project ‘Human Topographies_Emerging Identities’. In 2010 they collaborated on the design for the A.R.C which houses the Department of Architecture at University of Nicosia. A.Swiny and Y.Hadjichristou have been working and teaching together at the Department of Architecture, UNic, since 2008. V. Antoniou and Y.Hadjichristou have collaborated in design projects since 2004. In 2014 V. Antoniou established Urban Gorillas (a non-for- profit organization involved in urban actions through community engagement) where Y.Hadjichristou is a member of the board.
Alessandra Swiny is an Architect of American and British origin. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard/Columbia University (2000) and a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University (2004) in the United States. She is currently the Head of the Department of Architecture, and an Associate Professor, at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, where she has been teaching since 2005 and is a tenured faculty member.
Yiorgos Hadjichristou is Professor at the Department of Architecture of the University of Nicosia. He studied at the Kiev University (Master in Architecture -Kiev Institute of Architecture -KICI – 1989) and at the Kyoto University (Research Course in Aritecture- Kyoto University- 1992). His studies were funded by the Scholarship system granted to Cyprus by the Ex-Soviet Union and the Monbusho Minister of Education of Japan. He also holds a Diploma to teach the Russian language to foreigners received at the Kiev Institute of Architecture (1989).
Veronika Antoniou is the co-founder and creative director of Urban Gorillas, a Nicosia-based NGO. She is also a licensed architect, landscape designer and urban planner. Her work spans many aspects and includes the practice of architecture, socially-engaged art and research on sustainable cities. Her academic work was funded by Japanese ministry of Education and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Professional experience includes architectural projects in Japan, Switzerland and Cyprus. Her work has been exhibited in international exhibitions like the Venice Biennale and the Maxxi Museum. Since 2014 she has been actively involved in the operation and promotion of Urban Gorillas.
Video artist (http://youarehereelsewhere.com/)
Museologist and museum educator