Roleplay spent an extended weekend in Cyprus, the only country other than Greece in this planet that greek is a native language.
We strolled the pedestrian streets of Nicosia's walled centre and visited the occupied northern part on foot from the only crossing available within the old town. In the course of 300m one experiences two passport controls, a few meters of sanitised neutral (=dead) zone and two urban environments that are part of the same town but belong to different administrations and are inhabited by different communities. We noticed that free Nicosia's vibrant café culture has moved towards the green line, in some cases attached to the barricades. It looks like a gentrification procedure has caused the original city centre to be revamped even though it's practically the town's edge.
Attending the first conference on visual communication in Cyprus, "I ♥ Graphic", offered us a glimpse of the current state of the profession in a similar yet distinct market. It was hosted at a great conference venue called "Skali" in Aglantzia district. Among various Cypriot speakers, Yannis Karlopoulos was also invited, his contribution being titled "Love Your Neighbour". We also had the chance to chat with him personally about the graphic design culture of the island, what makes Cyprus an extraordinary place and the fact that today's 30-somethings is the first generation of Cypriots that wasn't born during 1974's invasion, leaving us wondering whether that will make any difference concerning the public posture in future decisions.
First stop was the archeological site of Kourion, near Limassol. An extraordinary location that has been respected by contemporary interventions. We later had the paradoxical experience of entering the mediterranean sea for a swim from British territory in Acrotiri. At least no borders or check points here. An afternoon walk at Limassol's new waterfront promenade underlined the fact that public space is of increasing value in modern Cyprus.
Visiting Cyprus has the particularity that the land's history is largely experienced in space and through visual elements. As seen above, the island's shape as part of the national flag, the "Remember Cyprus" ("Δεν ξεχνώ") campaign that resembles the green line to an open wound, the enormous Turkish Cypriot flag - the cruelest example of visual communication we know of, the circular medieval city of Nicoasia are just a few of the numerous psycho-visual phenomena to be experienced in this strange land. To be continued..