Revisiting place | Photography workshop with Nicos Philippou

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Your photographic workshops have been connected with Xarkis festival. What differentiates this year’s version from the previous ones? What are your personal expectations?

Last year- first time in Koilani- we worked with vernacular material culture and got some great results. This year we are shifting attention to place, topography and identity. The workshop will overview topographic-photographic representations of Cyprus and will show how these have been loaded with meaning and have come to symbolize cultural orientation in the Cypriot landscape. We will examine the work of colonial traveler-photographers, local romantic photographers of the period after independence, as well as contemporary photographers like Charalambos Artemis, Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Ismini Cahcholiadou and Stelios Kallinikou. We will see how these different image producing contexts turn attention to different aspects of the Cypriot landscape and in doing so define ‘Cypriotness’ differently. Participants will be given guidance in exploring the landscape in and around Koilani, and constructing their own visual topographic essays.

During your long term engagement with the Cypriot landscape, have there been reductions – symbolic, conceptual or pragmatic – from the small scale of the Cypriot context to the wider context of globality?

A, Expansions rather! Yes there is a process of selecting and therefore isolating certain aspects of the otherwise very varied Cypriot landscape and determining what goes in and what stays out of my polaroids- a reductive approach. But the goal is to open up rather than close the question of place. My Sharqi polaroids, for instance, are focusing on an arid rather than a fertile Cypriot landscape in order to challenge Eurocentric perceptions of place and instead suggest a re-connection with the Middle East. After all the title- Sharqi- is the Arabic word for Sirocco, the Middle Eastern wind that blows in the dust clouds from the Sahara; a metaphor for regional cultural influences. Arizona a current ongoing project in collaboration with poet Marilena Zackheos pushes this further making connections with the Far West in order, again, to offer possibilities of re-imagining Cyprus.          

“All photographic technologies are welcome”. Has the condition of specialised photographic equipment demystified the taking of a remarkable result?

Photography is (or should be) first and foremost about perspective; about the observer’s perception and evaluation of her surroundings whether these are social and cultural or landscapes in our case. It’s the mind that sees and the mind is not made up of complicated technological components and expensive lenses. It is instead a complex web of values, culture, ideology, literature, music and so on. Over-reliance on, and fetishization of, expensive equipment and technique can lead to technically immaculate images but not necessarily to interesting ones. It is that unique and edgy vision of certain minds that produces the remarkable ones. Any photographic technology at hand can produce extra-ordinary representations of the world in the hands of that right mind. It’s quality of mind and vision we should be in pursuit of, then, and not expensive equipment. I am tempted to push this even further and claim that “poor” equipment and the photographic accidents they produce can, often, provide possibilities for imagining the world in ways we never considered before.        

Questions: Anastasia Prokopi Taki, Photos: Christina Skarpari

 Revisiting Place | Photography Workshop
Xarkis Festival 2018 | Koilani
Part 1, 18th of August | 10:00-11:30 
Part 2, 19th of August | 11:00- 13:00 📸🇨🇾

FREE BOOKINGS: xarkisfestival.org

The attachment of meaning to nature and its specific components, is closely linked to structures and perceptions of communal and national identities. In representational practices, textual as well as visual, certain aspects of the natural environment become symbolic and acquire meaning. This workshop will overview topographic-photographic representations of Cyprus and will show how these have been loaded with meaning and have come to symbolize cultural orientation in the Cypriot landscape. The workshop will showcase the work of colonial traveler-photographers, local romantic photographers of the period after independence, as well as contemporary photographers like Charalambos Artemis, Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Ismini Cahcholiadou and Stelios Kallinikou. It will demonstrate how these different image producing contexts turn attention to different aspects of the Cypriot landscape and in doing so define ‘Cypriotness’ differently. Participants will be given guidance in exploring the landscape in and around Koilani, and constructing their own visual topographic essays. All photographic technologies, photographic “accidents” and hybrid techniques (like collage) are welcome, as well as Polaroid cameras, mobile phones, Lomography devices and super expensive Leicas. Come with a hungry eye!

 

 Bio

Nicos Philippou is a photographer with a strong interest in the Cypriot vernacular, topographic and material culture. He has participated in several exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad. In 2010 he co-curated the exhibition Re-envisioning Cyprus and co-edited the volume with the same title. In 2012 he participated in the exhibition Sense of Place/ European Landscape Photography at the BOZAR in Brussels and in at Maroudia’s, a component of the major NiMAC exhibition Terra Mediterranea-In Crisis. In 2015 his book Coffee House Embellishments was shown in The PhotoBook Exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens. He is also the co-editor of Photography and Cyprus: Time, Place, Identity. In 2016 NiMAC hosted his solo exhibition Sharqi, and published a photobook with the same title. His writings on photography, vernacular culture and Cypriot Identity have been published in journals, art magazines and collective volumes. He is currently lecturing at the Communications Department of the University of Nicosia.

 Revisiting Place | Photography Workshop
Xarkis Festival 2018 | Koilani
Part 1, 18th of August | 10:00-11:30 
Part 2, 19th of August | 11:00- 13:00

Η απόδοση νοήματος στην φύση και σε συγκεκριμένα στοιχεία της είναι στενά συνδεδεμένη με δομές και αντιλήψεις κοινοτικών και εθνικών τυτοτήτων. Σε γραπτές και οπτικές πρακτικές αναπαράστασης, μερικά στοιχεία του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος ανάγονται σε σύμβολα και αποκτούν νόημα. Αυτό το εργαστήρι θα αναθεωρήσει τοπογραφικές – φωτογραφικές αναπαραστάσεις της Κύπρου και θα δείξει πώς αυτές έχουν φορτιστεί με νόημα, συμβολίζοντας τον πολιτισμικό προσανατολισμό της Κύπρου μέσα από το Κυπριακό τοπίο. Το εργαστήρι θα παρουσιάσει το έργο ταξιδιωτών – φωτογράφων της αποικιακής περιόδου αλλά και ντόπιων Ρομαντικών φωτογράφων από την περίοδο μετά την ανεξαρτησία. Θα δείξει επίσης το έργο σύγχρονων φωτογράφων όπως του Χαράλαμπου Αρτέμη, της Θεοπίστης Στυλιανού Λάμπερτ, της Ισμήνης Χαχολιάδου και του Στέλιου Καλλινίκου. Θα παρουσιάσει τον τρόπο με τον οποίο τα διάφορα πλαίσια παραγωγής αναπαραστάσεων στρέφουν την προσοχή σε διαφορετικές πτυχές του Κυπριακού τοπίου, ερμηνεύοντας έτσι την “Κυπριακότητα” διαφορετικά. Οι συμμετέχοντες θα καθοδηγηθούν στην εξερεύνηση του τοπίου στο Κοιλάνι και στην γύρω περιοχή, και στη δημιουργία δικών τους οπτικών τοπογραφικών έργων. Όλες οι φωτογραφικές τεχνολογίες, τα φωτογραφικά “ατυχήματα” και οι υβριδικές τεχνικές (όπως το κολάζ) είναι ευπρόσδεκτες, όπως επίσης και οι κάμερες polaroid, τα κινητά τηλέφωνα, οι συσκευές lomography και οι πανάκριβες Leicas. Κοπιάστε με πεινασμένο μάτι!

 Βιογραφικό

Ο Νίκος Φιλίππου είναι φωτογράφος με έντονο ενδιαφέρον για την Κυπριακή λαϊκή υλική κουλτούρα και την τοπογραφία. Συμμετείχε σε διάφορες εκθέσεις στην Κύπρο και στο εξωτερικό. Το 2010 συν-επιμελήθηκε την έκθεση Re-envisioning Cyprus καθώς και τον τόμο με τον ομώνυμο τίτλο. Το 2012 συμμετείχε στην έκθεση Sense of Place/ European Landscape Photography στο BOZAR στις Βρυξέλλες και στην Maroudia’s, ένα μέρος της μεγάλης έκθεσης Terra Mediterranea-In Crisis στο NiMAC. Το 2015 το βιβλίο του Coffee House Embellishments παρουσιάστηκε στο The PhotoBook Exhibition στο Μουσείο Μπενάκη στην Αθήνα. Είναι επίσης συν-επιμελητής του Photography and Cyprus: Time, Place, Identity. Το 2016 το NiMAC φιλοξένησε τη σόλο έκθεση του Sharqi και δημοσίευσε το ομώνυμο φωτογραφικό βιβλίο. Τα γραπτά του σε σχέση με τη φωτογραφία, τον πολιτισμό και την κυπριακή ταυτότητα έχουν δημοσιευθεί σε βιβλία, περιοδικά τέχνης και συλλογικούς τόμους. Διδάσκει στο Τμήμα Επικοινωνίας του Πανεπιστημίου Λευκωσίας.

 

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