"No Park over Pain" is a positional narrative regarding my reactions during the first visit to the fenced-off Varosha, Famagusta, in early November 2020. Varosha is illegally opened by Turkey in October 2020, ignoring all United Nations resolutions. A translation in English will follow soon.
This is the first publication of the Thinking Dog Editions, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Thinking Dog Editions deal with minor practices in architecture, urbanism, and visual arts that address issues of politics of space and time
Diffractive spatial practices for urgent pedagogies
Socrates Stratis writes about collectively initiated action projects in a divided Cyprus, creating a liminal space between formal institutional education and activism; manoeuvring through and beyond borders on alternative territories and policies by empowering resistance and co-operation.
Decolonizing archiving practices is about emancipatory actions rather than databases.
It is about conveying a multitude of actions where conflictual narratives exist. The process of democratization of societies in conflict could take place by increasing the degree of access, of the constitution and of interpretation of archives that have to do with collective memory and urban knowledge. In spaces of conflict, however, any kind of public archive, and collective memory are under the control of the dominant political powers. They use them to sustain divisive status quos. ‘Contested Fronts: Commoning Practices for Conflict Transformation’ challenges such control. It is the curatorial project of the Cyprus pavilion, curated by the author, for the 15th Venice Biennale of Architecture. It is an open-source archive, part of an agonistic architecture, that assembles international spatial practices, networks and pedagogical programmes. They are complementary to an activist Cypriot project, the ‘Hands-on Famagusta’ project. They all offer methods, inspirations and imaginaries about constructively transforming conflicts by encouraging the emergence of emancipatory commoning practices to support the commons during a potential reunification of the divided island of Cyprus. In the article I shortly discuss the political dimensions of archive and its use by critical spatial practices. I further on, discuss issues concerning conflict and how its transformation can have constructive or destructive consequences. Additionally, I unpack the three notions constituting the ‘Contested Fronts’ commoning practices, those of countermapping, threshold and controversy. I examine how ‘Contested Fronts’ constitute an open-source archive thanks to its content, to its performativity as well as to its manifestation in the form of exhibition-on-the move.
In this article, I unpack the notion of translocality as an urban design tool that interrelates architecture, infrastructure and territory in Europe. The notion of translocality entails a strategic design tool to form specific relations between mobility and place towards the goal of a European inclusive city. Translocality involves mobility as an agent for co-producing locality as well as territories as hosts for place-making mobilities. I argue that Europan, a 30-year-old biennial urban design competition network for ideas and their implementation, has discreetly set the foundations for collectively addressing the inclusive city, offering many kinds of translocality. The article is based on the examination of diaries and notes of the author’s reflective practice thanks to his involvement in the Europan network. In addition, it examines the documents produced by the reflective practice of Europan. The findings help us formulate a strategic framework for collaborative European networks of urban design that can instigate common urban imaginaries for the inclusive city.
Why Alice is not in Wonderland? Countering the militarized status quo of Cyprus is a narrative, part of the author’s diary. It is a reflection on a critical spatial practice, a performative event, titled “Alice in Meridianland… or the counter-militarization action”, part of the Buffer Fringe Performance Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2019. The critical spatial practice comments on Cyprus’ actual militarization status by offering alternative urban imaginaries for the urban commons of an island without armies. It has taken place along a loop of streets and public spaces both in the north and the south parts of divided Nicosia. “Alice in Meridianland” is a camouflage tactic to conceal its anti-militaristic nature while crossing the guarded checkpoints into the city’s north part. Two tricycles, pulling 3-meter long banners, have followed the loop in opposite directions, three times. They met at designated areas and formed instant spaces of playful interaction. The narrative unpacks the entanglements between the performative event and the city’s users of the streets and public spaces. It unfolds how the event has generated new associations between the public spaces and the feelings of the participants and of the author. How it readjusted their mental maps and urban imaginaries. The narrative is a reflective tool for critical spatial practices in producing situated knowledge.
This FOMA in Architectuul is dedicated to the modernist architecture in Cyprus. Socrates Stratis is in search of the unseeing architecture and the cities following the novel The City and the City by China Mieville.
The article is in Greek. It is part of a collective volume about Place / Landscape to celebrate Demetris Philippides work. The actual article is about our critical competition contribution (2nd prize) about the Mari Memorial in Cyprus. More precisely, we use architecture as spatial agency to show alternative ways of collective remembering of manmade disasters, away from dominant ones produced by religious and nationalistic practices.
This article is about reclaiming a political form of urbanism before the potential Cyprus reunification by enhancing, through the Hands-on Famagusta project, “agonistic” collective practices across the Cypriot divide.