'. $site_title .'Rose Butler



The project UNLAND was initiated after visiting the policed borders and fences that surround the extensive seaside resort of Varosha in Northern Cyprus. Varosha was once a grand and fashionable resort and home to 40,000 people, but remains sealed off as a militarised zone since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. When I visited it it remained totally inaccessible and photographs of the resort were restricted by the Turkish police.

I filmed openly in the tourist area and covertly next to the fences to make the digital short below Look at Those Palm Trees (2019). This was a way of sketching, looking analysing and testing the edges of looking, the hierarchies of seeing and the conflicted nature of this contested space.

I decided that Lidar scanning and photogrammetry could be an interesting way to document this site. LiDar uses a laser to generate point cloud data to create high resolution 3D mapping of the exterior or internal surface of objects for scientific, geographical and forensic use. It creates an image made up of point clouds where the edges fall away, creating maps of surfaces in their shell like form.

It seemed the right kind of technology to use to document inaccessible or empty spaces or objects that were hollow, in stasis, no longer inhabited or abandoned through military force. By 2021 the Turkish-backed government of Northern Cyprus had reopened a 10km section of the former beach resort to tourists.

I invited artists Kypros Kyprianou and Jeremy Lee to collaborate following funding granted by Arts Council England; Developing your Creative Practice. The project outline was developed in partnership with Helene Black and Yiannis Colokides who lead NeMe in Limassol.

The project is funded by Arts Council England, the Ministry of Culture, Cyprus, the Centre of Research Excellence in Cyprus (CYENS) and the Art Design and Media Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. The research (alongside a workshop in LiDar and photogrammetry) was presented at the Centre of Research Excellence in Cyprus (CYENS), Nicosia, Cyprus (November 2021).

Kyp's documentation is here: https://neveroddoreven.org/unland/

More information and an interview is published here in We Make Money Not Art:

UNLAND presents both documented and fictional material of the Cyprus buffer zone, Varosha and British military bases, as well as areas of bicommunal activity and farming. These spaces can appear extremely defined and frozen, in part through military and surveillance architecture, as well as the work of the United Nations within the buffer zone. Many areas are blurred and mutable, straddling areas of leisure, nature reserves, tourist areas, farming, and decommissioned zones. These areas appear, strange, uncanny, seemingly in stasis. They can be fascinating, intriguing and hold aesthetic qualities that are at odds with the control, violent history, or their historical and contemporary militarisation. These artworks extend the threshold of the visible through contemporary imaging techniques complemented by the particular ways that artists ‘look’ through making work. The focus of this project has been to move representation of these complex spaces beyond navigation, illustration, aestheticisation or documentation.

Alongside Jeremy Lee I used photography, video, LiDar scanning and photogrammetry to make work as travel restrictions took hold. High resolution and forensic technologies were restricted by the lived reality of the pandemic and created different types of borders and barriers to navigate. The ‘quality’ of the images instead present a ‘point of view’ that attempts to capture the impossibility of recording and representing complex sites through imagery.

Kypros worked, by necessity, remotely, using online archives, mapping and machine learning. Through these processes he has made fictionalised still and moving image works that interrupt and alter viewer perception through stereoscopes, maps and ‘pepper’s ghost’ illusions.

The use of these technologies extends and disrupts their geographical, military and forensic antecedence. ‘Visioning’ is disturbed, warped and ‘messed up’ whilst also being extended. Their processes reject ‘definition’ and resolution in favour of ‘messy data’. These undercurrents come to the surface, affect the quality of the image, create alternative textures, disturb the image and unsettle representation and reporting of sites of conflict. Rather than enhancing the ‘quality’ of the images, technologies expose the gaps, flaws, or what is missing. Through this they present the overlooked, beneath the surface, hidden, accidental or malfunctioning manifestations of ‘visioning’.