Nicosia water tanks | Aristide Antonas

When we talk about architecture we also talk about environment, cities, art, research. The Nicosia water tanks project by Aristide Antonas [with the collaboration of Katerina Koutsogianni & Elina Axioti] is about the water systems of divided Nicosia in Cyprus and was inaugurated as a proposal for the unrealized “manifesta” in Cyprus, submitted then as a common work with the photographer Armin Linke.

Focusing the research as some kind of archaeological search, all their findings are accurated organized and with some descriptions added. The work is presented as a local displaced reading of a Bruno Latour‘s text about Paris, where he wrote:

The aim of this sociological opera is to wander through the city, in texts and images, exploring some of the reasons why it cannot be captured at a glance.

In the same way, Antonas and Linke tried to capture Nicosia’s glance focusing on what they called a “creation of finds” as a representation of one of the Cyprus most serious problems: the lack of water.

Impossible landscape. Nicosia when raining

Antonas describe their work saying that the selection of the collection does not really takes into consideration the particular, chosen pieces but the space formed by their interval. Instead of that, the void in between the collection pieces is more significant than any piece of the collection itself.

The fragmented character of the research process anticipates any methodology. A glorification of it is under preparation in this particular accumulation. Furthermore this creation of a specific void in the center of a field is the only possible target, still vague, defined by its eventual character. The construction of finds creates their in between space. The mere fact that a void is finally installed there is neither not important. It is the shape of this void that they try to describe.

It has been discussed in other blogs how infrastructures shapes our cities and landscapes and how their presence is important to understand them. Following these concepts, this deep research about Nicosia was done to be understood as remarkable particles of an invisible unified network of a divided city.

Again in Antonas words:

The creation of finds is a work that transubstantiates unimportant pieces to simulacra of research remains. This series of documents and representation pieces is proved more complicated than a series of fragments collected from a “real” coherent research. It seeks a reading and the question of a collection’s origin installs what could be called “aesthetic dimension” of the work. This transubstantiation of the pieces to a collection is a work of art, but also this passage from the fragments to a collection is the way we can think about philosophy or theory today: we remember the Benjamin description of his work as a collection of text’s fragments put in line and elaborated on the articulations that rule their connections.

There is a void that is shaped, the in between space of the created finds that is important, not the material per se.

That’s why we can use Latour’s words to put this research in context, when he says that “no pretty pictures here, only slow motion; no picturesque accounts, only theory. Yet the text has no aim other than putting graphic documents into tension; documents that have no purpose other than covering Paris [Nicosia for us], seen from a certain angle, followed along a certain route, behind certain vehicles.”

Design of trunk sewer

– The complete photo-set with 573 photos, 15 videos can be visited at Antona’s flickr account, here.
– PDF and issuu document about the project, both English and Greek, here.

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