Is This My City? Nicosia, part #1 & #2

Is_this_my_city_Christos_Polymenakos small Site(s) Specific Performance Writing Installation in Virtual and Physical Space


What is the language that makes questions most accessible to inhabitants, workers and passers by? How might a question placed in an abandoned due to the financial crisis high-street store and the printed and online version of the hip free press, may raise questions of belonging and claiming of a collectively desirable inhabiting of a place?

Going on from questioning what is our body and how it relates to other human, non human, non living entities, and moving to questions of semi public space, came this challenge while living in the divided capital of Cyprus. Commissioned by ex body/word Performance Writing students, intrigued by the abandoned stores made available for the PopUp Nicosia Festival I decided to use two venues as pages.

The title question occupied the shop’s window and emptied label. The question mark was placed on a mirror in the back of the shop, visible through the cut outs, along with the reflection of the inside of the abandoned shop, the external surroundings and the reader. On entering you could experience the word City moving around in a phantasmal manner in the empty space. Both the word and its movement were created by the outside lights -natural or those of the diminished traffic on the previously very busy, expensive high street.

 A few days later a full page of the very popular, nationally distributed in thousands of copies, also worldwide available online, free press “CITY” would host a picture of the elusive words and a screenshot of notes on a poem inspired by the questions and the experience of the physical piece.

A simple question reworked in the multimodal spirit of body/word Performance Writing, challenging the fixity of writing and the power related to this fixity, opening up to more ways to imagine ways of being in a place, along with others.

Many thanks to George Philipou for commissioning the piece and Christina Shiakola for her visual arts and setting up both pages contribution.  

Premier: Π.Χ. (e.g.) Shop, 8 & 9 October 2013, 30 Ethnarhou Makariou Avenue, Nicosia, Cyprus, CITY FREE PRESS print & online version, 8 October 2013  

Interview in Greek