Re Aphrodite is an independent group of practitioners and researchers (initially Cyprus related) focusing on issues of gender, social difference, and other political and social paradoxes through research, educational, curatorial, and creative practices. The initiative first emerged in 2010 out of the joint research interests of Chrystalleni Loizidou and Evanthia Tselika. It has since been developing into a porous collective that works on projects that bridge and challenge institutions from the inside.
Shrines/HabAn evolving abstract for an evolving installation
Shrines/Habits in the kitchen of the Shelley House,
Planites Exhibition curated by Elena Parpa,
This came out of conversations about learning and art, which somehow blended into discussions about Aphrodite and Yemanja (and then Kali, and then Panayia), and an exchange between socially engaged art practices in Rio and Nicosia. These may seem disparate threads but they are not in that they reflect on ways of understanding transition: transition in terms of the role of art in schools towards the integration of marginalised communities, transition or flow of belief systems and the rearticulation of religious rituals through migration (examined not towards an assertion of ‘multiculturalisms,’ but in view of essential[ist] human continuities), and finally about the development of an active practice around these issues with local immediacy in specific political contexts (what we found ourselves doing, during our time off).
What this evolving installation is about can be interchangeably referred to as the shrines, or the habits, or the project, or the exchanges, or ‘the colcha.’ It has been shaped through points of contact which allow us to ponder how different threads are inter-weaved, narrating mulher (woman), through logos (speech) and eikona (image). Elements of ritualistic practices are reflected in habits of political mobilisation, our performance of community, and of how we are in our everyday(s). As the piece re-enacts its own transitional enquiry, dialogues arise through the point of contact between places, deities, people. Pointing at a translatability of ideas which considers the elusiveness of the commons in our language and in our experiences.
In this kitchen, Re Aphrodite is Evanthia (Evi) Tselika, Chrystalleni Loizidou, and Athina Antoniadou, working with Stephanos Stephanides, Rosa Couloute, Sylvat Aziz, Christiane Lopes Da Cunha, Michelle Mattiuzzi, Natalie Yiaxi, the Federation of Filipino Organisations in Cyprus, and others.
**unsent draft | August 6, 2016, Niteroi, Rio
We haven't figured out how to display “Mary Forbidden” yet. We started setting up yesterday and had a chat on the cloth today while some of the other projects in the exhibition were in mid-installation amidst lots and lots of freely roaming visitors -- there were people and children sleeping next to us while we were setting up. It's part of the beautiful politics of this museum (and there's so much more to be said): it makes sense considering its roundness: things are fluid and blend into each other. The day before was very long and we spent it co-ordinating with the exhibition museologist / production manager, a truly glorious and elusive figure, and the day before that we even more gloriously failed to print the Mary: we haven't been able to produce a presentable copy. The colours were off and the paper wasn't right. If there had been time (we leave on Monday) I would have wanted to try again but this time print smaller.
**notes since getting back to Cyprus
Guilherme emphasised that he is very interested in showing the Mary but we explained that it shouldn't be displayed in this form. Apart from releasing a detail of the piece in relation to a web-event, I'm becoming very sensitive to how she is to be presented. I don't think it's something to glance at in passing, but to take time to leaning in. I would like people to have intimate space to zoom in, like I keep doing.
August is Mary's holiday in Cyprus.
Everything here is very quiet.
unedited: This is where we’ll be installing tomorrow / bringing-“inside” work that was put together (for) outside, and that developed during discussions around the politics of labour, of the where and when and how of contemporary mobilisation (in public spaces under various regimes of control / during time-off / considering the need to work outside, beyond or despite institutional affiliations and official hats / ... ). The MAC is an interesting place to help with this investigation, not only for its roundness but for its social / learning-oriented agenda, and also for the way that its director (Luiz Guilherme Vergara, who invited this project to Brazil) talks about institutional precariousness in relation to the current political climate (notably in conversation with Jessica Gogan of Instituto MESA, who has extremely interesting work across curation, education, and socially engaged art). Dizzying enough, no? At the same time we’re caught in a series of circles: There’s the circular cloth we made for a park in Nicosia, a ritual tool for understanding lines of difference, one that has allowed us to observe and begin to discuss (not least our own) inclusive and exclusive spatial practices. Bringing this process here, at this time, means having to respond to an expanded sense of these lines of difference, or these spatial practices of inclusion and exclusion, or of the conflict (no it isn’t different here. It’s the exact same thing) even on and about this cloth. So there’s the circle of the cloth, the circle of the MAC, and the circles of the Olympics - complementary to the heaving of the favela, of the sea, and of the military. Oh and of facebook [more on that later]. At least some of it is in writing now -- let’s see how the installation / this bringing-”inside” goes.
Re Aphrodite was invited by the mushroom-shaped Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum in Rio, Brasil. This is interesting because it coincides with the organisation of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brasil. More importantly it's a collaboration with Instituto MESA, which has been developing an especially sensitive type of social practice that we have a lot of respect for.
In the mean time we're in Cyprus, and here's an invitation:
We're working on what we call Shrines / Habits which looks like a series of public space interventions or fluid installations. These reflect on old and new every-day femininities, rituals and habits as they are embraced, denied, rejected, exposed, and as they allow insight on pluralities and forced / voluntary processes of transition and migration. We set these up in a way open to investigations, additions, and exchanges by friends and strangers, and they occasionally take the form of shrines that help us think across lines of segregation and difference. Join us.
We meet 11am, 3rd Sunday of every month (2016), at the Nicosia Municipal Gardens, Cyprus. More on https://www.facebook.com/ReAphrodite/
Re Aphrodite is an independent, not for profit, group of practitioners, researchers, activists and different individuals and social organizations based in Cyprus, which focuses on issues of gender, social difference, and other Cypriot political and social paradoxes through research, educational, curatorial, and creative practice. The initiative first emerged in 2010 and has since been developing into a collective with a wide range of critical academic and creative actions. www.reaphrodite.org
Shrines / Habits travelled to Brazil with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Cyprus and the University of Nicosia.
Shrines / Habits is an on-going itinerant installation of material collected or created through a series of public space interventions by a growing number of friends and strangers. These interventions or habits (set up as non-happenings) evolve in the form of shrines or rituals to Water Goddesses. They consider the overlapping genealogies of these Goddesses, transformations, and transitions, as well as personal modes of habituation, inhabitation, and “free time.” They develop discussions about lines of segregation and difference, about population displacement and the transitions of faith and culture, and they either implicitly or academically ask questions about public space, its control, and its resistance: about labour conditions, about governmentality and freedom, about translation, inclusion, and responsibility to place, about our recovery of the commons, and about contemporary patterns of mobilisation. At the same time, these shrines / habits investigate the circle and the triangle, in their relationships to nature, connectivity, collectivity, and belief.
This installation around the colcha brings to Guanabara Bay moments and works from the Nicosia Municipal Gardens in Cyprus. While here the colcha collects new conversations and collaborations to be presented in another layer in Cyprus and elsewhere.
Re Aphrodite: Colcha de milagres cotidianos (2016)
Cloth sewn together for a series of public actions, shoes and books. 7m diameter.
Re Aphrodite: Liquid Time (2016)
Footage by Athina Antoniadou, Chrystalleni Loizidou, Evanthia Tselika, Marina Andreou, Federation of Filipino Organizations Cyprus. Edited by Evanthia Tselika.
Documentation of actions that took place in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Rio De Janeiro, Brasil from 28.12.2015-06.08.2016.
Beauty and Destruction (2016)
Acrylic on brown paper 2.40m x2.40m
Bast Fooks #7 out of 12 (2016)
Leaving the Harbour of Haloes (2013)
Single-channel animation for wall projection, silent, duration: 9’50” loop
The animation renders carvings of images (graffiti) of ships found in Famagusta ruins dating to the Ottoman siege of Cyprus in 1571. Whether these church drawings related to luck, or love of God, decoration or self-expression it is impossible to tell but the ships were inscribed between haloes and over saints, leaving no trace of a personal name or date. The pictures show ships that were in use from the late 1300’s through the early 20th century: from galleys with oars to three-masted brigs. Each ship moves according to the way it was found: how the sails are filled, and the direction of the hull. No changes were made to the sailors’ drawings. The only distortion is scale.
Hair of Pasatine (2016)
Wearable artefact that refers to the measurements of Sarah Barrtman’s labia majora. The artefact was designed using The Science of Mensuration - ‘The Hottentot Curves’ (2003) - a set of architectural tools that deconstruct the measurements and the words of zoologist Georges Curvier (author of “Extracts of observations made on the Body of a woman known in Paris and London by the name of Venus Hottentot,” 1817).
The process of deconstructing, deciphering and reworking the corporal measurements of the Hottentot Venus has reassigned her positioning as the powerful ‘0’. Despite the garments being fashioned from the decoded measurements reflective of an infamously destructive history inflicted on Baartman, the importance of the garments acessibility to an all-inclusive audience is paramount.”
Hail Mother Kali (1988)
Stephanos Stephanides (director)
Film documentary on the worship of the Goddess Kali in Guyana, America.
Screening date to be announced. http://stephanosstephanides.com