Histories of Maras/Varosha - Two channel videoinstalltion with sound, ca. 20 min. - 2011

»Maras/Varosha is a district in the town of Famagusta in Cyprus. It’s been a closed military zone ever since the Turkish invasion of 1974. Fenced off behind barbed wire and patrolled by guards who arrest anyone taking photos and confiscate their camera, I realized on my first visit that the district is clearly still a tourist attraction despite the strict regulations. After all, it vividly illustrates one of the longest and most controversial conflicts in Europe’s recent history: the division of Cyprus. Even so, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot tour guides are allowed to treat this place as one of their tourist attractions. While standing outside the barbed wire surrounding this ghost town, they tell their listeners about its history and incidents which have occurred there. 

However, there is a strict ban on North Cypriot guides talking to tourists on holiday in the south of the country and vice versa. As a result, visitors hear a different story depending on which side of the island they’re staying on. The version of the truth told about the same place is laid down by state authorities and subject to strict control as they seek to exploit history in order to justify their own positions. In my video installation, both sides of the story told by different tour guides can be heard. What is truth – and who defines history? How many narratives are contained in what we think we know – and to what extent are our opinions deliberately shaped by indoctrination?«