Atelier Akamas: Nature Embodied 2 · By Alfredo Zinola

During 3 days in April I was at the Atelier of Nature Embodied project in the Akamas Peninsula, region of Pafos.

The Atelier was focusing on the theme of ecology and sustainable development in art as in daily life.

Aim of the Atelier was to reflect on the economical and structural development of the Cypriot region and the possible connections with the body and the practice of a dancer. Different point of views emerged: on a site a profound fascination for the state of the agro-ecosystem of the Akamas peninsula generate the wish for many artists of preserving the place as it is; on the other side the same interest and fascination brings real-estate speculators and tourists to wish to modify the landscape and construct infrastructure for mass tourism, like huge buildings on the sea side. Who has the right to do what?…

The Atelier started with a panel about art and ecology and the experience of the panelist.

A series of actions, product of a previous workshop led by Denise Kenney and Nancy Holmes, and some evening performances were staged in different places of the semi-abandoned village of Androlikou and the open air Theatre of Droushia.

Are we “ecological” in our artistically practice?

How does an artist interact with his surrounding, while entering a foreigner place?

Where is the point of interest during an artistic practice?

As a spectator I could reefer to what my experience was.

While watching and reflecting the actions as a spectator I could see that some works had a sort of “landscape sensible tendency”. In this case I felt as spectator facilitated by the artist to discover a mores sensible and attentive relationship with the landscape and the community. I could have time to look/smell/touch/walk my surrounding. I felt the permission with this practice to find my own personal sensible connection to the space, having time to discover it.

In other works I could perceive more a self oriented tendency. Here my attention as a spectator was drawn to watch at the performer and to his own relationship with the space. In this case I had the impression that for the artists the main goal was more the relation to themselves and their necessity of expression. In this case the attention for me as spectator was required to observe the artist and its feeling, the landscape it suddenly became just a nice background.

Is there a right surrounding-relationship?

What if the artists that invented the actions I saw, would have been real-estate investors?

How would they build a structure? How would they think of a develop plan for tourism in Akamas peninsula?

I imagine that the first category would probably be more attentive to the surrounding. Probably going more for sustainable buildings, that might respect the architecture of the region. Probably they would favorite local economy to emerge and probably they would create structures that would be for a restricted number of visitors.

On the other hand, the second category would probably base their planning on the personal needs of investors (earn as more money as you can) and tourists (get exactly what your deep feeling are aiming for, for the less price as you find). I can imagine that if it would be requested to develop a tourists development plan for the Akamas regions they would probably build a more comfortable buildings, were people could go and feel all the comfort and luxury that their feelings needs, with a beautiful landscape as a background: for example a luxury hotel on the beach…

How do we relate with what is our surrounding?

How much are we able to perceive and to be sensible to our surrounding?

I personally think that art, has a great potential to create sensibility. Still “Surrounding” is a general word that implies not just beautiful landscape with sheep on a hill at the sunset going back to their farm, but also huge cement buildings in front of the sea. I think this is the great achievement of the eco-art: art can be applied to everywhere, it can be a solution for each daily surrounding.

Being part of the Atelier was a very interesting experience, first because we could have the chance to observe and reflect on the work of other artists, second because it was an occasion to deep more on what can be an ecological act means, that I wish to push further in my future works.

Thanks a lot to EDN, to Dance Gate Lefkosia and to Pafos European Capital of Culture for inviting me.

Alfredo Zinola
Choreographer, performer
2 May 2017


Picture: Zoe Balasch & Isabel Andrés (ES/DE) © Ergenc Korkmazel