Framing Memory: Return to the Zone
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This paper uses the authors’ practice research project, Father-land, as a case study for identifying the dynamic interrelationship between memories of place and the processes of location filmmaking. The Fatherland project began with a month-long artist residency in Nicosia, the principal output being a collaborative archive-based essay film that investigates notions of home and (dis)placement in the divided island of Cyprus, when its ‘archive’ only exists in the filmmakers’ memories and the material traces of the urban landscape along the southern edge of the demilitarised buffer zone across the island. Political and social histories, the legacies of colonialism, occupation, and the Cold War, resonate culturally and also biographically for the authors as both had childhood links with Cyprus through fathers stationed there with the Royal Air Force. NiMAC, in the old walled city of Nicosia, is close to the buffer zone, patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, which separates the Turkish-occupied northern section of the island from the Greek Cypriot south. The period of quiet reflection provided by the residency allowed us to venture into unexplored regions of shared, but separate, histories. To make sense of our collective past, we drew on formative experiences of both being ‘RAF children’, uprooted from one country to another – patriarchal baggage moved by the forces of neo-colonialism. This was inflected by the uneasy stasis of the unresolved conflict that tore the island in two over forty years ago, and the ruins of the past.
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