The highly prestigious Golden Triga was awarded to Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) for the installation 'Spectators In A Ghost City'.
The Cypriot entry was curated on an initial concept by Marina Maleni, with Melita Couta as artistic researcher and installation designer, and with the collaboration of Harris Kafkarides. The Golden Triga, bestowed by an international jury of distinguished experts, is the most important award in the field of performing arts design.
"We are ecstatic about the Golden Triga and the reception our work had in Prague Quadrennial, the most important performance design gathering in the world - truly honoured to have our proposal/provocation chosen amongst so many other amazing works, by such an esteemed Jury committee! A journalist compared it to competing in the Olympic Games and bringing home the Gold of Golds and it definitely feels like it," expressed Marina Maleni, the creative mind behind the concept.
'Spectators In A Ghost City' shows a haunting look at the abandoned town of Famagusta, which was evacuated and closed off for 46 years after the Turkish military invasion of Cyprus in 1974. In 2020, it opened to visitors, a derelict time capsule brought to life at the festival through a series of videos and sculptural maquettes, which the prize jury credited with cleverly asking audiences to question their own position as viewers of conflict or trauma.
"Melita Couta and I delved into researching and talking about my initial idea, with the precious support of Harris Kafkarides. How can this place, which had been denied human presence for so many years, be viewed in the eye of scenography, how can it speak and become witness, how it can become dramaturgy, enclosing all its stories and history? We did not wish to provide answers, conflict resolutions or solutions but in looking to the future, we examined the alternative of negotiating such rare spaces of conflict by means of reverse scenography," shared Marina Maleni.
"Our proposal/provocation unsettled the role of the artist and the viewer as we addressed issues of appropriation, spectacle, voyeurism and the role of art itself in the face of human trauma that expands beyond Famagusta and echoes other ghost spaces in the world, even though art practices often seem minute in the face of economic, political and strategic dynamics," she added.
The award was received in Prague on behalf of THOC by the President of the Cyprus Centre of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians, Mariza Bargilly.