Next Project

Meat and 2 Veg

Part 1 Project 2010
Ali Qureshi
Muhammad Zulfiker Enayet
University of Greenwich | UK
Our ‘theatrical landscape’ is situated in the Buffer Zone, in Nicosia, Cyprus. The site (and the city) is currently divided between Greek Cyprus to the south and the Turkish Occupied Territory to the North.
The theatre of war has delineated that which is Turkish from that which is Greek in the Green Line, a ceasefire line within the city limits. But the line is actually a space with operation posts on either side of it, in a state of ceasefire for 35 years. We imagine how the exiled Cypriots will be rehoused in the Buffer Zone.
Gunslots around the contested space frame a series of miniature theatres. The appearance of any occupants could result in deadly gunfire.
We have replaced the guns with the accoutrements of a feast, a shared dining space, a public kitchen, and a vanishing banquet, stored in the operation posts atop the batteries of the venetian fortifications.
Once the united nations post has been vacated, vegetables will be sent in from the gunslots on the Greek side to tables suspended over the space, where the banquet will take place. The trajectories of gunfire will be replaced with slow moving tomatoes, courgettes and sumptuous olives. Market stalls with abundant produce will set up below, grapevines and lemon groves will infiltrate the buffer zone.
Ali the Greengrocer will reprogramme the ‘big dog’ US robots to farm the inaccessible spaces. Once the mines have been cleared, he will send robotic farmers in to grow vegetables for the feast. Crops will be watered using rotating irrigation arms emerging periodically from the operation posts. Remote harvesting techniques will be employed. Remote controlled triggers will signal the need for more provisions, the use of fertilizers, the dusting and spraying of crops, and harvesting.
Sheep grazing on the ancient battlements will be farmed by Mohammed the butcher, and sent across the ceasefire line for the annual feast. The Butchers cleaver comes down on the sheep on the borderline. This is the realm of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, a butchers’ market stall in the buffer zone. Over time, the wall of blood in the housing / butchery will be drained and in its place will grow the richest of red flowers.
Our theatrical landscape will tamper with nature to create a spectacle and a shared space for people, plants, animals. A place where people from both sides can merge in the moonlight.

Ali Qureshi
Muhammad Zulfiker Enayet

In their theatrical landscape, Ali and Mo re-programme the spaces and accoutrements of warfare with a more benign purpose, ‘putting flowers in the barrel of guns’ if you will.

Their ‘Pop up landscapes’ subvert militaristic functions to achieve an aesthetic purpose, sometimes comical and always eerily prescient. In their world, they explore modernist technologies over which our control has clearly lapsed. They expose the consequences with wit and imagination.

A lightning field, a faraday cage, or a storm can be created by tampering with nature, and yet so is the minefield. Through cloud seeding we may accelerate precipitation. By growing agricultural produce in a minefield, we risk flying figs and grain showers: as a watermelon explodes on a mine!

A hint of the invisible processes shaping our architectural spaces holds sway: a temporary dining space reveals age-long tectonic plate shifts. The structural core of a housing project is a wall of blood. Meat and veg market stalls are positioned in the strategic trajectories of gunfire, dining tables are spectacles viewed from gunslots. In the aftermath of military operations; why not reconfigure a permanent housing project on the temporary barricades of the buffer zone? In the theatre of war, the vistas are considered with more care than those of most post war housing developments!

In combining access to the remote and the everyday, Ali and Mo’s project unfolds with a rigour and internal logic that eventually challenges our sense of propriety. We are aware of the uncomfortable spatial proximity of meat and ‘home’ – why is meat transported through the housing project? This is coupled with our distaste at the ‘wall of blood’. Nor is the replacement of idyllic rural farmers with US military Robots and similar paraphernalia our idea of utopia.

Yet the festival, the vegetation, the landscapes of light, and the market suggest real possibilities for shared space and communication in the contested space.

These are the messier strategies of war and reconciliation, not so distant from the rituals of everyday life – meat and two vegetables, the friendly greengrocers stall at the market, a shared dinner table. The ‘last supper’ space is never drawn, but only hinted at, in this contested space. Its absence refers to one of the most potent symbols of Christianity, anticipating a resurrection of the city, perhaps as it represents the acquisition of control by only one side in this se

Ms James Curtis
Ms Reenie (Karin) Elliott
Mr Francois Girardin

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