Site-specific VR installation
The Cyprus Pavilion
17. international architecture exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

upon inhabiting distances

22.06 - 21.11.21

In collaboration with Dakis Panayiotou

‘Desire Lines’ is a site-specific VR installation in which elements from mnemonic techniques (dating back to Renaissance times and involving esoteric ‘walking throughs’), technopaganism, and experimental psychology studies (such as 'The Doorway Effect’) are being referenced. Ecclesiastical and colonial architectural semiotics, often inscribed in Cypriot building facade features are also present. Temporal walls and metal studs widely used in building constructions of domestic and social spaces are virtually exposed in an attempt to deconstruct and amalgamate the private, the public space, the man-made and the sociopolitical into one syncretic sanctuary.

By immersing physical bodies in projected, virtual trajectories, ‘Desire Lines’ aims to propose alternative ways of inhabitation and orientation. To be disoriented is to deviate from those lines that are already followed by others. As Sara Ahmed mentions in ‘Queer Phenomenology’, orientation is not a just a question of finding our way, but of how we come to feel at home and how that can necessitate some degree of disorientation. Getting lost still involves inhabiting space and following non-existent trajectories, until the state of being lost becomes a state of meditation.

The lines are manifestations of an intimate, interior world, leading one to accidental encounters. To claim intimacy within public space involves identifying the notion of ‘path’ not just as the trace of past journeys, but also as the negative space of journeys that have never been made. Lines are queering the space by disorganizing the expected navigational flow within a space and disrupting the trajectory lines proposed by its site. Activity in physical space is restricted, as its formalistic boundaries take decisions and assign limits. To escape those imposed navigational systems, one needs to think of the potentiality of space to transcend its physicality.

These processes of becoming necessitate ritual spaces, secular chapels, existential escape routes and portals of syncretism through which one can escape oppressive and totalitarian systems and consequently have their sense of temporality being shifted.

“Rituals serve to achieve certain effects on various levels: psychological, material, social, and supernatural. When architectural forms are used to do so, the ritual space is an architectural device”. In a digital world, with no physical centres or peripheries, we are pushed to understand intimacy and togetherness on transcendent levels. Digitally mediated communication triggers spatial reconfiguration and deterritorialization which in turn challenges notions of borders and peripheries, and hence confuses definitions of individuality and collectiveness.

Curated by Era Savvides, Nasios Varnavas(urban radicals), Marina Christodoulidou, Evagoras Vanezi