Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival (BFPAF) showcases new and experimental work by local and international artists, challenges physical and artistic barriers, and creates opportunities for artists to meet and exchange ideas. It creates the environment for the questioning of preconceived ideas of the performing arts, the relationship between artists and audience, and shines a new light on the relationship between arts and society. The festival hosts innovative work, artists who practice cutting-edge methodologies, and are open to inter-disciplinary and cross-sectorial work.
The Festival’s programming aims to offer both local and international artists a platform to showcase their work and offers the opportunity for interaction between artists, between artists and audiences, of audiences and space, as well as with the BFPAF institution, in a celebratory spirit of multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence. Taking place in a divided country, Buffer Fringe Festival assumes more responsibilities than an arts festival taking place elsewhere. It is one of a kind in Cyprus and the world.
BFPAF Theme “Defining the/a Buffer Zone, the In-Between Space”
The Festival is a creative meeting between local and international artists, students and scholars, an institution deeply rooted in the Buffer Zone of Nicosia. Thus far, the Buffer Zone of Ledra Palace, has been largely undefined artistically, in spite being the grounds for events since 2011.
The Concept of the BFPAF 2019 is based on this gap, which has shaped the following questions:
What does the/a Buffer Zone mean to you (artistically and personally)?
How do you understand it as an in-between place, between realities?
How do you understand it as a process, an ever-changing process that spans through time, memory, and aesthetics?
We invite Cyprus-based and International artists to propose work, which is meaningful for them, the space and institution of the Fringe, in a creative space where often form, content and process interplay with the creators and the audience. Their work must adhere to the values of artistic freedom and mutual respect, and strive for artistic excellence and the production of meaningful art, while at the same time recognizing the space as one of past trauma, but which also holds promise for a peaceful future. We also invite artists to consider how culture (culture of violence, culture of peace, etc.) has been a) colonialized on the island, and b) sensationalized world-wide, and anticipate that they shape their proposals free of those syndromes.
All forms of experimental performance work are accepted, which can contain (but are not limited to) theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, installation/visual art and other cross-disciplinary elements. Moreover, we welcome proposals for participatory, durational, and/or site-specific formats.
Finally, and as part of a process of developing the Fringe community on the island, Cyprus-based artists will have the opportunity to engage with the BFPAF creative and technical staff in a process of consultation. Moreover, we aim towards the participation of universities and departments in an inter-disciplinary creative process, including an incubation period with the Festival’s creative and technical staff.
We have been inspired by artists, authors, scholars and others, who have written about theatre, community arts and in-between spaces.
Here are some of the highlights:
“Anyone can do theater, even actors. And theater can be done everywhere. Even in atheatre” Augusto Boal
“Yet in any art that uses people as a medium, ethics will never retreat entirely. The task is to relate this concern more closely to aesthesis. Some key terms that emerge here are enjoyment and disruption.” Claire Bishop, in Artificial Hells
“For a young theatre-maker, with wide eyes on a world of daily horror stories, it is invaluable advice to take on board - a reminder to focus on the here and now, and to search for the changes that you can actually make, rather than getting lost in the enormity of all the issues that we, as a global community, are engulfed in. Community is you and me, here and now.” Alexander Roberts, writing about the in-between space at ICAF 2011
(…) “I can feel the frozen time flying over a perfect emptiness, minutes pass, hours grow. Lessness is here… “
(…) Νοιώθω τον παγωμένο χρόνο να πετά πάνω από μια τέλεια κενότητα, τα λεπτά περνούν, οι ώρες μεγαλώνουν. Η απουσία βρίσκεται μεταξύ μας…”
(…) “Donmuş zamanın mutlak bir boşluğun üzerinden geçişini duyumsayabiliyorum, dakikalar geçmekte, saatler ilerlemekte. Azalma burada."
excerpt from “My Own Private Nicosia (Gap Between Walls)” by Ricardo Echevarria, published in Cyprus: Tracing the non-visible, 2012.
"In Antigone Sophocles imagined the corpse festering outside the city walls. The corpse is centre stage here. The Dead Zone is a sinuous scabrous snake of a septic scar within the old city walls. Some of us see ourselves as Antigone, who want to give their dead their due; others as Creon, who think it politic to leave them where they are. Perhaps this is all a case of mistaken identity. We are all Polynices, all ghosts of a failed state.” Alev Adil, in Architecture of Forgetting, towards a poetics of the ‘dead zone’ of Nicosia.
"(…) buildings, overgrown vegetation, ruined gardens, abandoned fields, barbed wire. A decades-long process of ideological filtering has turned these signs into standard representations for this in-between space. These are signs of conflict, yet they are also lingering evidence of abuse and violation. As such, they have been used in the creation of what one might call a semiotic canon through which the Dead Zone accesses its meanings. And meaning is always entwined with the national will to show the other side as the perpetrator. The paradox, that may be no paradox at all, is that these same signs also render it strangely attractive and, at times, irresistible.” Stavros Karayiannis in Zone of Passions: a Queer Re-imagining of Cyprus’s “No Man’s Land”.