“This conflict in Cyprus has had an enormous impact on my life, which is why I always find myself turning back to this historical issue.” – Fetine Sel Tuzel
For the Platform Graduate Award 2021, Reading University graduate Fetine Sel Tuzel presents places and faces, a psychogeographic film exploring cities and people, from the urban centre of Reading to an abandoned town in her home country of Cyprus.
In this blog post to accompany her Platform Award exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in September 2021, Tuzel presents her two-channel video installation and shares the personal experiences underpinning her film.
A key interest of mine has always been the connection between people and urban spaces. I mainly work on documentary-style videos which consider psychogeography and the question of “How do different places make us feel and behave?” Psychogeography is an artistic form coined by Guy Debord in 1950 and it has been described as a means of exploring the emotional and behavioural effect of a geographical location /urban space on individuals. This artistic form looks at the city as a constructed place and explores it by drifting and with “the act of becoming lost in the city”. While purposefully walking, we don’t absorb the environment, but drifting connects the walker to the city.
Built environments shape our behaviour, how we see ourselves, and how we understand identity. We bring different histories, our past, into the present. My country Cyprus is divided from the half. Separation is my starting point, and it shaped my path of exploration. This conflict in Cyprus has an enormous impact on my life, which is why I always find myself turning back to this historical issue. So, the idea of combining past and present with my piece further explores the notion of what the image of the city is, and culturally was.
My intention behind the two-channel video installation was to be able to show the juxtapositions, the contrast, and the harmony of urban spaces and how an individual or a stranger feels and behaves in different environments. Sometimes these two screens complement each other, sometimes they contradict.
My practice intends to observe and question how these experiences in urban spaces can be so similar, yet so unique to one and another.
~ Words by Fetine Sel Tuzel