Georgia theiakou’s thesis evokes memories of varosha

Georgia Theiakou enriches fragmented memories of varosha

In search of the fragmented memory of the ghost town of Varosha in Famagusta, CyprusGeorgia Theiakou presents the textbook, ‘Guide to Remembering a Forgotten City’. The dissertation explores the identity of the once thriving city that was invaded and abandoned in 1974, reshaping a sense of renewed connection between the previous inhabitants and the city itself, exploring the idea of ​​memory to represent the past. A series of four evocative numbers, five souvenirs, a building and… 3D printed items and blueprints, together they awaken and enrich the collected fragments of emotionally clouded memories of the refugees who fled the city 48 years ago.


all images by Georgia Theiakou

the dissertation awakens and evokes past experiences

As the child of refugees fleeing Famagusta during the occupation, Georgia Theiakou began to question her own image of Varosha, constructed from incomplete stories shared by her family. Her research was fueled by the curiosity to imagine what the life of her displaced relatives and the rest of the refugee community would have been like today in Famagusta had it not been invaded. The manual explores further the artists own identity and its connection to the city, through a process of retrieving, storing and reusing its collected information.

The multimedia ‘Manual of Memorizing a Forgotten City’ strives to be a way to represent memory, essentially proposing another reading of Varosha through an archive of information based on story and interaction, where the digital with the analog space is combined. The research raises a range of questions, including: ‘How can this city fully recover while the dilapidated buildings are still a lasting reminder of the past? How important is it to bring out the social aspect of the problem so that the city can regain its discredited historical and cultural power and the dignity of its inhabitants?’

Moreover, the project provokes a commentary on the ruling regime of the existing abandoned city. It acts as a condenser of the fragments of the shared memories of its previous inhabitants, and considers: ‘Is our memory a way in which we process and accumulate experiences? Do we imagine the past? Could these objects be closer to us and touch us more than we think?’

Georgia theiakou's nostalgic dissertation evokes fragmented memories of abandoned varosha
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a process of combining the digital and analog spaces

‘The image of the city is one of the biggest taxes that this city can bear. A pressure from residents to revive the image they have of this city’, explains Georgia Theiakou. “The last memories that accompanied the refugees for so many years make it more difficult to overcome this image, because it can be seen as giving up the dream of returning‘.

“In the forty-eight years that have passed, these people have moved to different places. They have raised their family and have lived elsewhere for more than half of their lives. However, they still call Varosi their home. When I ask a family member for a story, it’s quite interesting how they all feel very confident before they start telling. And yet it gradually shows how difficult it is to tell something that should be so familiar to them. Although the stories differed, the similarities in the memories were clear.” she continues.

Georgia theiakou's nostalgic dissertation evokes fragmented memories of abandoned varosha
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Georgia theiakou's nostalgic dissertation evokes fragmented memories of abandoned varosha
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Georgia theiakou's nostalgic dissertation evokes fragmented memories of abandoned varosha
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