“The comic does not exist outside the pale of what is strictly human (…) You may laugh at a hat, but what you are making fun of, in this case, is not the piece of felt or straw, but the shape that men have given it, the human caprice whose mould it has assumed.”
Henri Bergson, “Le Rire”, 1900
The road network in Cyprus is as bizarre and confusing as the island’s history itself.
Since 1974, Cyprus island is split into two separate geographical areas – the turkish in the north and the greek in the south – , each with its own language, culture, religion, legislation and political and economic system.
Mobile phones with Greek Cypriot SIM cards do not work in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In addition, once the border checkpoint has been crossed, the GPS no longer recognises the streets’ names, as the Republic of Northern Cyprus is officially acknowledged only by Turkey. On the other hand, the maps available in the south still display the Greek names that were in use before the Turkish occupation of 1974, although Turkish Cypriots do not understand the Greek language and even use a different alphabet. Thus, for example, Kyrenia, Morphou and Ammostochos are also referred to as Girne, Guzelyurt and Gazimagusa. This system of duplicate names obviously leads to a great deal of confusion, and makes it nearly impossible to reach a destination following the directions of official maps.
This is the motivation undelrying the “Roundabout#cyprus” project, that I have developed in collaboration with Manfredi Pantanella, aimed at analyzing the consequences of the Cyprus political deadlock on the geography and topography of an island that remains, to this day, the last divided country in Europe.