UNbuffer is the result of participating in a design research group focusing on 'Empowering Individuals: diversity + inclusivity by Design'.
UNbuffer is a project contemplating on the buffer zone that dichotomizes Cyprus or more than five decades. The Green Line, as it is known to the locals, is essentially a ceasefire line, patrolled by the UN peace-keeping force and constituting constant reminder and remainder of conflict; an open trauma, both physically and symbolically.
Without challenging the presence of the UN force as essential for the safeguarding of peace on the island, this project aims instead at communicating a message of peace, the end of Turkish occupation and the reunification of the island.
Postcards are chosen as a medium to spread awareness of the subject and deliver this message. The front of the cards features images, text, and repurposed items found in the landscape of the dividing zone, whose function has been subverted so that they stop representing a message of division and exclusion.
Cyprus is and has always been a diverse country with a rich history and culture and, as such, can serve as a unique paradigm for respecting diversity, promoting solidarity and representing the benefits of a joint future for all Cypriots, irrespective of ethnic, religious, or linguistic backgrounds.
In the wake of rising nationalism, fascism, and extremism across the globe, it is essential to rethink notions of national identity and heritage and how they have been shaped by traditional ideologies rooted in obsolete perceptions of racial purity and supremacy.
Niyazi Kızılyürek, a Turkish Cypriot political scientist and a recently elected member of the European Parliament, argues that the notion of citizenship is not embedded in our DNA, it rather derives from the place where we are free to live, co-exist and democratically participate. As he states, “Homeland is our consciousness, not our roots.”