A Bees Incident


Four-channel video installation, dimensions variable

collaboration with Eleni Mouzourou as part of the project Buffer Zone, 2013


‘A Bees Incident’ is based on a visit conducted in May 2013 into the

UN controlled buffer zone that separates Cyprus in a northern and southern part.

The buffer zone cuts through the island, being in some places only a few meters

wide while spanning over a few kilometres in other areas. As recorded by the

United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, ‘its northern and southern limits

are the lines where the belligerents stood following the ceasefire of 16 August



Within the confines of this ‘no man’s land’, official strict regulations and policies

coexist along with the specific individuals assigned to administrate its control

and the local civic actors claiming and occasionally renegotiating its ‘terms of

use’. Our interest lies in investigating the wider frame of social, political and

economical relationships between the different groups’ activities intersecting in

the buffer zone while at the same time evaluating the potential contained in

singular incidents as meaningful forms of exceptions or anomalies, disrupting

the dead zones’ ostensible neutrality.


Our video work traces a minimal incident, one of the many conflictual events

resulting from the civil agricultural activities interacting with the presence of foreign

troops on the divided island. Such minor conflicts and complaints normally surpass

public awareness, as physical access to the buffer zone is highly restricted,

and so is the flow of information regarding any activities within.


However, in this case–hereby named ‘The Bees Incident‘–accounts on an

accident involving a bees swarm attacking a national guard soldier on sentry

duty at one of the buffer zone gateways leaked into the media sphere of the

island, covering a partial aspect of the occurrence. Upon further investigation,

different fragments and conflicting perspectives on the incident emerged.

The work seeks to trace and confront the multiple viewpoints and accounts of

the different actors involved in the incident, incorporating the hypotheses, the

doubts and uncertainties as an integral part of the narrative in construction. It

questions the ontological status of the event as such, showing it as an ambiguous

amalgam: a construct of consciousness and unconsciousness, narration

and diffusion, of politics and ideology, of reality and fiction, contingency and



By reducing the scale of observation and focusing on this singular incident in the

buffer zone, we want to consider its value as a triggering event for addressing

and questioning side-aspects of the ethno-national conflict and the management

of the status quo in Cyprus.


The layered and obscured account that unfolds through the multiple recounting

of a story leads to a broader reflection on micro-history and the validity of the

historical narrative. It inquires as to the possible relations between the individual

and the collective ontological mode, seeking to surpass the morbid political fractions

petrified in the latter.


Can the isolated and fragmented story open imaginative passageways towards

an alternative projection, towards subversive forms of communality as opposed

to the commonplace function of the buffer zone as one of reducing shock by

avoiding contact? And can the natural space of the buffer zone and its

non-human agents be respected as stakeholders within this future process of



Naomi Hennig – Eleni Mouzourou, Sept 2013


Installation view at Apartment Project, Berlin 2014


Exhibition reader pdf