artists: Sala Manca and Erhan Muratoglu
venue: Open Space
coordinates: Vienna, 2010
The “Eclipsed Voices” is a long-term research-based art project, detecting works, whose subject matters coincide with memory and alter diverse issues of social, political, cultural, and economic aspects of our daily life. Each work, in its own way, has the restrained intention of trying to understand the local realities that surround us and shape our identity. All together communicates some off-the-record information about various conditions and realities. Hence, the “off-the-record” narratives have the potential to generate voids in the vortex of registered histories.
This collection of works touches upon the issues of the control of the memory as each work clearly manifests how individual stories about the past interact with existing narratives and other forms of remembrance.
“ELEPHANTS IN THE NIGHTS OF METULA” (2005 – 2010) by SALA-MANCA
“NİGÂR” (2005 – 2010) by ERHAN MURATOĞLU
The works of the exhibition were accompanied with these thin publications, which are part of the installations. They functioned as diaries of the projects. These diary books address an attempt and even a mere experiment to document a documentation process itself. Through these books, reviewing subjective details about personal narratives would eventually form another layer to re-consider “historical facts” and would simply lead us to question what it means to accept a fact as a “fact”.
The “off-the-record” narratives have the potential to generate voids in the vortex of registered histories. As an ever-changing representation of the past, “memory” constructs new patterns to read history. Collective memories alter their content with social, political, and economical changes in time. Thus, individual memory develops in interaction with the diverse realities of social inputs. Our memory shapes our lifestyles, political and ideological positions. Yet, in the process of remembering, each time, we reconstruct a memory by adding or changing details. Therefore, memories are never stable. At the same time, the acts of confrontation, integration, and adaptation are possible only through these ephemeral and fragmented memories since they indicate the construction of defence mechanisms for us to cope with life.
In any case of political and economical imposition and repression, identities have systematically been lost and fragmented. At personal levels, identities are re-constructed with fragmentation of the narrations -as memory extracts- and the disconnected temporality of multiple realities.
With each work, we clearly witness such narratives in different verbal and visual levels –in every possible layer: political, territorial, spatial, psychological, economical, social –in every possible layer: political, territorial, spatial, psychological, economical, social– in each work. This collection of works touches upon the issues of the control of the memory as each work clearly manifests how individual stories about the past interact with existing narratives and other forms of remembrance. It is inevitable that these memories will continue to change, once there is no one alive to tell the tale from their own experience. For this project, this fact activates the motivation behind the obsessive attempt to document personal narratives as eclipsed voices.
in memory of Nigâr Güner
“Nigar” is an installation focuses upon an interview with an old woman who had immigrated from Bulgaria to Turkey when she was young. Her personal collection of photographs inhabits disparate hints of her life while she shares her fragmented personal memories.
“Nigar” refrains from any immersive storytelling as the artist Erhan Muratoğlu perceptibly had no intention of building any intimacy with the subject. Yet, the sincere memories build fascinating links to the unofficial and untold history of the 20th century.
This installation is a continuation of a short experimental documentary on Nigar Güner, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 94. She had migrated from Selvievo, Bulgaria, first to Edirne, then to Istanbul, Turkey as a young girl at the age of 15. Her entire life, including her education, financial and social status, along with her future projections, was drastically changed with this move. In the documentary, her modest attitude while talking about these changes reaches an ironic state, which could be regarded as a mere euphemism on diverse realities in different geographies.
However, the perceptible details in-between lines throughout her brief story not only indicate shifts in her life, but also reveal hints on unspoken social, political, and cultural transformations that Turkey has experienced over the past decades. Her story also unveils suppressed prejudgments about other nations, different social classes, and ethnic identities in society.
in memory of Avrom Sutzkever
ELEPHANTS IN THE NIGHTS OF METULA
Elephants in the Nights of Metula is an installation that includes video, digital slides, film, animation, and dual audio in Yiddish and English. The performance is based on the texts of the Yiddish poet Avrom Sutzkever (1913-2010), re-contextualizing his poetry in the historiography of Israeli literature from a contemporary perspective.
The story told in the installation deals with the harsh Israeli cultural control policies with respect to the Jewish diaspora cultures existing in the 50’s, and which in its turn represented a process of hegemonization of resulting in a new Hebrew culture.
This project is a continuation of our performance work dealing with texts and poetry. The piece also relates to our research on the gap between the written letter (the text), its voiced expression, the body and the icon, and visual, cultural and sound translations.
Avrom Suzkever, who passed away last January at the age of 96 years, was indeed one of the greatest poets in the Yiddish language, and was also recognized as of the most prominent poets of the 20th Century. Despite his talent and originality, Since his writings were in Yiddish; he remained almost unknown in Israel.
The poems in this booklet are in 4 different writings:
– Yiddish (transliteration in Latin letters)
– English written through truespel transliteration, a phonetic system for English writing
– English translation in Braile (graphic)
[“Elephants in the Nights of Metula” text by Sala-Manca]