"I Could not Find Something to Show" is about one's self-expression in a social group and identity politics. With this work, I think about my existential crisis on the intersection of social expectations, identity labels and my self-expression. By looking at my own experience and dynamics, I question, with a more general aspect, the authenticity of one's self-description and self-realization. Also, I think about the spectacle motivation* behind those two acts.
The work is an installation consisting of video performance, performance costume and metal structure. Besides, the installation is accompanied by digital print flyers which refer to the process and the concept of the work.
I started the work by thinking about the dilemmas I faced, my experiences and getting lost in the new communities I entered after I immigrated to Berlin from Istanbul. In the new environment which seems familiar and strange at once, I think about the space where I am standing. Space consists of my life and practice, the artist identity is made by the others and my spectacle for the society*.
While I was trying to move away from the industrial design practice and approach to contemporary art practice, I made an effort to discover myself within the new practice. Also, in time, I figured out that the discovery transformed into a spectacle. I again faced the facts that made me unable to take a breath in the design practice. The facts consist of the expectation for finishing the discovery as soon as possible, requesting fast production in return for the visibility of my artistic practice and consumption of the produced values without getting experienced.
It is an obvious thing that the expectation of putting personality in the work you do and to do this “finding” your “real personality” are in every life practice. I grasp that these expectations make me experience an adolescent and innocent emotional status and also put me in a need of approval. Thus I wanted to create a common space to invite individuals to exchange and think about their own experiences. I invite the audience to reflect their own experiences on my experience, to play an active role in this place, where the answers to social expectations can be found. To do so, in the installation, I avoid any symbolic visuals that refer to my own experience and/or personal history. On the contrary, my personal experience was the starting point of this work. So I made visual and written references to my experience in the flyer that can be taken by the audience.
During the performance, on the costume that represents my skin, mask and expression:
I am looking for things that can satisfy the expectations of the audience of society who I encounter in every socializing area. At the same time, I am trying to face the discontentedness of those expectations and my inadequacy against them.
I perform a hysteria to show the anxiety in self-expression. To emphasize the tension an itching voice accompanies the video. The volume of the sound is changing based on the moments of performance.
So in the video: I come into the scene and -on the costume- start looking for something to show to satisfy the expectations. I can not find something satisfying in the costume so I start to search inside the costume. Still, I can not find it. Thus, I wear the costume inside out expecting the thing will be found in this way.
The changing room-like installation mediates the costume, that has done its duty with the video performance, to meet with the audience. I also show the costume as an alienation element to emphasize that the issue is beyond the costume and the acts in the performance. I describe a space for one individual with the installation. The projection projects my performance on the canvas by standing in front of the audience. So it projects the performance as if the reflection of the audience on a mirror.
Elements of the installation:
- Costume: polyester fabric
- Short-throw projector LED Projector
- Metal structure: from 25mm square profile.
- 120-180cm Canvas
- Two Acrylic A5 size flyer holders
With the flyer, I want to express the process of the work and refer to the sources of the concept that comes from my personal experience. I realized one year after I "finished" the work that the visibility of the process is not sufficient enough. I noticed that this situation blocks a multilayer meaning I want to express. Since I create an intimate space between me and the audience, there must have been direct personal references as well.
I did not want to destroy the atmosphere of the installation. I also expect that the audience will take part in me as part of their experience. So I wanted to realize that on a literal level let people take part in the work with them. Thus I decided to use the flyer format that I already used for another work of mine in a different context. Besides, the flyer format is used often by marketing and PR industries. From this metaphorical context, I emphasize the spectacle as one of the main concepts of the work. In addition to this, I wanted to make the work more democratic and make the audience take part in the work with them.
This work was exhibited in Kunst Raum Studierendenwerk Berlin.
together with this exhibition, there is an internet site:
This website aims at creating a virtual studio, where the production process of the exhibition is put on display. Having been locked down in different European countries, this virtual studio has been a way for the five participants in the exhibition to keep in touch and challenge ways of communication and collaboration in these unprecedented times.