May I be here (2018-2021)
The work consists of 3 video-performances, an object and a collage.
I started the process by thinking and questioning the effects of the construction industry and its supportive political ideologies on an individual's existence in public and urban spaces. During the process, the planned installation evolved to the public space performances as a "social experiment". From the intersection of the planned installation and the performances, the object came out. Through the performances, my body transformed into the form of the installation. Then this interaction transformed an independent object.
Through this circular process, I consider and question the ownership and the general concept of urban and public space.
I planned to realize the installation for an independent art exhibition in Berliner public space. The project was organized and realized (in 2018) by an independent group of artists (including me) as a protest against the decision of transforming a big public art event/exhibition into a more exclusive event. We rejected to show our works under the roof of this event and decide to go to urban space for a more democratic and accessible exhibition.
To install my installation in the U-Bahn station, I struggled a lot for an allowance from public authorities. Since I could not manage to get any permission, I decided to resist this situation and mimic the form of the installation with my body by doing pirate performances. Due to restrictions of the public system, my body was become an element of the construction industry and copied the spaces that were designed for individual usage.
As a person with immigration experience and minority background* in my home country; the performances were an experiment to question how much an individual can own and shape the public space and how much I am a part of the Berliner/German public space. During the social experiment like pirate performances, I did 6 performances. The performances were happened in the Zoologischer Garten U-Bahn stop of U2 Line. In the end, I choose 3 performances to represent the 3 steps of this experiment:
*My purpose of using the words "immigration experience" and "minority" is not to self-victimising. "May I be here" was formed at the intersection of many concepts such as identity politics, immigration experience, urban transformation, ownership of public space...etc. Thus I wanted to emphasize some of the concepts by using the words. Also, those facts are the reason why I did the performance instead of asking someone to do it.
In 'video 1', I show my first performance. It has been interrupted by the U-Bahn securities. The police were called. There was a small argument. Despite the interruption, I finished my performance. But my moves were reformed.
In 'video 2', I show one of my performances where I did in a different(hidden and unseen) part of the U-Bahn stop with the newly reformed movements.
In 'video 3', I show my last performance. For this one, I went back to the first place where I did my first attempt. This time securities did not interrupt the performance. They were even watching and mentioning that they know me and I am doing it regularly. Thus, I managed to do the performance one after the other with the new movements and the movements that I wanted to perform at first.
It consists of bricks, iron profiles and chrome coated mesh.
As the outcome of the circular process, the object was made of industrial materials that are mostly used for construction. The form of the bricks is the starting point of the performances. Due to the concept of the work, with the bench like metal structure, I mimic and refer to the Berliner U-Bahn/Underground benches.
They are printed in three different A2 size paper.
With the digital print collages, I refer to the process of the work and the similar urban transformation narratives from Berlin and Istanbul. I choose specific situations as the construction of the Humboldt Forum (in Berlin), Taksim Gezi Park events connected to failed construction plans of Taksim Military Barracks (Topçu Kışlası), destruction of Atatürk Cultural Center and rebuilding of Steinplatz Berlin. All those transformation events affected me personally. Also, some of them motivated me to start to do this work and/or happened during the process of the work.
By looking at similar urban transformation narratives from Istanbul and Berlin, with this work, I think and question the existence of an individual in public and urban space.