Tuesday, November 4, 2008
All quiet on the art front. This could be the heading on any newspaper’s section on art & culture at a global scale. And it wouldn’t be that far from reality. Art in our days has lost much of its capacity to question and shock the cultural world mostly due the dullness, conformation, apathy and readiness to comply with the de facto powers (money rattles) from most of the agents involved in its actual operation. These days, the only news that hit the headlines strong is the latest sales record from Damien Hirst at Sotheby’s. (Hurrah, we’re thrilled…)
Along this gloomy series of events, we have been witnesses to a new behavior by many emerging artists, which has surged at an unbelievable rate. I’m speaking here of the artist-in-residence, the new cultural tourist which any of us might find some time or another attending some of the peculiarly exciting artistic in any of our cities. They tend to be friendly, very outgoing, frank and interesting. I myself have met a lot of really fascinating persons this way, and still am friends to some. But what this massive behavior is telling us is that there is not much of a specificity to a residence anymore, that any artistic institution that respects itself has built up a resident program in order to keep up with the trend, and that, as biennales some five years ago, residencies already lost much of their charm to an institutionalized way of making public relations and even a series of diplomatic moves.
Let’s think of it this way. If artists were really critical with their practices, if they would really hit the aching spot with their interventions, bureaucrats would not have them traveling around giving away their unsolicited opinions and developing their pieces, would they? So one of two things must have happened: either bureaucrats and politicians are doing their job unbelievably well, so that there is nothing else to comment on, or art practices have become trendy, fashionable, smooth and easy-going. From the current state of events in the world, I would say the second is true. So we have a first upshot: artists that are really critical, the ones that get involved in social or communitarian issues (if there are still some out there), tend to stay home, kind of grounded, while their confident and charming counterparts tour the world showing little tiny pieces of self-made aesthetic trifles.
Am I being too harsh? Probably, but let’s remember this is a generalization, and in that sense flawed, as any useful generalization, but that it tries to bring out the symptom so that anyone can analyze it according to his or her own needs and understanding.
Anyway, what strikes me beyond this analytical exercise, is that there are indeed, seldom but sometimes, groups of agents that really try to do things in a different way, people that seek to affect their surroundings, individuals that still believe in the creative power of art, in its facility to produce symbolic meaning, and risk it all in order to try to make a change. However enthusiastic, these persons are not heroes and never naïve, they are the utmost realists: they want to take a specific knowledge to its radical achievement: they ask for the impossible because they understand that it is the only manner in which art can justify itself. These are the persons that one seldom sees at residencies because they commit, and an institutional residency is basically a place where an artist stays for some time and then leaves. No commitment necessary.
Such engaged agents are never easy to find. But now, there was a very interesting experiment taking place in southern Turkey this year; an exercise so rich that it pays off to comment on it profusely. A couple of Turkish artists (Iz Oztat and Emincan Alemdaroglu) didn’t just go out to the community in the Bodrum peninsula and tried to start up a new cultural venture. They actually built up a sort of informal residency in which they invited colleagues from around the world in order to start thinking and acting collectively. They looked out for the funds themselves, and risked all their assets into this “creative think tank”, which I prefer to call in order to differentiate it from the colonized description of a simple, institutionalized residency. This creative think tank, a place for cure, be it individually or communally, was set up in the midst of a family house, and if someone is acquainted with Middle-eastern hospitality traits, that means really a lot, it involves the participation of a family circle that plays the role of a host, which opens itself to the guests, profusely and generously. So this creative think tank hosted within a family house behaved really in an odd but enriching way, it really aimed at the healing and restructuring of a decaying practice. Discussions took place, involvement with the community was looked after, creative research was fostered, works were shown and profoundly commented, and direct social action through the production of new art pieces was taken.
The usual questions made by an eyebrow-raiser would be: Did it worked? Was it worth it? Only, for a moment, instead of building up rhetorical answers, we should pause and ask for something else, something deeper and in a different direction, something that really stands in for the glimpse of hope that the experience produced. So, the really engaging questions should be: what does this kind of practice opens up for the art world as a whole? What does it tell about the possible practices of the years to come? What does it bring about by itself? How does it become sustainable? There is no easy and frank answer to this last question, for it is not quite easy to foresee a complex experience turned into a repeatable chore. But we can try to sketch a draft for the rest.
The scheme to bring in a group of people to think and act with a common objective and a creative stance may not by itself solve any of the problems on the community where they decide to set. The idea of producing socially engaging art practices alone may not be enough to produce a new, active subjectivity. The proposal to come closer to the people, to turn them into partners of deeds, may not end up in a more coherent set of cultural performances. And this is because there has never been in art (or for this sake, in any other human activity) a single solution to a series of deep problems. But what took place in Turkey was a huge, intense compilation of all of these. In different degrees, the creative think tank sorted out ways to imagine possibilities, to foster communication practices (and as activist Paulo Freire once suggested: a revolution in communication might be the only revolution needed), and then acted accordingly, all within a restrained budget but with a specific agenda in mind: the actual affectation of the community. The latest challenge might be now to keep it going, so it can display a glimpse of hope for the future. For this is what the creative think tank immediately produces: hopes and dreams that stem from the community itself, and shape it back showing it what it can achieve by itself, and even further with the support of these operators. In one word, socially engaged art practices inspire an understanding of one’s own surroundings and they reassure communities in their own way of world-making, as very few other activities can do. Inasmuch as art practices deal with the creation of symbols, people profit from experiencing their own hopes and dreams turned into symbolic value. But this does not imply any activism of any sort. It comes by through negotiations, through conflict and dialogue, through active engagement. And this is what the people in Turkey could bring in, at least for a start.
In an art world much in need for new political subjectivities and active forms of production of the self, we recquire to approach the lay people who haven’t abandoned their faith in cultural and artistic practices and learn with them how to reciprocaly free ourselves from frivolities, from fraudulent operations that impose class values or cynical attitudes, away from spectacularity and market-like modes of display, and get instead to exercise creativity through critical thinking.
Right now, in the midst of a generalized global economic collapse, we need to rebuild and regain the central function that art used to have within a given society, its spiritual strenght and devotion for the care of one’s own entourage. For it has been this resignification of everyday experiences, turned into gulps of fresh air, which tend to conform ideals and utopias that makes one want to live, to love, to be, and sometimes even to die for. If this energy is still to be found there, it is because it has always been part of a collectivity. How to approach it, nurture oneself from it, perform with it and ultimately build and share one’s own experience through it might be the task for the coming years. At least nowadays, while the financial turmoil keeps fancy collectors away from disruptions in all of these practices, we might find some time to nurture more engaged endeavours that usually need some time to mature. So this year was a great season to start following one promising case, a preview of what the future can bring if a little of hope still remains.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sun flower oil
1 package vanilla sugar
1 package backing powder
1kg plums (or apricots or nectarines)
1) seperate the yolk from the albumen
2) whisk stiff the albumen
3) mix yolk + yoghurt + sugar + vanilla sugar
4) add slowly the oil
5) add the flower and the baking powder
6) slowly add the whisk stiff
7) put the dough into a pan and place the plums on top
Bake it with 180degrees at least 25 min.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Bodrum Center 26.297
TOWN TOTAL 105.932
VILLAGE TOTAL 25.735
GRAND TOTAL 131.667
Between june and august the population reaches approximately 1.000.000
Statistics taken from
Bodrum Yarimadasinin Cevresel ve Yapısal Gelecegi Sempozyumu, 2008.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Considering the millions of problems which are affecting the world nowadays, I do belive that the education is the unique and more effective solution to start changing the situation. One of these problems can be found in Gölköy, Bodrum (TR) because of the irresponsible cosume of the local resources by the tourists and the tourist managers. Maybe is a little bit late to recover part of the coast, but not for show next generations how to use and conserve the natural heritage.
One of the most effective methodologies I've ever worked with is the Visual Thinking and I would like to write down some of the webs where you could find more information about it... İt is just one suggestion for beginning:
Marina García Rodríguez
Friday, August 8, 2008
more at http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=1113
Poverty alleviation has become an essential condition for peace, environmental conservation and sustainable development, besides being an ethical obligation in an affluent world, where the divide between poor and rich nations seems to have increased in recent years. According to the UNDP 2006 Annual Report, 2.5 billion people live on less than US$ 2 a day. Despite a growing world economy many people in developing countries are not reaping the potential benefits of globalization.
The potential for tourism to play a significant role in the alleviation of poverty is increasingly recognised by international bodies and national governments. Its geographical expansion and labour intensive nature support a spread of employment and can be particularly relevant in remote and rural areas where many of the poor live. UNWTO statistics show the growing strength of the tourism industry for developing countries. In 2005, international tourism receipts for developing countries (low income, lower and upper middle income countries) amounted to US$ 203 billion. Tourism is one of the major export sectors of developing countries, and is the primary source of foreign exchange earnings in 46 of the 49 Least Developed Countries.
more at http://www.unwto.org/step/index.php
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
YURTSUZ DÜNYALILARA SINIRDA UMUT KAMPI - Call for a noborder-Camp in DIKILI close to Izmir, Turkey from 3rd - 7th of September 2008
Homeless earthlings' camp at the border
YURTSUZ DÜNYALILARA SINIRDA UMUT KAMPI - Call for a noborder-Camp in DIKILI close to Izmir, Turkey from 3rd - 7th of September 2008.
more at http://no-racism.net/article/2510
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
While searching of contemporary artworks produced in the region, I realized that two very influential women artists, Gulsun Karamustafa and Hale Tenger, produced site-specific works in Ephesus.
Souvenir/ Gulsun Karamustafa
Installation view, Antique city, Ephesus, 1995
"In 1995, Karamustafa installed a work called "SOUVENIR" at the Temple of Hadrianus in Ephesus. Several years before the scientific excavation of this site got under way in the early twentieht century, an Englishman called J. T. Wood took control of the temple himself and in true colonialist style began excavating it a way that had more to with vandalism and plunderin than with archeology. Karamustafa therefore took a photo-engraving of the Turkish laborers engaged by Wood, enlarged it to life size and then cut out the faces of the laborers to leave only head-shaped holes behind. This panel, which by now looked like something one might find at an amusement park, was then set up directly behind the entrance to the temple where tourists visiting the site used it to take snapshots of each other. By turning a historical document into a tourist parody, Karamustafa was able to tease out the parallels between international tourism and colonialism."
(Barbara Heinrich, My Roses My Reveries, YKY, 2007, p. 70 - 71)
Birth vs. Death/ Hale Tenger
Site-specific installation at Ephesus, Selcuk, 1995
"Tenger had touched upon issues regarding life/death and being/nothingness a year ago in "Birth/ Death" (1995) during "The Imagination of History" exhibition held at Ephesus a year ago; and she had again taken a specific point of reference to delve into the more general antinomy of absence/ presence. By accommodating the ancient sites from Ephesus -therefore a past in full view of the viewer -and the inventory of births and deaths in the district based on records she obtained from Selcuk Registration Directorate -therefore the personal history of past civilizations with the birth/ growth/ death stages of human life and therefore again referring to the concept of transience"
(Ahu Antmen, Stranger WIthin, YKY, 2007,p. 80 - 81)
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Eduardo Thomas' selection includes; "Mexico" - dir. Mike Hoolboom, 2007 (Canada), "I am me" - dir. Kathrin Resetartis , 2006 (Austria), "Film" - dir. Samuel Becket , 1943 (USA), "Fronteriladia" - dir. Jesse Lerner & Rubén Ortiz-Torres, 1995 (Mexico/USA), "Habana Solo" - dir. Juan Carlos Alom, 2000 (Cuba), "How little we know of our neighbors" - dir. Rebecca Baron, 2005 (UK), "And thereafter II" - dir. Lee Hosup, 2006 (Korea), "Zoosónico" - dir. Sal Ricalde, 2002 (Mexico), "Lovely Andrea" - dir. Hito Steyerl, 2007 (Germany)
The Pathologies of the Touristic Experience/ Blanca de La Torre
The Pathologies of the Tourist Experience" aims to come up with a reflection about the reality of tourism and other forms of territory recreational appropriations. It also illustrates the popular rituals that with the progressive increase of tourism now appear to be natural to the contemporary consumer. By examining some of the cultural, ecological and economical problems that have arisen as the byproducts of massive tourism, the show arises questions that are not usually discuss in the artistic sphere but are a current reality to make a space for reflection.
Artists considered: Patricia Esquivias (Venezuela), Avelino Sala (Spain), Manuela Viera Gallo (Chile), Itzíar Barrio (Spain), Daniel Seiple (US), Daniel Zimmerman (Germany), Francesco Jodice (Italy), Angie Eng (US), Jani Ruscica (Finland), Montse Arbelo and Joseba Franco (Spain)
Steve Fagin will screen his film "Cuba" Tropicola( 85min) on the 29th of August and will talk about his work the next day.
Marcus, George E. and Myers, Fred R. The Traffic in Art and Culture.
Kwon, Miwon. One Place After Another, Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity, The MIT Press.
Kester, Grant H. Conversation Pieces/ Community & Communication in Modern Art, University of California Press, 2004.
and find out more about it. They also have some information of Bodrum.
One of its founders is Latife Tekin, an important writer, who has recently been harrassed by the Karabuk mayor for commenting negatively about the energy policy of the government :
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Tuesday, July 29/ 18:30-20:00
There is not a single or evident relationship between art and politics because these are not stable and fixed territories. Both are spheres in constant change that allows us to imagine different articulations and crossovers. More than trying to determine what can be labeled as "political art", what seems important is to imagine different articulations and crossovers. More than trying to determine what can be labeled as "political art", what seems important is to search the possible meanings of these territories, and to think in which ways the relationship between politics and art establishes different configurations and possibilities of action and reaction. The relationship that I want to point out , as a way to start digging in, is the aesthetic one between politics and art. the intention is to identify the politics of visibility that established the dominant forms of representation and identification in order to question the role of art practices within this structure of experience. Art practices can work to reinforce the established conditions and to maintain the dominant representations, or can create other rearrangements where other meanings, forms and objects can appear. Maybe, the political strength of art practices lies in the poetic potency of creation that confronts the dominant forms of representation. Perhaps in order to think of "political art", we have to think what each specific practice does to the political. Art is a practice that does not only move within some specific politics. It can also be a political practice when it enables action and mobilization. "How to play between politics and the poetical?" can be a question to think of the relationship between art and politics.
Wednesday, July 30/ 18:30-20:30
How do we think about the relationship between art and politics?
Mapping the Contemporary Landscape
Below you will find translated summaries of recent newspaper clippings from Radikal Newspaper about Bodrum. Although it is a very subjective collection (very short period and only one newspaper), it gives an idea about the contemporary issues in the region.
“European Shore” Insurgence in Bodrum, 28th April, 2008
In Golturkbuku, where most celebrities choose to go for their vacation, the municipality started executing the “City Planning Project, which has a budget of 2.000.000 YTL. On the side of the beach known as the “Anatolian Side”*, which is mostly used by middle-class tourists, about 30 decks were taken down. The demolitions were stopped when the “European Side”* of the beach was reached, where more expensive hotels are. 100 signitures were collected with a petition protesting the injustice.
*It references the two sides, continents, of Istanbul, which is on both Europe and Asia.
Deprivation Zone Bodrum, May 04th, 2008
In Bodrum, where 100,000 tourists do open-water scuba diving each year, the decompression chamber cannot be operated because a doctor cannot be appointed.
The Ghost Appeared in Habur, Oktay Durukan, May 4th, Radikal Iki, 2008
The article is about 18 refugess, who were caught trying to pass the Aegian sea to arrive at Greece. Once caught, they were brought to a river, Dicle, at the boder of Iraq. They were forced to pass the river by swimming. 4 of them drowned to death.
A decision from the Council of State to save Bodrum, May 31st, 2008
A new article was passed, which gave the authority to confirm the building schemes for Bodrum, to Ministiry of Tourism and Culture. With an appeal to the court by architects, who argued that this would have disastorous results for ecology, the decision was taken back.
With the incentive of “Tourism and Culture Development Program” of the ministry, 30,000 houses have been constructed in the last two years in Bodrum. According to the ministry plan, 70 hectars in Golturkbuku and 368 hectars in Mumcular have been consigned to become golf fields. According to the plan, almost all the areas that have been protected and open to public use until now, was given to private sector for tourism.
Shores in Turkey are under the custody of this mentality, June 17th, 2008
In the Pina Peninsula of Mugla, it was discovered that MNG construction has used the rubble of their construction site to fill the sea . They filled 6500 m2 area. The construction was stopped with promises from the local government to make them remove the fillings. The Tourism Ministry allowed the constuction to continue…