31 Aralık 2010 Cuma

Daniel Miller: Behind closed Doors

the study of home life is hardly new to anthropology. Indeed it is probably its core. Typically, in the "classic" period of ethnographic enquiry, supervisors would instruct their graduate students that it was essential that they live in the homes of their informants, at the heart of the community.
attfield: wild things: the material culture of everyday life
Auslander: Taste and Power
birdwell-Pheasant: House Lİfe: Space place and Family in Europe
csikszentmihalyi : : The meaning of things: Domestic symbols and the self
steedman:the tidy house
rapport-Dawson: migrants of identity

very mobility of food , the fact that it can be easily transferred from one country to another, which makes it suitable as their means to stabilise their sense of home.
food is often intimately associated with both the particular cooking and smells of one's natal home and more generally the taste" of one's homeland.

sense of home emanating not from a house but from mobile material culture.

8 Aralık 2010 Çarşamba

personal space

can I measure it?
task: do measure it. a metric measurement device might be hard to use. maybe not hard but odd. what if I ask for permission from the person standing in front of me to measure it? I can do a guess, or measure it with non-metric devices. like the number of ceramic tiles between us.
that would be my approximate sense of distance in britain context.
then i should measure the others, how much space they leave between them when they que.
there should be some parameters setting this distance:
where you are waiting: indoor outdoor? is it a packed space?
what is the aim of queing? to withdraw money? people might leave extra space between each other if it is a atm que.
the level of conscious of the quer? (is there such a word first of all?) does drunkenness affect the queing practice?
i might also look at the way people sit in the library, when they are studying.

6 Aralık 2010 Pazartesi

on Agoraphobic Plant Collector

at the beginning of this project I had a bunch of picture taken at my mother's home, detailing all the objects with floral designs on them. She likes to adorn the house like an artificial, indoor garden; representations of nature, especially flowers are everywhere, they are on carpets, tablecloths, curtains, bric-a-bracs. and there are some potted living plants as well, that she looks after, and some fake flowers that I occasionally throw into bin, unbeknown to her. And on the other hand, she does not like the idea of cut flowers rotting in the vase. For her they are waste of money.

(I dont know where it does come from, but we have a tendency to go for fake, artificial things, that looks like something but not exactly the original thing, the real thing, a kind of looking for substitutes rather than the real one. Sometimes related with lack, going for substitutes. but the topic is not that at the moment, so I will try to go back on track)

The highly ornamental, floral twin Persian carpets in the house are the crystallisation of this preference.It is one of those eastern carpets, that represent paradise, the eternal spring. an oriental rug representing the Garden of Paradise in the middle of a house seems to support the associations of home with rest and peace.

For the piece “Agoraphobic Plant Collector”, I used a display cabinet in the college, and played with the ideas of curiosity cabinets, turning the “garden” in my family home into a subject of botanical study. Obviously there is a sharp contrast between a home garden in this sense, and scientific study of botanical study.
And I was trying to understand this tendency to adorn the house with representations of anonymous nature specimens through looking at this contrast, through a twisted lens or better put through an inappropriate language. trying to look at these two perspectives through one another.

I tried to identify the original flowers, their equivalance in real life, through some pencil drawings, first. I was trying to extract a realistic representations of these flowers on the carpet, as does botanical illustrations with real plants.

Botanical illustrations dissects the plant, represent it as realistically as possible, in a sense, maps the plant and the geography it is coming from. Those illustrations were once considered as reliable resources to prove the existence of species. The other forms of proof were the specimen itself, or ...I dont remember the third, I should check my notebook I was using when I visited British museum. Well, the point is, that botanical illustrations were reliable sources to depend on, to prove the existence of a specimen. They were that real.

Interestingly, botanical gardens, as places of encounter with the exotic species, as artificial homes for the flora of faraway lands were also associated with idea of Garden of Eden at its early stages.
Throughout the middle ages the Garden (of Eden) was believed, somehow, to have survived the Flood, and in the great age of geographical discoveries in the fifteenth century, navigators and explorers had hopes of finding it. When it turned out that neither East nor West Indies contained the Garden of Eden, men began to think, instead, in terms of bringing the scattered pieces of the creation together into a Botanic Garden, or new Garden of Eden" (Prest, 1981, p.9).
Beyond this more theological explanation, the practice of botanical gardens and botanical illustration is representative of the age of discoveries, of Enlightenment in the western civilisation. The transported species of flora from far away countries brought to European centres and kept in botanical gardens, under artificial living conditions suiting to the needs of the plants. In terms of the audience at the centre, it meant encountering with difference and a spectacle to enjoy those eccentric, exotic worlds and all within the very safe and tame boundaries of the home/land.

Another strand of my research for this project was to look at idea of garden and gardening, on the origins of gardening, domesticating a piece of nature, and why we developed such a habit. The earliest and most famous garden to date is The Hanging Garden's of Babylon, which was allegedly built to relieve homesickness of Amyitis, the wife of King Nebuchadnezzar.
"...Amyitis, daughter of the king Medes who seems to have had a passion for mountainous surroundings. Babylon's flat desert-like landscape made her pine for the mountains of Media where she was brought up. So the king decided to build an artificial, terraced hill lushly cultivated with trees and flowering plants."

For further investigation:

-The emphasis on the homesickness in the story...
-the potted plants at home, home as a greenhouse, hot house.
the routine chore of the plant grooming: watering, wipeing the leafs, picking rotten leaves, changing the soils once a year, and changing the location of the plants, depending whether they like their place, the position of the sun, the wind, the conditions.
-greenhouses, hot houses, pineries, orangeries were developed to grow exotic species (back at that time) and became more prevalent as the time passes.
-gardening as the act of controlling the uncontrollable as r. Parker puts it.

5 Aralık 2010 Pazar

lorem ipsum

on my way back home, I lost my balance and slided on the icey pathway. I said "fuck" silently to myself. There was no one beside me to communicate in English, but I didnt say sss... that I would do if I were in Turkey, but used f word.
I wondered why, fuck and sktr is almost perfect translations of each other. and in duration the two are similar in duration as well, when you pronounce it, the sound of the words last 2 seconds at most. so, if what one prefers is a short and sudden sound they both fits to this need. and if one would like to put her anger, fear, fury, they both feed this need as well.
When I am too angry, to annoyed by something, sometimes a mouthful of swear works perfectly to unwind, to evacuate. the more angry I am, the more I need to swear. But I am not very good at finding enough nasty words to totally relax. So I try to find out some words long enough to keep my mouth as busy as possible, and if they have the strong consonants better. most common and obvious swears have those consonants (p,ç,t,k) and the more you press these the more aggressive you sound. For example, "züccaciye" (glasware) has a very strong sound, and it is also very out-of-date word that not everyone is familiar with.
then I was thinking of using a dummy text, if the only thing that matters is the duration the tonation. and the meaning deriving from the feeling should be filled with an embodied memory.
I dont know how its going to work, but the initial idea is this: to give plot to people, for example: you are walking on a icy pathway and suddenly you slide, you were about the fall, but you didnt, what would be the first sound that would come through your mouth?

than I will ask them to produce this sound with the text below. or I will try to make the sound myself with the dummy text.
well, if it is just an "ouch" no need for dummy text, isnt it?

Lorem ipsum...
I checked that infamous dummy text online: Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard Lorem Ipsum passage, used since the 1500s

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum."
Section 1.10.32 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum", written by Cicero in 45 BC

"Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?"
1914 translation by H. Rackham

"But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?"
Section 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum", written by Cicero in 45 BC

"At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat."
1914 translation by H. Rackham

"On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains."

I will memorize it.
as we used to memorise arabic prays.
because it is good to know them.
You should recite 3 kulhu 1 elham for the soul of the passed away.
and ayetel kürsi when you have karabasan, or nightmare, or when you are afraid.

what would a dummy text save you from.
cranium fibula radius sacrum patella corpus: nasıl ezberlenir allahım, arabca dua eden insanın latince kemikleri
sometimes those words that I havent grown up with feels like dummy texts. empty, superficial, trivial. that is probably why I am putting words with similar meanings side by side, I am illiterate to their cultural-social history, burden.
I put words side by side, with different order and hope they will mean what I would like to express.

3 Aralık 2010 Cuma

my analytical voice and the voice I need to adopt when I am writing about myself.

ı need to clarify why ı am choosing autoethnography as a methodology.
1. the work derives from my own experience: (is it enough)
2. if I keep field notes, would it make it ethhnography straigtforward?
3. which question should those field notes cover?
though it is not a respectful academic reference, there you are some instructions by ehow:
Choose the location or group that you want to observe. Select based on how the group's activities help you investigate the social issue you are studying. Arrange a schedule of observation with a person in a position of authority within the group or organization.
Decide whether or not you want to be open about your study with the people you are observing. Some people feel uncomfortable or act differently when they know they are being watched.
Keep a notebook and pen with you at all times. Jot down noteworthy interactions and quotes when possible.
Be discreet and protect your notes. Field notes are documentation of what you witness and may include conflicts or gossip. Use significant keywords that jog your memory. Refer back to keywords to develop thorough notes after you have left the field.

Type up a detailed version of your notes for future analysis. Fill in the gaps of your field notes by reading the keywords and fully explaining the situation you observed. Use code names for the people you observed to protect their identities. Include an interpretation and impressions at the end of the document.
Read more: How to Write Ethnographic Field Notes | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2081359_write-ethnographic-field-notes.html#ixzz175vsYJVm

Your objective is to create an accurate written record of your field activities, investigations, observations and thoughts. You should record date and location information in a very detailed manner so that others can know exactly when, where, and under what conditions your work was done. This will enable you or others to return to the same areas in the future to verify findings and observe changes over time.


Follow this format in your field notes:

1. Field notes should be divided into two sections: Journal and Species Accounts

2. Write on one side of the paper. Leave a generous left margin as shown in the ex-

3. Write your name in the upper left-hand corner

4. Write the year in the upper right-hand corner underneath your name.

5. Write the day and month in the upper left margin.

6. Write “Journal” in the top margin of your journal pages, and the name of the species
in the top margin of your species account pages.

7. Write in complete sentences and paragraphs. You can think of field notes as a letter
to a friend or relative explaining what you saw. Or think of them as a letter to someone
visiting the area 20 years later who is unfamiliar with the area.


1. Put a heading on the top line of each page which identifies your location. You
should include specific site, city, county and state. Underline the heading. (Joseph
Grinnell underlined his location with a wavy line.)

2. Note the purpose of the trip (Why?)

3. Note who went on the trip with you (Who?).

4. Note the time of day of each important observation (When?).

5. Information about the places you visit should be written so that someone unfamiliar
with the area can find your exact location using maps and your description. Tell where
you started and where you went. Include what road or trail you walked on, or the
general route you took if you did not follow a road. (Where?).

6. Include notes on the weather, elevation, topography, geology, soil, water, vegetation
types, plant phenology (what life stage they are in), and evidence of disturbance (fire,
grazing, cultivation, etc.) (What?).

7. Be accurate. If you have to guess about something, identify your guess as a guess. It
is appropriate to speculate about things and to ask questions. Do include your feelings,
intuitions and thoughts! Just be sure you don’t mislead a reader into thinking your
thoughts are facts!

8. Be detailed and quantify your data as much as possible. “Saw some ducks on the
pond” is not as useful as “saw 12 pintail (7 males and 5 females) on the southeast end
of Olcott Lake about 5 m from the shore.”

9. Sketches and drawings can be very useful. Rough sketches and diagrams add details
and depth to your notes.

10. You may take temporary notes on a smaller field notebook, then transcribe your
notes into your permanent journal. You should transcribe as soon as possible after you
leave the field, and always the same day as your trip.


1. Create a page for each species you observe. This is the place for more detailed
descriptions and observations of an individual or group of one particular species.
Include sights, sounds, smells, textures, patterns, sizes, shapes, colors, and move-
ments. Include numbers of individuals, sizes, frequencies and behaviors.

this one must be the most useful one
1. What I write in the field, the bare minimum:

Date & time

Who & where

Note where people are placed in relation to each other/main objects (i.e houses, office layout, the Ormiston Gorge Kiosk etc)

Dot point* main topics of discussion/event flows/observations

Record verbatim any key quotes

Record any questions the situation raises for you that require later clarification or follow up

Record any ideas/creative zaps/insights you have whilst in-situ (place is powerful)

*Some situations allow you to write more freely (and copiously) than others. Some research sites are used to people with note books, writing furiously. If you’re fortunate to be in such a situation, go for it. Otherwise, jotting dot points on a piece pf scrap paper or a pad that looks like a shopping list might be more appropriate. I recall a story from a PhD student who was undertaking fieldwork near a sensitive Chinese border and regularly had her notes & papers taken by authorities. There were times when she couldn’t take field notes at all. Thus, a shopping list with random points on it might be your only choice.

2. What I write afterwards, ASAP if possible.

I use my dot points to create a narrative of the situation, events etc. What do I mean by a narrative? Tell the story of what happened in detail. I do this away from the field, in private (as much as possible), without disturbances (also as much as possible).

I finish with a paragraph or two of reflection on the event/situation relating to my current thinking about my research problem/trajectory.

I also find this process creates new questions, which I also record as part of the reflection section (and highlight for follow-up along with those in the original ‘dot point’ section).

I do not code at this point.


If you read my comments posted on Savage Minds, you’ll see I’m very much a pen-and-paper girl. I use a hardcover notebook, A5 size. Why A5? It fits in a backpack or handbag (for American readers: pocketbook – which incidentially is a word that means laptop computer to Australians!) easier than the clumping great A4 notebooks that others use. I now use spiral bound, hard cover note books, but for some reason I’ve never understood, when I did my PhD work I didn’t use spiral bound. Also, I take notes on sheets of paper, ‘shopping lists’ or ’to do list’ type pages if the situation requires me to be discrete.

I have used a variety of minidisc players, mini voice recorders, expensive voice recorders and even an MP3 player to record interviews – but rarely for field notes. I find them intrusive. In fact, much of my work has been done with Aboriginal people, and I’ve only used voice recording for: stories & songs when requested by the informant themselves, words (place names, site names) in language (Aboriginal languages) that people wish to teach me, formal interviews.

I use a plain old blue pen and always have a spare.


For me, why you take field notes is a personal question, related to your own research. My advice is: if you’re a PhD researcher, you can’t have too many field notes (I have 7 books of field notes from my PhD & 2 from my Honours; a good friend of mine had 12 field note books for her PhD). It’s this simple: field notes will provide a rich source of data to mine when you’re writing up/thinking about your research. They can also be used to triangulate (back up, verify) with interview/focus group/discourse analysis etc data.



I will post as a separate downloadable document an (edited) example of my system shortly. For now, here’s just two books of the hundreds (!) available that I’ve found useful about field notes:

Emerson, R., Fretz, R., & Shaw, L. (1995). Writing Ethnographic Field Notes. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.

The place to start, particularly if you’re extremely reflexive. Tells you how to do it, write them up, code them, turn them into data.

Sanjek, R. (ed.). (1990). Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology. Cornell University Press.

I haven’t used this one personally, but it comes highly recommended.

Whyte, W.F. (1984). Learning from the field: A Guide from Experience. Sage: Newbury Park.

One of my favourite books on qualitative research methods.


Ethnographies that give *some* insight into field note methods:

(again, this is a short list – I’ll add to it later.)

Dianne Bell. (1993). Daughters of the Dreaming.

Paul Willis. (1977). Learning to Labour.

W.F.Whyte. (1993). Street Corner Society.

Basil Sansom. (1979). The Camp at Wallaby Cross

so well, what does ethnography add up to my practice?
research as practice.
why am I chosing this methodology, whereas it is so hard for me to make myself talk about myself, or better said take the start form myself, un-anchor the thing from my position. demir almak kendimden.

Kimse dinlemiyorsa beni ya da istediğim gibi dinlemiyorsa günlük tutmaktan başka çare kalmıyor. Canım insanlar Sonunda bana bunu da yaptınız.

oğuz atay

böyle kapansın perde, ya da burdan mı açalım?

4 Kasım 2010 Perşembe

the real thing: contemporary art from china

On Wednesday Dr. Simon Groom, the curator of the Scottish Modern Art gallery gave a talk about the show "The Real Thing: Contemporary Art From China" he curated when he was working at Tate Liverpool.
He started the talk mentioning about his interest in China and showing some pictures he took when he was there for a year. More like touristic pictures though, it was the first time I was seeing touristic pictures of China. The most interesting thing was, those touristic pictures were an introduction for a curator to talk about for an exhibition he realised with selected artist from China.
Groom began to work for the exhibition almost fife years in advance, conducted a very deep down research on chinese contemporary art, made hundreds of studio visits.
His interest in China overlapped with the recent interest in Chinese art, and paved the way for "The Real Thing".
Groom worked with two local critics from China, to provide him with a list of artist that they considered worth looking at. At the end, 18 artists were selected, and commissioned to produce new work for the exhibition.
At some point he told that as a policy they dont do "geography based exhibition", as they might be considered as patronising, politically incorrect etc.
I couldnt fully grasp where to place "the real thing", given that he opts it out of the geography based exhibitions. It is an anthology of Chinese contemporary art to me and when I checked the official website of Tate liverpool, what I have read about the exhibition did not disapprove me:
The title, ‘The Real Thing’, can be taken straight, as an indication that the exhibition is a true reflection of contemporary art in China today. These predominantly young contemporary artists, largely based around Beijing and Shanghai, have chosen to remain in China, unlike many of the generation before them, and are moving towards a self-confidence and maturity that stems from an understanding of the contemporary world, China’s place within it, as well as the contemplation of their own individual positions within a society at a time of rapid, and profound cultural change.
The artists are positioned within the discourse of China, and regarded as if their art stems from an understanding of their country's position within world order, thus as if they are representative of it.?
Groom, referring to the mimicry element on most of the works of the artists related this phenoma to the rapid change of the environment in China. where everyday reality is always demolishes itself, becomes a scene of constant revolution, the individual artist unable to compete with the revolutionary everyday life prefer to reproduce that reality.
you cant define every artist based on a particular geography with wide brushstrokes of course, but apparently there are some tendencies, some general responses in the art of each social-political realities.

29 Eylül 2010 Çarşamba

yesterday I have come across with one of my greek friends after a long time.
we supposed to do the usual greeting ceremony...a moment of hesitancy...should I kiss (a pretend kiss) him on both cheeks, do they also (pretend to) kiss on both sides? or do they kiss like british, just on one side. or do they not kiss at all.
we end up with the double.
a friend of mine, when she come across with one of her chinese friends dared to try kiss him on the cheeks. the guy was schocked and she wad extremely ashamed.

my brother used to say that one kiss is for "sosyetik", ,it is regarded as a snobbish kiss.

the everyday details and how they turn me into a freak.

25 Eylül 2010 Cumartesi

24 Eylül 2010 Cuma

bayrakatlama from esraoskay on Vimeo.

MOV01717 from esraoskay on Vimeo.

22 Eylül 2010 Çarşamba

germination: heat and darkness and humidity
after germination: humidity

aralıklı ekilecek

önce yeşillendirip sonra ekilecek

yeşillendikten sonra üstünü kapatmaya gerek yok, sulanacak düzenli olarak


fasulye nemden hoşlanmıyo

mercimek her yola var

lauriston castle glasshouse:2010 september

2 Temmuz 2010 Cuma

The Influence of (Self) Exoticism on the Contemporary Art Scene of Turkey
If there is a programme, a concept like “westernization”, the Ottoman Empire is among the first examples that went through such an experience, Murat Belge suggests (2002). The westernization/modernization of Turkey has widely focused on the cultural scene and social structure of the country. Beginning during Ottoman empire with small reforms, it has developed into a new phase with the establishment of Turkish Republic, which has tried to find a place within its model of modernization, of West. The Republic of Turkey has had sharper, stringent understanding about modernization, aimed to form citizens fit for the ideal country that is going to be achieved through this project.
Belge claims that as the concept “West” thought to be slightly threatening, or apt for reservations, “westernization” was replaced by the term “modernization”, which was considered to be more neutral (Belge, 2002, p.43, Kocabaşoğlu, 2002, p.15,). Falih Rıfkı Atay’s equation also corresponds to this sense “global modernity=European civilization=westernization” (Atay quoted in Kahraman, 2002, p.169).
“In so far as the West was equated with the very principle of ‘civilization’” as Kevin Robins argues, “the logic of westernization had come to seem necessary and inevitable” (1996, p.67). The current political climax fashioned by the negotiations with European Union and the debates over the integration process has brought a ground control at issue. The reconsideration of the objectives of the westernization/modernization project and the standpoint of the country has also brought a reorientation process, thus a question of national identity, which has been constructed with the modernization project against the Ottoman Empire’s heritage.
European Union’s will to know its prospectus member has placed once again the definition of Turkey and Turkish identity at the centre of our everyday lives, making us revisit every detail from the food we consume to our understanding of the history of the country. The recent interests in Turkish art, exhibitions with the theme of “Turk” in it, are some artefacts of this reorientation process, which will be the focus of this paper.
Being mainly a cultural revolution, the Turkish Modernization project has focused on cultural field particularly, aimed to form modern and western minded culture and subjects. The subjects were exposed to dramatic changes in all fields with the reforms and revolutions derived from the West to form a “civilized” country. From alphabet, to measurement devices, from the way people dress to the music they listen to every aspect of life has been set towards West.
Uğur Mumcu , in his talk on the Köy Enstitüleri quotes from a humor magazine the answer given to the question “What is a Turkish citizen?”
…a Turkish citizen is someone who marries according to the Swedish Civil Code, penalised according to Italian Penal Code, judged according to German Penal Proceeding, administered according to French Administrative Law and buried according to the Islamic Code.
Kevin Robins , in a similar line, states that, “the question of Turkish identity and cultural experience” can not be evaluated without taking the European West into account (Robins, 1996, p.64). As an “other” of the story of the Europe, Turkish identity and European identity are considered together, at least in terms of Turkey. This divide that separates and connects us together, now visible with the encounter with EU has brought a tension, as Erden Kosova draws attention to, which :
… has a decisive influence on the formation of contemporary ‘Turkish citizens’ psyches. Constant oscillations between recognition and exclusion, desire and resentment, cosmopolitanism and isolation fabricate a reflexive process, a crisis of the Self which has to be defined anew due to the changing relations with the ‘historical Other’(2002).

The demand to adapt to the western standards, and the social codes comes “alongside the conviction that, however much they try to do so it will be impossible for them to succeed” (Robins, 1996, p.66). Hence there seems to be an unbreachable gap between the two parties. Turgut Özal, the 8th prime minister of Turkey refers to this binary divide and argues that ‘Turkey is not alien to Europe, as is the popular belief, but is her alter ego, her complementary identity... But still Europe cannot see anything but an alien presence; it can only see the Turks in terms of a ‘negative identity’ “(Özal qtd in Robins, 1996, p. 80).
Under this negative gaze, Turkey tries to define and perform itself as a European country, accentuates its representation to prove how European it is, how much it deserves to be a member of the Union. The exhibitions of late years that introduces (and thus defines) Turkey, “Turkish Art” and Turkish culture are part of this process. Since the acceleration of negotiations with EU we have been witnessing an increase in those sorts of exhibitions and “co-operation between the European Union and Turkey in the field of cultural policy and funding programs” as Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin draws our attention to (Alptekin, 2005, p.2). The question is, how this process affect the way we perceive ourselves, particularly how it affects the artistic production in Turkey.
Underscoring the effects of cultural contact on the artistic production, Peter Wollen lists three phases, three different responses to this phenomenon (1993). For the argument of my paper, I would like to outline Wollen’s idea of “tourist art”, one of the three phases he mentions, an art that evolved as a result of the flux of people through tourism, and the encounter between the locals and tourists. It is an art that is produced by the locals for the tourists, for the outsiders, non-locals who try to buy, commodify their experience in that foreign, exotic land, and thus produces and reproduces an idea of authenticity, of locality, of identity. As long as the artist is able to produce the codes of the local, the authentic, the work will be considered as successful.
Wollen argues that while tourist art “reduces and simplifies, striving for intelligibility to an alien target group of foreigners, and, like pidgin it uses makeshift means of expression around a central core of universal features” there is also a possibility for real communication between cultures, a possible dialog. Can artistic language “create structures of communication in the most unpromising situations” as Peter Wollen suggests?
The traces of tourist art are not confined within the low-key culture. In contemporary visual art scene and its attitude towards non-European artists, off centre, similar relations are at issue. Jean Fisher discloses that the demand of ending “cultural marginality” lead the art industry exhibit more non-European artists (2004). In order to “manage the difference” as Jean Fisher and Gerardo Mosquera suggest, artists from the periphery have given the chance to exhibit their works, show their existence in art venues of the West (Fisher & Mosquera, 2005, p. 6). Thus, applying a “multiculturalist” perspective has become the response of the art institutions, confronted with the need to deal with cultural encounter in our era. However, the selection procedure of the artists is a little bit problematic she argues, as what is looked for is “appropriate signs of cultural difference”, an attitude Fisher bluntly defines as exoticization.
Non-European artists are still ‘expected’ to produce either “ ‘ethnic’ or ‘political’ art whilst other positions are tacitly ignored”(Fisher, 2004, p. 235). In other words, artists are expected to show, underline the differences what make them non-European and accordingly adopt the expected positions, for the sake of success.
Similarly Nikos Papastergiadis argues that “The argument about the need to expand the cultural boundaries of art seems to have been interwoven with a fetishisation of the alterity of the artist from the margin” (2005, p.341). As a result, those artists are considered not as individual subjects but as representative of essentialized, homogenized, exoticized culture that suits to the mindset of western institutions: “The exoticized artist is marked not as a thinking subject and individual moderator in his or her own right, but as a bearer of prescribed and homogenized cultural signs and meanings” (Fisher, 2004, p. 235).
As Stephen Foster has argued, the exotic functions dialectically as a symbolic system, domesticating the foreign, the culturally different and the extraordinary so that the “phenomena to which they …apply begin to be structured in a way which makes them comprehensible and possibly predictable, if predictably defiant of total familiarity” (Foster qtd in Huggan,2001, p. 21)
Exoticism, as Huggan suggests gives the illusion of closing the gap between the familiar and the exotic, the foreign, it seems to domesticate the strange, however, in essence it keeps it at a distance. In his own words, exoticism “effectively manufactures otherness even as it claims to surrender to its immanent mystery” (2001, p.13).
exotic :1590s, "belonging to another country," from L. exoticus, from Gk. exotikos "foreign," lit. "from the outside," from exo- "outside," from ex "out of." Sense of "unusual, strange" first recorded in English 1620s, from notion of "alien, outlandish." In reference to strip-teasers and dancing girls, it is first attested 1954, Amer.Eng.
Huggan lists three ways that the exotic, the stranger is being interpreted; “mystification (or leveling-out) of historical experience; imagined access to the cultural other through the process of consumption; reification of people and places into exchangeable aesthetic objects” (2001, p.19).
The rising interest in Balkan region and art beginning with its contact with European Union, preceding the example of Turkey bears the language of this exotic language. Since 2004, we come across with exhibitions travelling around Europe to provide a platform for introducing “Turkish”ness similar to what has being happened with Balkan Art since 1990’s. The Balkans or so-called South Eastern Europe countries have been the focus of the European Union, as they have become one by one members of the Union. Alongside have come attempts to understand, define and map the region. “Balkanization”, Balkan identity, and the validity of a recent invention called “Balkan art” have being discussed exhaustively:
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin draws attention to the similarities between those two particular cases, the interest in Turkey, Turkish art and culture and the interest in Balkans: “Probably there are similarities and a kind of raison d’etre within the Balkan region. Mainly it goes along with the ideological and political strategies of the European cultural policy decision-makers”(Alptekin, 2005, p.2). In accord to the cultural policies of Europe, at different times different regions, ranging from Balkans to Caucasian region, and to Turkey, has become the focus of attention says Alptekin. In case of Balkans, he remarks to the invention of “an abstract geographical area”, the South-East European region. He claims that the motives behind this invention are beyond “economic, geographical and political concerns” that European Union regards itself to be. The need for ‘otherness’ plays a crucial role at this inventive process. However cliché it is, Alptekin says, “the issue of the ‘other’ and ‘otherness’” is a still an unresolved and current problem (Alptekin, 2005, p.2).
Reflecting on the exhibitions, that focuses on , that claim to represent Balkan art and Balkan peninsula Miško Šuvaković claims that those exhibitions “…have explicit political function in constructing and performing the new European identity in the still-not definitely established European space”(2005). Šuvaković’s take of the issue also shows parallels with Alptekin and also with Özal, that considers the approach towards Turkish identity as a constitutionary other of the still not fully defined Europe. Within those exhibitions different tenses are at issue, Miško Šuvaković further tells (2005). Balkans are regarded from the perspectives of :
…Traditional modernist exoticism (Balkans as other, authentic and original), postmodernist eclecticism (Balkans as potentiality of quotations archive), Brazilianization (neo-liberal regulation of Balkan cultures), archaeological evaluation of discovered places, of oblivion and censorship of modernist progress, etc .
Under these burden of perspectives how is the image of the Balkans created? How should we assess the Turkish example, how should we see the exhibitions representing Turkish art and culture in Europe, and the influence of those events on the art scene in Turkey? Under what circumstances display those exhibitions an image of Turkey? Can we mention about a “discourse” as in the case of Balkans, “that tries to liberate the notion of the Balkans from its misrepresentations, misinterpretations, stereotypes and essentialisation”, that tries to “demystify” the stereotypical approach towards the “other”? To what extent serves those exhibitions to the discourse of the dominant conceptions about Europe’s, West’s perspective?
Branka Stipančić talks about the three crucial exhibitions that represent art from Balkans, In Search of Balkania, Graz; Blood and Honey - Future"s in the Balkan, Klosterneuburg; In the Gorges of the Balkans - A Report, Kassel (2005) . Stipančić argues that even with their tittles those exhibitions display “the Western view and stereotypes”. And also she finds the “ethnographic” interest of the some selected artist supportive of the “exoticist” point of view.
Just replacing the word “Balkan”, with “Turkey” will voice the questions and doubts surrounding the recent interest in Turkish art and culture. These exhibitions represent Turkish culture, identity and art under the high influence of exoticization, under West’s gaze towards its others. Several exhibitions have being held around European cities to introduce Turkey and construct an image of Turkey, “Turkish art”, culture and Turkish identity. And although they range in their attitude towards the topic, they have a certain perspective, they inhabit an exoticist point of view, there is a sense of self-exoticism, an intrinsic orientalism. In their claim to cover a culture they are confined to be reductionist.
Jean Fisher’s argument reconsidered, that what Western art institutions expect to see in the non-European artists work is cultural difference and accordingly the work should be either ethnic or political to appeal to the West. In that sense, the scheme of the works from Turkey shown in Western art venues is quite telling.
The controversial “Urban Realities: Focus İstanbul” exhibition in Berlin, in 2004, which caused debates among the artists and considered as reductionist, superficial and exotic, “Call Me İstanbul” in 2004 in Karlsruhe, which can be considered within similar terms, “Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600-1600” in the London Royal Academy of Arts in 2005, which covers a wide historical bracket, with the mission to display the “prosperous Turkish history”, the recent “Made in Turkey” exhibition in Frankfurt that claimed to display a retrospective of “contemporary Turkish art”, which raises questions about who writes the history of contemporary Turkish art, “Saison de la Turquie” in France are some examples of the so called “representative” grand exhibitions.
In an interview with Erden Kosova, Vasıf Kortun suggests that this kind of exhibitions are far away from being self-reflexive, rather they are self-exotic:
If you frame this problem within the context of the neo-exotic, the situation gets more complicated. I have written in the past of a contiguousness of imagining desire, the periphery’s projection of what a centre may desire, and the center’s projection (or pre-projection) of what the periphery should want to desire (Kortun, 2006).
In the other end of the non-western art in western art context, Erden Kosova draws our attention to politically engaged works of art in Turkey and suggests that, regardless of their strict, radical and bold political stance, these works are not visible outside the galleries; they are not visible in public sphere, by larger audience, thus unable to raise a public discussion. (2006). The works that deal with the “social problems, traumas, cultural conflicts”, with the identity politics of the region, meet with the audience mainly in European art venues, and there is a feeling that those works are realized for the art venues in Europe, for the centre Kosova argues. In a sense, rather than being an opportunity for a public discussion as those works claim, they become an exotic element, another scene from third world in European art venues that commodifies the subject matter of the artist, the social and political concerns of a region.
Kosova in his interview with Diyarbakır based artist Şener Özmen asks whether the productivity decreases for the one in periphery aiming towards center, whether artist from periphery are still alive, vivid once they enter the realm of the centre (2001). Özmen tells that everything flows towards center, everything follows the stream of the center. And everyone is producing for the center, which he disapproves.
Last remarks
Art in short, came to be fielded as central to the very machinery of historicism and essentialism; the very Esperanto of European hegemony (Preziosi, 2009, p.76).

When considered along with Kosova’s evaluation, we can see a ground in Jean Fisher’s suggestion on the expectations about non-European artists within Eurocentric art scene. The acceleration of the negotiations with European Union has run parallel with the rise of Turkey themed exhibition in Europe and a politically engaged works in contemporary Art of Turkey, as a result of the west centric gaze towards its other, non-western art. And European Union, as a project of border definition and thus identity formation has triggered this development.
Šuvaković (2005) argues that the European cultural policy, that seems to be based on identitarian agendas, on borders that prompt the exoticist perspective should be problematised to solve this issue. Knowledge and exoticism, to know and to exoticize, as Tzvetan Todorov states stringently, does not seem to be working together: “Knowledge is incompatible with exoticism, but lack of knowledge in turn irreconcilable with praise of others; yet praise without knowledge is precisely what exoticism aspires to be. This is the constitutive paradox” (Todorov qtd. In Huggan, 1993, p.265).


Belge, Murat. (2002). “Batılılaşma: Türkiye ve Rusya”. Modern Türkiye'de Siyasi Düşünce Modernleşme ve Batıcılık 3. Cilt. İstanbul: İletişim Yayınevi.
Fisher, Jean. (1994). Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism in the Visual Arts. London: Kala Press.
Fisher, Jean. (2004).“The Syncretic Turn: Cross-Cultural Practices in the Age of Multiculturalism.” Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985, Zoya Kocur& Simon Leung (ed), Willey-Blackwell Publishing.
Fisher, J. & Mosquera, G. (2005). “Introduction”. In Over Here: International Perspectives on Art and Culture, London, MIT Pres.
Huggan, Graham. (2001). The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins (1 ed.). New York: Routledge.
Kocabaşoğlu, Uygur. Modernleşme ve Batıcılık 3. Cilt. İstanbul: İletişim Yayınevi.

Kahraman, Hasan Bülent.(2002). “Bir Zihniyet, Kurum ve Klinik Kurucusu Olarak Batılılaşma.”. Modern Türkiye'de Siyasi Düşünce Modernleşme ve Batıcılık 3. Cilt. İstanbul: İletişim Yayınevi.

Kosova, Erden. (2001). Erden Kosova-Şener Özmen, 2001. http://sener-ozmen.blogspot.com/2009/02/erden-kosova-sener-ozmen-2001.html. Accessed at 02.07.2010.

Kosova, Erden (2002). http://www.ctrl-z.org/magazine/2002/international/manifesta4.html. Accessed at 02.07.10.

Kosova, Erden & Kortun, Vasıf. (2006). http://ofsaytamagol.blogspot.com/2007/06/erden-kosova-vasif-kortun.html. Accessed at 01.07.2010.
Kosova, Erden.(2007). Ofsayt ama Gol. . Accessed at 28 June 2007.

Minichbauer, Raimund (2005). “The Issue of 'Otherness' has Become a Cliché, But the Problem Still Exists: An e-mail-interview with Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin”. http://eipcp.net/policies/2015/alptekin/en. Accessed at 02.07.2010.
Mumcu, Uğur. (n.d). “Köy Enstitüleri Konuşması”. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x76z1c_uur-mumcunun-koy-enstituleri-konuma. Accessed at 30.06.2010.
Papastergiadis, Nikos. (2005). “The Limits of Cultural Translation”. Over Here
International Perspectives on Art and Culture. MIT Pres.
Preziosi, D. (2009). The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology (Oxford History of Art) (New ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, USA.
Robins, Kevin. (1996). “Interrupting Identities: Turkey/Europe”. Questions of Cultural Identity. Du Gay, P& Hall, S. (ed).
Svokovic, Misko. (2005). “What is to be done with ‘Balkan Art’”.Introduction. http://www.ljudmila.org/scca/platforma4/intro.html. Accessed at 28.06.2010.
Wollen, Peter.( 1993). “Into the Future: Tourism, Language and Art”. Raiding the Icebox: Reflections on the Twentieth Century Culture. London: Verso.

21 Haziran 2010 Pazartesi


artist as ethnographer
art work as ethnographic data
the process of work as an alternative ethnography
listing, taking notes, observing
does the methodology of the ethnographer artist supposed to mimic the ethnographer proper.
the ethnographic work artists conducting is different for sure.
another layer is present, the interpretation of the encounter into personal artistic language.
Being aware of the definitions, borders of ethnography, taking ethnography as a methodology to understand the difference, I am looking at the alternative models of ethnographic work artists provide.

18 Haziran 2010 Cuma

the possibility of using/abusing another discipline within ones own studies.
possible terms to capture the act involved: using-abusing-translating-misinterpreting-interpreting etc.
can one use a discipline metaphorically?
taking ethnography as a methodology of anthropology that searchs the culture originally, that has naturalised the colonisation historically, and originated from the need to orient oneself within the world, against the other and at the edge, as a study of home, excluding the problems of the discipline, ethnography proper and fitting it into the art context?
i am not doing ethnography.
and art is working with metaphors---basically---
you replace the things-terms-concepts you dont know with the ones you know.

ethnographic methods as a tool
botany as a metaphor to communicate

6 Mayıs 2010 Perşembe


on pot: akçıngırak-begonya

Art since the eighties has privileged the other stories of women, of queers, of the suppressed, in a parallel line with the postmodernist interest in the other, and as a result of the end of grand narratives. This interest led an increase in nineties of an art “based on personal reportage, fieldwork and/or archival research” (Bois & Buchloch &Foster &Krauss, 2005, p.625). The internal motive behind this tendency in the art scene emerged corollary to contemporary art’s changing perception of site, once considered more in physical terms. The critique of the site used to be limited to the art institutions solely, as a result of the new agendas in the new perception of place, of site, as Miwon Kwon tells, it has expanded its scope. The physical context of site has extended towards its social-political dispositions, its codification, thus its synchronic dimension, the horizontality, as Hal Foster suggests (2009, p.244). The topic of this paper will be this shift in contemporary art scene, the changing understanding of site and the acquisition of ethnography as a language within contemporary art practice. The underlying motives behind the tendency to turn to ethnographic language in art practice within the multicultural context of our time that short circuits West centric mindset and how it has fed into the art scene will be examined. Three recent examples: Burcu Yağlıoğlu’s video work” I would swallow you whole” and Deniz Sözen’s British alter ego, Suzan Dennis, and my own two recent works will provide case studies to think about those issues in flesh.

In “One Place after Another”, Miwon Kwon gives an account of the development of site-specificity in art, the trajectory that leads to the phenomenological concerns of site-specificity to be replaced by new agendas in the new perception of place, of site. A more physical understanding of minimalist site concerned with “actual physical attributes of a particular location (the size, scale, texture, and dimension of walls, ceilings, rooms; existing lightning conditions, topographical features, traffic patterns,seasonal characteristics of climate etc.)” has given way to place with its social, political agendas (Kwon, 2004, p.3).

The introduction of site-specific art into the art discourse was a result of the critique of the role of the art institution in the production, presentation and perception of art, at first place. However, it began to be acknowledged that the institutional framework is a discourse within the network of other discourses (Bois & Buchloch &Foster &Krauss, 2005, p.624), more than an abstract white cube. Alongside came the reconsideration of the audience, placing him/her within a social-cultural-political context that effects the perception of art “... for he or she was also a social subject marked by multiple differences of class, race, and gender ...” (Bois & Buchloch &Foster &Krauss, 2005, p.624), that inevitably affects the response to the art work.
As Hal Foster also suggests, the changing definition of art institution lead art to be considered as a discursive web made of different actions and institutions, other subjectivities and societies, bringing art practice to look closer at the realm of culture (2009, p. 230). Thus, art has began to face towards the realm of culture.

As a methodology of anthropology, ethnography has begun to be highly accepted as an approach for artistic production from nineties onwards, under this rubric. The underlying motives in this interest, defined as the ethnographic turn in art by Hall Foster, have been listed in Art Since 1900: Modernism, Anti-modernism and Postmodernism as such:
-anthropology as a discipline taking culture as its object of study has attracted artists as the culture and cultural representation have become the focus of the artists.
-the contextuality and interdisciplinarity of anthropology were features much appreciated and seeked in the art of post 80’s.
-anthropology, being a field that study otherness, which is also much prized by postmodernist artists, has made it “along with psychoanalysis, the common language of much recent art and criticism”(2005, p.625).
-the critique of “ethnographic authority” launched in the eighties also rendered anthropology attractive, for it suggests a special self-awareness on the part of the ethnographic artist (Bois & Buchloch &Foster &Krauss, 2005).

This tendency is deeply related with the postmodern interest in other stories, in the voice of the other. In that sense, ethnography as the study of “other” supplied a perfectly tailored approach.

Under the interest in the other lies, the look for one’s own truth, Hal Foster suggests. The modern subject, he tells, looks for the truth within the other, within the unthinkable and unconscious, which yields to the privileging of two disciplines, one of which is ethnography and the other psychoanalysis (Foster, 2009, p. 223).

The identity, in western philosophical system, is constituted in the “other”, through a disidentification-identification process, within the binary categories. The postmodernist identity politics implies decentring of the modern subject at the centre of meaning production, at the centre of the world (Foster, 2009, p. 223). Considering ethnographic practice as a means to play with this centre and “coping with the complexity of multiple centres with multiple peripheries” is a premise Alsop finds in the discipline (Alsop, 2002). Ethnography, once a tool for reinforcing the colonial ideology that enabled colonialism, now is working for a multi-centered world, in a multi-cultural world, that cannot accept a hierarchical cultural model.

Linda Thuwai Smith relays from Robert Young who argues that Hegel, as one of the leading figures of western dialectic,
...articulates a philosophical structure of the appropriation of the other as a form of knowledge which uncannily stimulates the project of nineteenth century imperialism; the construction of knowledges which all operate through form of expropriation and incorporation of the other mimics at a conceptual level the geographical and economic absorption of the non-European world by the West (Smith, 1999, p. 65).
The role of the other in the construction of western identity is highlighted by the academic disciplines that plays crucial role in the construction of the knowledge and accordingly in the sustenance of the Western subject. Diane Lewis, in this line, underscores the role of anthropology, as a field studying the other, providing the self knowledge to the Western self to accomplish the project of the self, to “fulfil the gaps of Western man’s knowledge about himself”. This presumption also lead to the study of the non-Western world only from the perspective of the Westerners “or outsider” (Lewis, 1973, p.582 ) resulting in the regarding the other as part of the identity and possession of Westerner.
The modern subject is the product of the modernity project, of which liberalism is a vital component. That modernity project has also brought the very same mindset that allowed “the systematic colonization of indigenous peoples in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries” (Smith,1999, p. 66). Referring to Pierre Bourdieu, Hal Foster also expresses his suspicions about traditional ethnography running the risk of sustaining “Cartesian opposition that lead the observer to abstract the culture of study. Such mapping may thus confirm rather than contest the authority of cartographer over site in a way that reduces the desired exchange of dialogical fieldwork” (qtd. in Kwon, 2004, p.138).

Anthropology and the sustenance of the centre

The status of anthropology, as a discipline designed as a corollary of colonialism, a discipline that has supported colonialist, west-centric ideas has began to be criticized highly from 80’s onwards (Clifford, 2002). Beforehand, the native other was considered as an object of study, it was seen as a means to accomplish the project of self. On that account, there was no need to take that object as an individual with its particularities, in its very idiosyncrasies. “Similarly the anthropologist, in his concern with patterns, ethos, structures, is several levels of abstraction removed from the raw data of individual motivation, attitude, and behaviour” (Lewis, 1973, p.585). The individual is subject to “objectification through depersonalization” which yield to sustaining “an already existing relationship of inequality” (Lewis, 1973, p.585-586).

With the postmodernist turn in the discipline self reflexivity began to be considered as a means to overcome the handicaps of the discipline that keeps on growing the gap, the inequality. Christiane Kraft Alsop is also for a self-reflexive project and suggests that “In the wake of colonialism anthropologists came up with the term self-reflexivity to understand ethnographic limitations and potentials”(2002).

One of the approaches that began to be appreciated for its power to overcome the handicaps of anthropology has been “auto-ethnography”. Auto ethnography “is an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural” (Ellis&Bochner, qtd in Alsop, 2002). This method resist the generalizing tendency of grand narratives that “refract and resist cultural interpretations” and aims to blur “the personal and cultural”.
Carolyn Ellis, in her text “Ethnographic I” draws a diagram of ethnography, divides it virtually into two, one end closer to science the other to art.

At the science end of qualitative spectrum, researchers approach qualitative research as an extension of quantitative enquiry. They are positivistic researchers whose goal is to produce propositional knowledge about human behaviour generalizable to specific populations” (Ellis, 2004, p.28).

Defining this category of research as realist, she suggests that people doing this sort of research privilege “theory generation, typicality, and generalisation to a wider world over evocative storytelling, detailing concrete experience, and multiple perspectives that include participant’s voices and interpretations” (Ellis, 2004, p.29). Thus in “realist ethnography”, researchers tend to look for a generalisability of particularities of the experience, put them under a rule, thus believe in the machine like functioning of the culture, in a sense, neglecting the factor of the individual.

At the other end of the research , which she finds more close to art, more impressionist and interpretive, stands auto ethnography. Ellis draws attention to the recent interest of the researchers in that kind of qualitative research, roughly since 1980s: “Researcher seek to tell stories that show bodily, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual experience”, which acknowledges “the complexities of concrete moments of lived experience” (2004, p. 30).
Christiane Kraft Alsop defines auto-ethnographers as “boundary walkers”. Their task is to engender a meeting ground for different cultures, at the threshold of “home and away, of being insider and outsider, of being personal and cultural selves”(Alsop, 2002). Jean Fisher, dubious about autobiographical approach in contemporary art production, thinks that this kind of approach does not make certain to achieve reality, the authentic voice. “However, the autobiographical in itself is no guarantee of an “authentic voice,” much less a critique of the determinations of the symbolic order, since the self is inescapably social in its formation” (Fisher, 2004, p.236 ). Yet the autobiographical approach does not claim to capture the “authentic voice”, it works just to muddy the clear essentialist takes of identity, of culture and acknowledges that identity is not static ready for capturing.

Fisher’s reservations about autobiographical approach and it’s inability to capture the authentic voice makes sense within the west centric multicultural art scene, towards its approach to non western art. She suggests that, in order the non-western artist in the western art world to exists he/she should either highlight her/his ethnic identity, difference or do political work. (Fisher, 2004, p.236). In a similar line, Hal Foster warns about the risk of colonizing the difference that might lead to a reductionist, exoticist view of the individuals (qtd in Kwon, 2004, p.139). Fisher’s argument that the expectations of western art institutions incarcerate the non-western artist within her/his difference, the overvaluing of difference, authenticity ends up in the stereotyping of the artist and his/her culture. Artist as ethnographer as long as he/she fetishizes the difference, runs the risk of taking identity, culture in essentialist terms, thus digging the gap further. It is an extension of colonial desires for difference, to sustain the self, to draw boundaries and just let the outsider into the centre provided that the other knows where to stand. In his work “The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins” Graham Huggan similarly draws attention to the decontextualisation and commodification of cultural difference as an outcome of “the continuities of older forms of imperial representation” (Huggan, 2001, p.19).

Jean Fisher discloses that the demand of ending “cultural marginality” lead the art industry exhibit more non-European artists that issue in their work “appropriate signs of cultural difference”. (Fisher, 2004, p.235). Similarly Nikos Papastergiadis believes that there is a “ fetishisation of the alterity of the artist from the margin” (2005,p.341). As a result, those artists are considered not as individual subjects but as representative of essentialized, homogenized, exoticized culture that suits to the mindset of western institutions.

On the other hand, this situation might also turn into an awkward censorship mechanism, that can end up muting the artists, which steals from the artist to engage in a critical relationship with his/her everyday live. Whenever the artist genuinely tries to engage with the social, political, historical agendas of her/his being, s/he is either blamed for “serving the western, orientalist, exoticist discourse”, as being in the periphery sells in the western art institutions, thus exploiting the marginal status of her/his geography or it is perceived as purely political act which leads the endeavour to be kindly neglected.

Figure 1. Burcu Yağcıoğlu. I would swallow you. 2009

In the last “Günümüz Sanatçıları Sergisi” ( The Artists of our time) Yağcıoğlu’s video work “I would swallow you whole” was defined by the curators of the show, as reflecting “geo-political labelling of the artist” which has become a characteristics of the contemporary art market’s “expected ‘exoticism’”(Yücel & Vidmar, 2009). What is happening here is “labelling” the artist as it is done by western art institutions but with a twist and not allowing her to talk sincerely about her concerns over her body, over daily practices, habitual processes that is at issue in this work. Rather than going for ready-made recipes to define and discard the artist so easily, generalising and finding patterns in the work similar to the colonialist ethnographer, the particularities of the work should be considered.

Zineb Sedira, for example, in her text for the “Veil” show, tells that veil, apart from being a public issue is also a part of her history, a private issue that she cannot prevent herself dealing with. She stresses Gayatri Spivak’s concerns about the commodification of those differences by the West, and asks:
What space does this leave visual artist when exploring the veil as the object of representation? Can the artist escape the burden or cultural responsibility of representation? Is the artist, or indeed the curator, responsible for reinforcing the stereotypes of an audience? (Sedira, 2004, p.184).

Her answer to those question is to keep on challenging “ the recurrent reductionism and work towards a critical, polyvocal dialogue”(Sedira, 2004, p.187). Thus, rather than leaving the issue of veil aside, as it is thought to serve to the stereotypical imagery of a culture, she chooses to itch that issue, however overloaded it is, which is a part of her own story at the edge of personal and cultural self.

Yağcıoğlu, in her video, does her hairdo in the fashion of the turban, she covers her hair with her hair. In her own words, what she sees in the act of veiling, covering oneself occurs in the presence of an other, imaginary or not (Yağcıoğlu,2007). What is happening in this work is, Yağcıoğlu’s placing herself in the place of an intrinsic other, an other woman that has developed another set of bodily configuration within the same social-political-cultural context. For Yağcıoğlu, one covers oneself at the presence of an other, the gaze of the other is what creates the act of covering.

Vasıf Kortun’s remarks on the body of Turkish woman, in which he sees the analogy of the country. The body has a hunchback due to constant hiding of its breasts, and if we are going to talk about a colour it is grey in tones, he suggests (Kortun, 2007).

A transference of the meaning of covering, she transforms an everyday practice of a distant relative, replacing herself by the disliked alter ego , the woman in her turban.. This experience has a possibility to allow her to step out of her invisible limits, and setting her foot into the same frameworks in another appearance, yet standing at the limit .

Figure 2. Burcu Yağcıoğlu. I would swallow you. 2009

Replacing the turban, that supposed to hide her hair, with her own hair, thus transforming it into its very opposition implies a transgression of the boundaries, both her’s and her other’s. This act is unacceptable by both ends. The motive is not an aggressive transgression act, however. She is transforming her everyday act, although momentarily, and stepping out of her everyday routine, short circuiting it, to allow her body to habitualize another mindset, thus adding it to the vocabulary of her bodily language and shifting her body, with the act of veiling, creating an interim space, walking on the boundary, as Alsop attributes to the task of auto-ethnographer.

Yağcıoğlu provides a story in a visual language, does not look for authenticity, for a difference, for eccentricity, but tells us her story. Michael Jackson, in the “Politics of Storytelling” reminds us the capacity of storytelling to be able to form a “social critique”, against the perception of stories as a kind of lullaby (p. 253). Similarly, Lisa Jane Disch points to Hannah Arendt’s view of political theory as not “descriptively accurate report of the world but to transcend the limitations of facts and information` to tell a provocative and principled story” (Disch 1994: 140)

The exotic, the strange appears in every corner of our daily life. In the words of Clifford, “This century has seen a drastic expansion of mobility, including tourism, migrant labor, immigration, urban sprawl...The ‘exotic’ is uncannily close”(2002, p.13). The “extraordinary realities” are close than ever, that cause an anxiety, an estrangement. As Christiane Kraft Alsop utters stringently, “There is nothing more difficult than this back and forth between ways of living, speaking, thinking and feeling. There is nothing more risky than switching between various identities and practices of estrangement” (Alsop, 2002). Thus, Yağcıoğlu’s work positions at this threshold, at the realm of estrangement within a familiar context. The highly criticised situation of her, playing the Turkish woman from an Islamic country working in/for the western art scene is a label that has attributed to her, regardless of her individual interest, thus objectifying, depersonalizing the artist and undervaluing her act.

1590s, "belonging to another country," from L. exoticus, from Gk. exotikos "foreign," lit. "from the outside," from exo- "outside," from ex "out of." Sense of "unusual, strange" first recorded in English 1620s, from notion of "alien, outlandish." In reference to strip-teasers and dancing girls, it is first attested 1954, Amer.Eng.

egzotik (tr) ~ Fr exotique foreign, weird ~ Gr eksōtikós εξωτικός foreign < EGreek eksō εξω exterior

Miwon Kwon points out to “the intensifiying conditions of spatial differentiation and departicularization –that is, the increasing instances of locational unspecificity- are seen to exacerbate the sense of alienation and fragmentation in contemporary life” (Kwon, 2004, p.8). In that sense, Clifford’s argument that ethnography’s first and foremost function is orientation gains a crucial role. It becomes an everyday task to do ethnographic work, to come across with the “exotic”, to reorient our realities. What Yağcıoğlu does is a reorientation, to come across with a distant relative.

It is quite telling that Alsop begins her text on auto ethnography with a long introduction elaborating on the idea of home. She suggests that turning back home, in the sense that having a look at our preconceptions that provide us a lens, a framework to look through is one of the means of achieving self-reflexivity that is seen as one of the paramount needs of the ethnographic discipline of our time. Apart from an issue of that particular discipline, it is an ethical issue of our everyday lives that needs orientation/reorientation all the time. The fundamental task of home is supplying a “primary experience” that will determine our reactions, perception of the world, it will define our centre of meaning, our “inner compass”(Alsop, 2002).
The alter ego of Deniz Sözen, that she named after as Suzan Dennis can be read as an attempt to structure the ambiguous, frustrating and disorienting feeling experienced against the British “inner compass”. Sözen has given a name to her British other, across the mirror of her identity. That is why it is reversed and the way her name sounds in Turkish has changed, translated into the melody of British English. In the introductory text of her exhibition “Be Longing”, Suzan Dennis is introduced as a means for “questioning her identity as an artist and as an ethnic 'curiosity'” against all the stereotypical and simple minded perception of “‘otherness’ often promoted by a Euro-American-centric art market”.
Andrea Deciu Ritivoi, tells the story of Ewa Hoffman, a Polish immigrant in Canada, who has changed her name into Eva, to acclimatize her name and accordingly her identity to her new environment, to sound her name and herself proper. Arriving Vancouver at the age of thirteen this small shift has been a symbol for her identity at the threshold, her adaptation process and her divided identity. Ritivoi underlines the relation between name and community, and to the fact that immigrants follow such a path, changing their names to make it easier for the others in the community to pronounce, to make it more familiar:
A change from Ewa to Eva may not seem radical: One letter adjusted, mostly to suit the phonetic conventions of another language. But it is an adjustment that marks the shift from one world/community in which the individual was used to being included, to a different one... Hoffman’s distress at the change of her name is caused by her realization that she is now officially transplanted into a new world (Ritivoi, 2002, p. 156).
A foreign name is overloaded with histories from afar, on the other hand, choosing a more familiar name, or adapting your name to its new environment might allow you to forget your difference, to leave your difference at home. In the words of Ritivoi, “A foreign name beckons explanations, life stories that reconnect one to the place of origin” (2002, p. 157).
In a sense Suzan Dennis, “at the verge of the untranslatable” (as she defines it) is an ironic translation project of Deniz Sözen, like her childishly drawn painting.( This drawing is from her childhood indeed).
Living in translation and lacking both an adequate vocabulary and the sense for the rhythm of the language, it was as though my adult knowledge had to be transposed into the vocabulary of a six-year-old [...] (p.35). To come [...] to the imbecile stammering of an immigrant American was a fall [...] (Alsop, 2002).
Thus, Sözen’s preference to draw this fall, this failure to communicate within a new template in a childish style also reflects the inadequacy the sojourn feels. In this falling fits her gesture. She imagines herself as blond, dark haired and auburn at the same time, all in the same dress, with pink hair ribbon and shoes, red shirts, blue skirts, all in the same colour. Just their houses, and the money (I reckon) they have in their hand are in the colour of their hair, different from each other. So I would speculate, drawing from the painting below, that not only the “schwarz kopf” Turkish girl and blondie European, the colour of the money in their hands (currency is also a symbol for the divide between geographies) implies a difference in their identity that defines the colour of their home.

Figure 3. Drawing by Deniz Sözen
Erden Kosova, points out to the psychic trauma of the citizens of Turkey that has emerged as a result of gazing ourselves through the lens of Europe, of the modernised West (Kosova, 2002). The drawing of Sözen, and also her British alter ego Suzan Dennis, can be considered within the schizophrenic identity, that divides the self, to conform the norms of the proper place, attitude to be.
Living in a passage, trying to come to terms with our new life and our past within its new context means a restless life that excludes any certain position. “One result of feeling exiled from the polis is that refugee often feels that the sole domain in which he or she now exercises any freedom is the domain of private emotions, the personal body, and the domus” suggests Jackson (2002, p.70). The feeling of “being exiled” leads to “a kind of cultural agoraphobia” Hannah Arendt argues, that turns storytelling to a “public action” (Arendt qtd in Jackson, 2002, p. 15). Storytelling, that occurs at the edge of public and private, personal and cultural selves, is a political act, “sustaining a sense of agency in the face of disempowering circumstances” she suggests (Arendt qtd in Jackson, 2002, p. 15).

Storytelling can be considered in line with the reflexive turn in social sciences. Reflexivity, basically, puts the scientist under scrutiny, questions his/her authority, and rejects representation as reality, as the researcher is both object and subject of the study and cannot avoid being a part of the representation s/he offers. The input of the scientist is no more ignored. Alongside the questioning of the authority of the scientist as an objective figure disclosing knowledge, came the “drawing upon self-knowledge as a central source of data , personal experience – ‘a forbidden pool of data’ as Michelle Fine (1984, cited in Reinharz 1992: 263) aptly termed it” Rosanna Hertz expresses (1997, p.IX). Thus, personal data began to constitute an accepted means to study the culture and human behaviour, Hertz furthers.

My collage flowers combining the flowers in the carpet of my family home and botanical illustration drawings stand at the intersection between the personal stories and the histories, what people make out of histories. I am mainly interested here how faraway tastes, cultures travel, come closer and appear in our everyday lives, and become part of it. With the sewn flowers there is the idea of encounter of far and close, home and away again. The hybrid flowers, within the alcohol filled glass container look similar to the body parts or freaks that are being preserved in formal dehide. The transports of the species of flora and fauna from far away countries to the European centres kept in botanical gardens, and studied closely. In terms of the audience at the centre, it meant both a means to encounter with difference and a spectacle to enjoy those eccentric, exotic worlds, similar to the much enjoyed freak shows. And all within the very safe and tame boundaries of the home/land.

Plantation: mid-15c., "action of planting," from M.Fr. plantation, from L. plantationem (nom. plantatio) "a planting," from plantare "to plant" (see plant). Historically used for "colony, settlement in a new land" (1610s); meaning "large farm on which tobacco or cotton is grown" is first recorded 1706.

The domestic character of the containers and the liquid I used for preserving the stitched flowers refers to this close encounter as well, the foreign element, a stranger that we find at an arm distance, and what we make out of it, how we transform and translate it. The eastern textile, carpets especially has been a means for this encounter, where the taste of east, thus a piece of east, entered into the western homes for ages.

The models for my sewn flowers come from catalogued flowers of the Turkish National Monetary Institution. The catalogue defines those flowers as “the flowers that are specific to us”, thus defines them as symbols for a nation in need of symbols, myths, stories to associate with easily, to construct solidarity that bring “us” together, redoing an “us” and “them” divide. Cutting and sewing the leafs of flowers, turning them into the symbolic flowers that are used to define the specificity of a country, of a land ends up in a hybrid, mimicking the other one.

Hybrid is a privileged category of postmodernism, of postcolonialism that seeks a way to avoid essentialist senses of identity. A neither nor, either or category, hybrid originally means “offspring of tame sow and wild boar” in Latin, a term that was barely in use until the 19th century (Young, 1995, p.6). Primarily a term used in zoology and botany, hybrid began to be considered as a site of resistance to subvert the dominant discourse. Robert Young relays from Homi Bhabha the role of hybridity, as “a problematic of colonial representation that reverses the effects of the colonialist disavowal, so that other “denied” knowledges enter upon the dominant discourse and estrange the basis of its authority” (Young,1995, p.23).

Bhabha argues in his article “Of Mimicry” the revolutionary possibilities of the hybrid to displace the sovereign, through depriving him of his essence. An Indian appropriating the master’s features, his language, blurs the identity of the master and makes him to look for the British essence, question it (Bhabha, 2004, passim).

In Bakhtinian sense, a “novelistic hybrid” stands at the crossroad of different voices, a “system having at its goal the illumination of one language by means of another, the carving-out of a living image of another language”(p.118). Thus, it is a platform for the different voices come together, to unravel what is hidden through a focus on the difference that lays at the edge of their similarities.

Sewing in Turkish language has double meaning; “dikmek” also means “to plant”. A plant is a site-specific organism that grows under certain climate, in a certain type of soil. Most plants can be planted in different places, provided that they are kept under the required conditions, the same acidity of the soil, the same humidity and the warmth of the climate. Hence, they are in need for artificial homes, an environment mimicking their home, simulating the means for the plant to survive. Similar to the stranger who can make a home for herself in a different cultural code, but still has a critical distance towards it, making the environment a curiosity for her, and being an object of curiosity with her improper code of culture, of an idiosyncratic way of being in the world.

In the manner a flower can be turned into a national symbol, to regularize the way a flag is folded is one of those rituals for the structuring of the national identity. Turkish Flag Code is a sixteen page document regularizing almost everything about the flag, like the way to produce a flag, the material suitable for the flag, “how white should the star and crescent be?”, how should the flag be folded in “everyday use” and so on ( Turkish Flag code, 1985).

The “everyday use” of the Turkish flag covers national holidays, or times that requires “solidarity and union” that the patriotic-nationalist discourse asks for at every opportunity. Apart from state offices, buildings, or public spaces, it is hang on the balconies,on cars as a barometer for the nationalism.

Another alternative daily usage of the flag serves as a means of disguise. When the tension between minorities and extreme far right soars, the minorities hang Turkish flags at their houses or shops, to sneak off fom the racist anger. Through putting an accent on the flag, that has been defined exhaustively, we witness again a hybrid act, “carving-out” of the one language with the another one.

In my work where I folded clothes according to Turkish flag code, there is a hybrid voice, that has the ability to “to ironize and unmask the other within the same utterance”(Bakhtin qtd in Young, 1995, p.20). Translating an act performed under the state rule into a domestic daily work, implies other translations, “interpolations ” at work in daily practice. In a sense, it is an embodied ethnographic writing.

Last Remarks

A life within a different cultural code, that has different perspectives towards personal and public, individual and collective identities, make us resituate, reconsider ourselves, within our sojourner experience. Didem Özbek, a member of Pist, an artist initiative from Istanbul, described how she felt when she came over to London for her postgraduate study in design. Her experience mostly involved situating herself within the life in a foreign country, coming across with the questions about her homeland, thus feeling more involved in the questions about the policy of the state , the culture she is coming from, in short the socio-cultural aspects of her homeland, that makes her a Turkish citizen beyond being Didem, which did not bugged her before, when she was back “home”(Özbek, Personal Interview, 20 May 2010).

This experience, confronted by a majority of sojourners end up with a double ethnographic work; trying to figure out the codes of a new culture, and to orient oneself to it on one hand, and looking back at the “natural” cultural environment they are coming from. Hence, the experience entails a multifaceted study, that turns the self, the culture within and without into an object of curiosity.

The experience of being between a personal self and the public image I have as a result of my socio-cultural position result in an ethnographic work, that turns the sojourner at times into an autoethnographer, at other times into a native ethnographer. Looking back home, in the words of Christiane Kraft Alsop, exploring home, as a framework providing our inner template, “ the wishes and fantasies it provides us with, the anxieties and angers it causes, the joys and delights of our everyday lives, the gaps between our factual and our fictional homes” should be developed as an ethical stance, as it might supply us with the necessary means to read the interim space of personal and cultural, far and close, us and them.

This is not an unproblematic task though: The problem of artistic and ethnographic authority, the contentious nature of culture that might end up easily in essentialist formulations and accordingly, the possible colonisation of difference are some of the preliminary problems to be encountered. Robert Young highlights the fact that, although the cultural encounter, the meeting of difference is not a new phenomenon, a proper way of resolving the disputes within the encounter has still not been devised (Young, 1995, passim).

With the works of Burcu Yağcıoğlu, Deniz Sözen and myself, in this paper, I have tried to show some samples of the confrontation with oneself and other away from “home”, the lens we are provided with, within an artistic language. All those works, merging at the intersection of personal and cultural selves tells stories of themselves, stories that has an empowering character with a hope to ignore the Western canons, if not to decentre it as James Clifford hopes.

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