Places / Turkey

Turkish “Resistance” Pavilion in Venice – Films To Watch And Videos To See?

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Given the ongoing protests in Turkey, the theme “Resistance” seems to be appropriately chosen. Especially as Ali Kazma, who is representing Turkey at this year’s biennale, recently joined the solidarity protests on the opening day in Venice. Curated by Emre Baykal, the video series in the Turkish pavilion is an exploration of the body…

A film set with the eternal beauty, actress Isabella Rosselini, in Paris…

A prison in Sakarya, Turkey…

A school and a hospital in İstanbul…

A cyronics institution in the US…

A university in Berlin where robot production is carried out…

A medical research laboratory in Lausanne…

A tattoo studio in London…

A theatre hall in NY where Hamlet rehearseals are held…

Do all these “sets” have something in common?

According to the curator Emre Baykal, the video series are linked via common images, actions, and sounds, which are repeated like a leitmotif in many of them, and they explore the topography of the body via internal and external surface layers, all of which bear spatial references.

Artist Ali Kazma explains that “Resistance” is a survey of the discourses, techniques, and management tactics developed for the body today and focuses on the interventions and strategies that both release the body from its own restrictions and restrict it in order to control it. It is his attempt to read the complex meanings and the enigma produced by the body as a physical and conceptual space from within a broad network of relations. And he is not doing it for the first time…

In the “Obstruction” series, artist Ali Kazma filmed the artistic production processes in various disciplines such as ceramics, painting, dance, taxidermy, etc. But this time he places art within a framework of bodily processes and contexts.

Is this continuity or a breakthrough? How did Obstruction lead to Resistance? The making of things leads to representing the bodily in what manner?

I guess in this multi-channel video installation Kazma researches the networks that shape the body with two opposing concepts: “being body” and “having a body”. The tension between the two. The possibilities and borders of the body as a field of information, control, and performance… The bodies at work in the Obstructions series are much more plural. Heading to too many bodies; material body, social body, body under surveillance, disciplined body, the sexual body…

But also it is huge: the screens are five meters tall and four meters wide. The video films being projected in the antique darkness of Artigliere are more like films than videos… The prison or the Hamlet rehearsal, in the darkness without any seats, capture our eyes but, sorry, not our sight.

A most scientific work this time, Ali Kazma attempts to bring out too many bodies in a very objective realism and almost ignored, maybe forgot, first our sight then our presence, our bodily being in the darkness and the cold Artigliere.

I love and often quote Ulus Paker’s comment on video art, which is very simple: “We watch cinema but we see video.” Instead of complementing what she or he sees physically and also in competition with what Ali Kazma had seen, the viewer is reduced to a spectator and will speculate soon about spectacular films by a Turkish director who prefers to show films that are impossible to sit and watch but certainly look at and pass.

Ayşegül Sönmez
İstanbul, http://www.sanatatak.com

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