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C-Prints, 2 Channel Video, Rock sample from North Eastern Anatolia, Vinyl Wall Text
Blind Dates Project, co-curated by Defne Ayas and Neery Melkonian, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York
Any curious observer strolling through the Anatolian landscape may notice the remains of abandoned villages. Without any historical data, it would be hard to guess the time period in which they were inhabited, their exact evacuation date, the reasons why people left and what they did before and after. They are silent testimonies to a troubled history, dating back centuries or as recently as a decade. These villages all have ancient names and histories that have been repressed and outright changed by authorities, but nevertheless are remembered vaguely by a living few old enough to confuse myth with history. xurban_collective recently embarked on a journey through Eastern and Northeastern Anatolia to various geological zones. On view are findings from their geological and botanical survey of some of these aforementioned villages and the region at-large.
I have been working with the Blind Dates project since its inception in 2006. Curators Defne Ayas and Neery Melkonian invited various artists, intellectuals and cultural producers to reflect on traces or ‘what remains’ of the peoples, places and cultures that once constituted the diverse geography of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922). In dinners, conferences, panel discussions and finally in the exhibition we reflected on “Catastrophes, trauma and memory; Mourning, longing and denial; Displacement, collective identity and subjectivity; Exile, migration, and diasporic clusters; Archives, translation and language; Humor, rumor and folklore; History, ideology and globalization; Mythology, religion and philosophy; Fact, fiction and truth; Natural, artificial and superficial; Taboo, shame and desire; Love, romance and betrayal; Obsession, compassion and care; Borders, citizenship and human rights; Justice, reconciliation and forgiveness; Fragility, temperament and passion, Art Histories, modernization, and artistic systems.” For more information please visit: http://blinddatesproject.org/