Research, Installation, Performace
The Golden Cage (2022) is an installation based on the northern bald ibis (a.k.a “kelaynak” in Turkish), the most endangered migratory bird in the Middle East. When Palmyra fell to ISIS, the kelaynak colony, which migrates from Northeast Africa to Birecik (a small town near the Turkish-Syrian border), faced total extinction. In March 2016, the Birecik Kelaynak Reproduction Center decided not to release the birds from the confinement cages to protect them—the center has been keeping a semi-wild population since the late 1970s. The Golden Cage refers to a set of confinements amidst the never-ending catastrophes in the region; it is a poetic examination of artifacts, ruins, water bodies, and organisms spread across a highly nationalized terrain. As the embodied symbol of the state, the cage is enacted through a text translated into multiple languages to create new associations about borders, migrations, entrapments, and untranslatability.