My works on “Migration Connections”

The Museum of the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul will present a new exhibition Dec. 22, organized as the closing event of the “City Museum Studies in Turkey” project, which was initiated in October last year with support from the European Union. 
The exhibition, curated by the museum’s curator Deniz Koç, will display the works of different artists, academics, researchers and other museums. It will feature human stories, new life experiences, themes of sharing and loneliness through the eyes of those who immigrate to cities. 
The “Immigration Blows” section of the exhibition tells of European experiences and will host the Sweden-based, Turkish artist, Hakan Akçura as a guest. Video performances and photographs of his immigration experiences will be presented in this section of the exhibition. 
One of the supporters of the project, Berlin’s Kreuzberg Museum, will present a history on 300 years of immigration in Berlin with interactive video and archive works in this part.The exhibition will remain open for a year.

December/19/2012 ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency – Hürriyet Daily News

My works on the exhibition:

Open letter to Swedish Migration Board (Öppet brev till Migrationsverket)

Hakan Akçura 
videoperformance, 2006, 51 minutes

One-sided conversation recording, waiting for months after his call to Swedish Migration Board where the artist had applied  for residence and work permit for the second time in 2006. Akçura explains the content of videoperformance record the day he sends it to migration board and carries this problem he has shared with thousands of other immigrants to media. The artist is not only answering those questions which would be asked by immigrant board, he also has the worry of answering questions they would never ask, and to share the first year’s witness and thoughts of a new immigrant regarding Sweden.

Elevators, Elevators! (Hissar, hissar!)
Hakan Akçura
two-part photographic arrangement, 2007
Portrait of the immigrant artist reflected from the mirrors of the elevator as a newspaper distributor.

“Good morning” (“Godmorgon”)
Hakan Akçura 
videoperformance, 2007, two-screen video editing, 8 + 78 minutes.    

A videoperformance of the artist in these years when he had migrated to Sweden and found some jobs for immigrant employment only for a few cents to make his living. The job was distributing daily free of charge newspapers to passengers who ride in or get off in train stations. Explaining his decided and implemented simple presentation technique with an “Epilogue” he shows us distributing newspapers face to face, beholding and saying “Good morning”, is a simple but effective communication that can have a qualification revealing the codes of behavior of a given society. 

Open letter to Swedish Migration Board (Subtitles)


After joining the Istanbul Biennial in 1995 as an invited participant, I am a contemporary artist who has participated three solo exhibitions and dozens of group exhibitions, independent demonstrations, and a published poetry book.

I am a neo-fluxus artist.

Painter, poet, graphic designer, video performer, article writer, textile designer.

I live in Sweden since January, 2005.

2 years before this date I met my wife, whom I fell in love with and I am an artist who has changed his city and country in order to live with her and two children she had before me.

When I landed at Stockholm on January 2005, one year residence and work permit was stamped on my passport on October 2004 that expired on October 2005.

Last October, for the extension of that period, we have applied to Migrationsverket and waiting for about eight months.

We entered the eighth month.

If I do not show this permit which is not extended and meeting for permission is delayed for an uncertain period, I will not be send back here by the customs of the country if I go abroad, for example, when I go in my own country.

After the meeting I mentioned about, with Migrationverket on October 2005, we made ​​a series of phone calls.

We talked to people who think quite differently about when we might be called.

Some said “1 year”, some “six months”, and some “coming months”. Some said “right now we are calling people who had applied on July, 2005, and this means you will be called after three months”. Some said “right now we are making discussions with people who have applied at the same time with you, meaning your turn will come in a few days”.

We are waiting.

We are in lack of healthy explanations that would make this waiting period meaningful and bearable.

This crisis of confidence pushed me to this art activity.

This fluxus art event, this record, “an open letter to Migrationsverket”.

Doing it is being postponed by him, when he would do is unpredictable and one side of the bilateral discussion which will open the door for “the extension of residence and work permission”, is me making this discussion, and to complete it.

Therefore, I would like to facilitate Migrationsverket’s work. I want to help them.

With this record, which I don’t know how long it will last, trying to keep it short, I want to document the answers of the questions which I think they would ask or answers of questions they would never ask, in other words all I want to say.

I would like to complete my side of the interview and present it. I want to make the job easier.

How many people are waiting with me, I do not know.

What problems Migrationverket lived, whether after these racist correspondence were they had to change the staff, train them. I don’t know.

Surely, there are reasons that can be understood and accepted by them.

But ultimately, I make this record where I think the thing done is practically to destroy, suspend my travelling liberty.

What will I do? Trying to sum up briefly, I will try to convey; what I’ve done in this country since January 2005, what I was trying to do, what I think, things I have observed, and how do I look at the future.

As soon as I came, a new form of life, “a family with two children” in my life, and moreover, I lived the required transition process for being able to live first time in a country and city.

For a while, a period had passed for learning what a new country, a new city, a new house, a new way of life is asking me, what could I offer for them, learning, teaching, trying to actualize where we would get along with.

Moreover, we moved a few months later. So after I come, this is my second house I live in.

It comes to the rush of moving … A period of time has passed in this new neighborhood that we moved with the organization of creche and school that the children would start after summer.

Some time, turning my face to my back, to my own country, İstanbul, I sent an application there. İstanbul Biennial’s concept was “İstanbul”. I offered a contemporary art event called “Istanbul rooms”. Was not accepted, then …

After moving inside the house, in a room, on a wall we created a small studio to work, and I immediately began to paint.

An old personal exhibition of mine “Kentresimleri” was drawn 150 years ago, and printed as etching. This was an event trying to put forth figure from drawn forms and converting 22 European cities’ core city plans to picture. Stockholm was also taking place in them.

The similar study method I used was a late term “kentresmi”. Its name was “Hecate and Empusa or Izmir bay”. It is gone from me. Now it is in a private collection.

If I do not remember wrong, in May I started “Swedish education for adults” of “Svenska för Invandrare” school.

Like most of the others who had gone to SFI, my first friends were also immigrants. Immigrants who have come during the same period or have come before me, though have no Swedish education or continue their education…Older immigrants…Our teachers…

In fact, I can say, the first institutions I encountered who provide Swedish education are government agencies or private institutions who undertake to provide the same training opportunities.

There is a series of life difference. You start to learn this country with them. Water flowing in house, hot water, heating are all free. If you are inside a space, dying from cold is not a question in this country. The power of public transportation… Albeit a very small sample, I observe the prevalence of metro network in this city which we say there is finally in Istanbul also. I observe the roads. I observe the lives flowing near me.

I made these observations in the same time, same months – mentioning about last spring and beginning of summer – for taking about 4000 photo frames, I travelled in this city from one end of the suburban line to other end as an artist. When forming a sentence from here, in reality an absurd conclusion appears: Probably, I know the ways better than many people. With its social, ethnic distribution, changing texture of the city, ranging quality of the service, and all the indicators of the city, I began to experience a new training.

I took pictures of what? I took pictures of this city’s wall tissue. So, what the local laws accept as crime. So, for whom the police forms special teams for capturing the people who do it. Graffiti culture, graffiti, stencils, stickers. New stencils pressed on them, new stickers that are sticked, new written writings. Of all the complexity. Trial of their deletion, the remaining tracks, of posts-glueings on them. From district to district, from periphery to the center, change of styles, textures, colors, words. Change of relationship forms with the passengers passing from their side. All. I tried to document all of the city wall texture. I have got such an archive about 2005.

When compared with 90s, perhaps I was in a city where graffiti culture began to decline, but at the same time as Istanbul, more than the sum of the population of this country, although more likely I came from a city where almost no graffiti culture was existing. Over time a photography exhibition project has evolved with at least 200-250 and at most 400-450 photographs. Since we had material to form such an exhibition, I could apply somewhere for an exhibition.

I applied to Tensta Konsthall because it was a contemporary art center of an immigrant district. But I think that place – later on I had a conversation with manager friends and I learned – does not want to be remembered as “immigrant district contemporary art center”, and given up this effort, and examples of this effort, and had entered the process of believing the meaning of making programs not different from the programs of a contemporary art center’s programs, alas!

I think for this reason, and perhaps also thinking that they would not be able to find support to meet required press expenditures, they rejected. But as friend has conveyed, they have liked.

At the same time, I began to experience another witness. This time it is the witness of a report, a research, a work done by my wife personally. Experiencing being with her, reading with her, and helping her…It was a research about “Crime gangs in immigrant districts”. This report was taking its strength from the interviews made with people who live in immigrant districts and have achieved very clear results. My wife made the analysis of this report and pulled the outcome document.

The resulting image, along with everything I look at is confirmed, perhaps, led to a very short time to know anything more I can learn. There were many requests of people in those places. They wanted to be seen. Although not very well received, net reality was that they wanted to exit the “status of being second-class citizens” They wanted equality, in particular in finding a job, in job selection, job attributes … They wanted an equality in which job rates being open or close to immigrants is not mentioned.

They were mentioning that in most of these regions, after seven o’clock, no public official including the police were staying. They were talking about crime gangs who grew up in such a reality and maintain security in these regions at those hours.
Peculiar to those places, a whole new culture of life, total of habits, have developed and was a sum of indicators showing improvements.

At that time also, and perhaps one of the two works I can do – I can do one of two work-,I designed Engelska Riskförbundet’s monthly publication of the “Birlik” for one issue. It was not an existing journal with its content. Besides its design, I included about twenty articles to enrich all its content.I included 6-7 photographs of mine, one of them being cover photo. I saved the subject that take place on the cover and make up the weight of the content for this research. They accepted. They wanted. Perhaps “Birlik” was the first publication that issued the results of this research.

Graffities were photographed, as well as this city was toured from one end to another, became witness of such an analysis, and I spent time designing a publication with these results forming its contents. All of these, necessarily, would bring the conditions of designing more powerful contemporary art event and presenting this to somewhere, and it brought.

I designed a project calle “Reflex”. This was an “outside” art event. A multi participatory art event.

Immigrant neighborhoods, especially driving on the highway you can see their side, which is etched in minds, or in the case of a report that the illustrations used in those places you know, there are certain silhouettes. Everyone knows… Then on these silhouettes, these large, long and high structures, – the existence of which I learned in this country, I liked much, very functional, especially in the dark months of life has become an integral part of life, we wear for children with care, everyone wore – consider 30 meters big reflexers are hung. In the same form, perhaps in the form I determine, with the same sweetness, innocence, entertainment, pleasantness. Just visualize…Moreover,made of small again, yellow, white, gilt,and small pink reflexers. Connected with each other or sewn .

Who did this? The people who live in the neighborhood where these are hung. They have participated voluntarily to this event. Maybe I have presented, perhaps we have created forms together.

When were they hung? They were hung in every immigrant neighbor with seperate festivity.

How long will they stay hung? Two months… In these darkest months.

Highway traffic would always flow facing their reflections. Trying to understand what they were, learning, looking at it that way again. Vehicles, will pass telling us that simple message – not different than their actual usage: “Protect me”, “see me”, “don’t crash, do not give harm to me!”.

To provide such a simple sentence, with such a festive and public participation, is it necessary to have a very participatory process? For me it is necessary. Because the place I look at art is such a place. People themselves, as if they are in the flow of their lives, ultimately with a lot of parts arising from that ordinary life, not the existence of a so high, noble kind of creation of art , I believe in that artistic creation. I believe there is a creative potential even in people who call themselves ordinary. I believe, with a provocation, with a call for it, collectively, with participation, they themselves could constitute creation itself. I am putting together “art-games” from the point I tell “How good this would be if it were seen”.

Eventually, my “Reflex” project was such a project and of course it needed much support. It needed too much permission, operation (burocratic). Needed calls to be made. Needed labor – and this was the easiest, requiring not much money – Therefore, it should be presented somewhere. For doing this work with their collectiveness.

First I presented to Kulturhuset. Correspondence took months. It was a correspondence not requiring to last for months. Actually this situation brought for me to start to know another institution: Artistic burocracy. Correspondence took several months, and perhaps with mail amount reaching ten, while having a project requiring things to be said about, they talked about everything, sending me from here to there, however they never wrote a word about the project. Finally when they wrote, they wrote it because I wanted. This was unbelievable. “Lagom” ! I started to learn “lagom”. It is the most powerful and deepest institution!. It surrounds everywhere. I started to learn “lagom”. All habits, gestures, facial expressions, all collectiveness, concessions, cowardliness, retreats, tranquillization, started to learn “lagom” the code of calling back the animal at the bottom downwards and downwards,

Already been taught in all areas of life. So, does teaching it mean “passing” it to people? No. Aren’t there people who come to this country, becoming more Swedish than pure Swedish, having discriminatory even humiliating attitudes, even old hidden racist immigrants? There are. But, generally in this country, I think, there is not many immigrants who have been taught and adopted all of these mandatory secret codes. This country, to this country, to life flowing in this country, to people, to anything belonging to people, called into being a set of human, roughly looking to everything from two different aspects. How good is that! It is an extraordinary chance for Sweden to bring all this fortune, cultural exchange, different experiences of different civilizations to this lonely land free from war, painless, calm, remote, to the middle of these people belonging to this land.

Poor, was not there, was nothing too full, I do not mean a thing happened. Do not look from this point of view. Maybe it’s a powerful shaman in north, which has still intense relationship with the underground spirits , with a strong mythology, a completely different side of life, so lonely, so far, a very cold face, a sorrow that flows through all of them raised a deep culture of this country. Or else, how would a Bergman arise from this country?

While talking about this richness and lagom, the sentence I started is left behind: I was correponding with Kulturhuset. There was not a single word regarding my project in those mails one coming after another. Finally, I learned that, Kulturhuset had no objective and subsidy for outside projects. It is not accepted. I turned to Tensta Konsthall and send it there. With the same assumption and in good faith…For me, this place was still an immigrant neighborhood and contemporary art center and how good it was. Even though they found it interesting they did not accept also. Because they were not sure to organize the required support.

My studentship continued. In summer I went to Turkey with my family and came back. Good thing…It feels good. Upon returning, I started to make the big picture I wanted and finished: “My hero from 9/11”. It did not go. I still have it.

I worked for a web site that takes long to produce and still could not finish, almost believing that it is cursed. Tried to accelerate that process. I continued to enter the information I needed to enter.

I started to correspond with a publishing house in Turkey for following the published material, and for publishing my two poem books that I have filed already. Next year, I will try to procure its publishment.

In this process, at the same time, I studied the possibilities of the foundations and public organizations that support the artist. I decided to apply to several of them. I came into line for studio. The portfolio I sent was enough for them. They accepted immediately. Recently a studio was available but it was to large and expensive for me. I am still in the row.

I applied for studio support. “I applied for finding support for my “Reflex” project. Upon arrival, turning my face to my city, I applied for the provision of support for my “Rooms” project which I have told that I had presented to Biennal. From the sum of all these observations and thoughts I mentioned about, a picture weighted exhibition project called “Lagom” is developed. I applied to find support to it. I made several graphic designs in my country and here for making my way, for having support elsewhere.

The answers to most of these applications will come soon. With these answers, I will learn how long time I would spare for creation in the coming period. If my applications will be rejected I can spare less time for creation in the coming period. I will focus on work, perhaps design weighted, working in something that I did not do before to support my family. If my applications are accepted, thanks to these supports, slashingly, holding my main axis there, I could stay and live.

I love my children very much. I love my wife very much. I started to love this country more and more.

I had a creation which was the reason for starting to correspond with Kulturhuset while I was in Istanbul. When I was conveyed about the acceptance of my residence and work permit on October, 2004, they had made their decision based on art object I had presented two months before. Of course we had an “interview” but I had taken this art object to the interview and presented it to Migrationsverket. This was an art object named “About Hakan Akçura’s love and identity”. This was a book containing; my relation from the first day of our meeting which was the reason why I came, certificates of my marriage, photos of each stage, screen shots (screen prints), and after that my creative curriculum vitae, pages of my printed catalogs, criticism written for me, clippings of the interviews, my art and edition of web pages that include my art and my name. My photograph artist friend had taken photos of me from top while I flip each page of the book. While I was waiting the result of my application, I have presented all these photos as a slide show, to Kulturhuset, maybe each of them to be presented with digital press for a larger exhibition. With a project named “For residence and work permit”…They conveyed me that they could not find the possibility to exhibit in such a short time, and thanking, they rejected.
Since then, with all these flowing process 4 art books can be formed like that. Intensive flowed time. Intensive flowed life.

One of my child is in nursery school, the other one is in elementary school. They stay one week with us, and one week with their father. Their father is a very good friend of mine. From my school, from my wife’s environment, flowing through life, I started to acquire friendships slowly but gradually increasing. Some of them are Swedish. I met wise and creative, very brave young people. Both the culture of graffiti in the city, not the loneliness, light, shadow, other objects and people trying to document the existence of a total of times, and I’ve met a lot with them in the following months …

I had teachers whom I liked much. Starting to learn a language at age of 43 is a tough job. Last year taught that to me.. I did not like this language much, however I look at this matter like that; if things have changed from the times till this time that I like now, they can also change from now on. In fact, at the beginning the main reason to learn this language was a fluent communication with my children, but now I think if this language could be the language that I can make them print what I have written. It became such a favorite language for me making me think that.

I liked the nature of this country very much. I liked the priority given to a child in flowing daily life very much. I liked people’s respect to animals and nature very much. I liked the sky very much. But one of the first information I had was totally against what I have conveyed. I have never seen any other country where such a large number of young population treating old people so hard, so intolerably as if they had joint resolution. They look at these old people like they do not need to live, like it is not necessary for these people to live there. Or sometimes they look at old people as they were ready consumers while others work. Young people were very tough.

When you look around from here, “loneliness” is reached. Such a large number, such a deep loneliness, one by one but the existence of human beings living together in such a country, it was not anything I can imagine. Of course, the origin of this loneliness, even if they are arrived later to this city-perhaps a hundred years ago, it is deep, it also has a strong impact on special deep loneliness of Swedish peasantry living alone 2 km. away from each others’ houses, sparse and scattered.
But for sure, I will never forget one day in particular. That day it started as if an interesting thing was being observed was a very deep education for me:

Our journey was with metro, where many Swedish and several immigrant children were in the railway car, was a journey from center to periphery to their region. Children welcome among themselves, speak calmly and with all the other Swedes, while we calmly looked around us …At a moment, where an internal language with known and hidden laws that flows through all pure Swedes knowing how young people should be looked at, one of the young men quickly slapped on wagon glass “thud”.

All the people in the wagon stood up and sat down again. They had shock. The children immediately turned and continued their conversation calmly. Seemed like they did not look at people around them. After a period of three or four minutes displeasure and grumbling, when the medium was calm, this time another immigrant child, acting fasting than the other, slapped on the glass again. Then you understand what is this all about. This was the game of catching train when trains flow adjacent to each other. The rule of the game was: Who would catch first, slap first, while they both pass close to each other? An easy game. But it takes its pleasure and wealth from the reaction of astonished Swedes and accumulates its delight from this reaction. Who’s speaking what with whom? Who wants to tell what to whom with this game, with this game’s testimony? In fact, so much things are said!

What kind of a state, gestures, facial expressions, total of ready sentences “lagom”, but also, unfortunately, in the eyes of immigrant children who deserve such a reaction, is involving the growth of a secret racism in an inner language. Unfortunately! None of them know it and live it.The people of this country, with a deep knowledge of civilization, they know how much of a civilized community they are in terms of equality and justice. These people are not still considered as Swedish people,still each of them is considered to be “invandrare”, would stay always like that, they have entered this country on foot and will continue to enter by walking… When will the community itself will be Sweden in the eyes of everyone? Very likely! Not likely! Very impossible! Not! World flowing booming. Migration from anywhere to anywhere…But the difference is that migration in general, is the migration of people to places where wars, suffering, death, massacre, torture, difficulty, is experienced with more different heat and places that experienced alike things, but not here. They have a story where almost none of these are experienced, only to find the stories of heroism one must go up to Vikings, Almost none of them have not experienced a date, only to find the stories of heroism to gidilmsi up to the Vikings, what good is that recently war, poverty, is not seen, what good is that very deep pain, torture, is not seen, and migration to a country where no laments are heard.

I don’t know. These are the observations of an artist who has lived for a year in this country. You can read me from here, you can know where I will be today from here, what I will do tomorrow, where I would flow my creation, what I will think, how I will stay, how I will live, someday how I will think or not think to be a citizen.…

I am “passing”! Am I included in here? No. But do I “belong” there? No. Such as who? Already like all migrants…They just cannot belong here.

The third generation is here now. Those who were born here. People who do not have other country. From out of nowhere “do not come from”. But they themselves do not feel Swedish. They are not encouraged to feel. Names, definitions, each being an “invandrare”… But they do not have other countries! I have one. Decrease? I do not know. Increase? I do not know. But I “pass” here. I have, but I do not have as much as a year ago!

We live in a cruel world. I think in a cruel world, this is a country where many things flow in a more fortunate
manner.In this chance, perhaps for this chance to exist, I am an artist who stare at this sum that would necessarily be merged. I want to create from here.

If you have questions regarding my flowing relations, my family life, relations with my children, ask these questions to people in nursing school, people at school, my neighbors. I feel that, you will have more proper answers.

And in summer I will go. I will go to Turkey with my family. I have people whom I missed very much. I missed sun. I am very happy to see so much rainbow in all my in this splendid sky, however sun is rarely seen. Everybody know this.

But still a man who has come from the Aegean region, a man who comes from Istanbul, feel it very deeply. Blue sea, I miss real blue sea so much.

When I go out from the country, at customs, they will look at my passport to see whether I have “residence and work permit” in this country. For this reason I don’t go out thinking that I could not return. I am afraid of not being able to go out. I am sure that people who wait with me have similar reasons seperately. I don’t know how many of them were obliged to concoct excuse to take front queue. Either he “killed somebody” in his country or made somebody ill. Their queue was either taken front or not.

But I am just telling you my wish. “I want my travelling freedom! I did not do anything for this injustice. I am talking from a position where I can say, none of the people who wait with me has done anything. I had this record for helping. I will send it to you and make you see it. I hope that the process accelerates. I hope this works.

This is the reason of everything.

This is the reason of this art event.

I am here.”


Försenade uppladdningar 1: Hesa Fredrik / Late upploads 1 : Hesa Fredrik / Gecikmiş yüklemeler 1: Hesa Fredrik

sv: Jag har kunnat ladda upp mina videor från senaste årets solo utställning (Varning för klämrisk! / Tegen 2*) till internet endast nyligen. Denna video är först utt: Hesa Fredrik.

eng: I could uppload my videos from last years solo exhibition (Warning for risk of jamming! / Tegen 2*) to internet only recently. This video first of them: Hesa Fredrik.

tr: Geçen yıl Stokholm’de açtığım kişisel sergimdeki (Dikkat, Sıkışma Riski! / Tegen 2*) videoları ancak internete yükleyebiliyorum. Bu ilki: Hesa Fredrik.

02.09 min. / 2009, Stockholm / Hakan Akçura

sv: En skränig ljud- och händelseblandning med krockande betydelsevärldar. Titeln Hesa Fredrik syftar på krigssirénen som ljuder kl 15.00 första måndagen i varje månad.

eng: A blatant sound and event mixing with the crash of different meanings of worlds. Fake Rio Carnivals street show and Afghan immigrants hunger strike with “Hesa Fredrik” at the same time on center of Stockholm. The title Hesa Fredrik aimed at war sirens that sounds at 15:00 first Monday of each month at Stockholm and all big cities of Sweden.

tr: Bu kısa videoda Stockholm’un en merkezi meydanı Sergelstorg’de üç olayın birlikte kaydı sözkonusu: Afgan mültecilerin açlık grevi, daha çok salsa hayranı isveçlilerin itibar ettiği ve Rio’yla aynı zamanda düzenlenen sahte karnaval geçidi ile “Hesa Fredrik”. “Hesa Fredrik”, buraların en tuhaf adeti, her ayın ilk pazartesi günü saat 15:00’de yayınlanan ve önce ‘olağanüstü durum’u, ardından bu durumun geçip gittiğini bildiren mutad şehir sirenlerinin argodaki adı… (Tam çevirisi, “sesi -bağırmaktan- kısık Fredrik”. Hasbelkader İsveç’in şimdiki Başbakanı ile adaş…) Herkesi olası bir hava saldırısı karşısında hazır mı tuttuğu yoksa giderek daha kayıtsız mı kıldığı tartışılır olan güçlü uyarı sirenleri…

(*) Om denna utställning / About that exhibition /O sergi hakkında:

Uyarılmadığımız risklere dikkat çeken bir sergi amaçladım (türkçe)
Hurriyet Daily News: “Immigrant artist’s fire fueled by sign in elevator” (english)
İsveç’teki ilk kişisel sergim açılıyor: “Dikkat! Sıkışma riski…” (türkçe)
VARNING för klämrisk! / DİKKAT! Sıkışma riski…
(svenska / türkçe)

Tornavideo Hits The Road For Some Repair Work On Contemporary Art!

Tornavideo video-art activity

Özgen Yıldırım

Curated by Funda Oruç, Uğur Karagül
Artists: Ferhat Özgür, Gözel Radyo, Hakan Akçura, Maria Sezer, Nezaket Ekici, Ozan Adam, Şinasi Güneş

Contemporary art makes another appearance in Ankara. A new exhibition activity meets the audience in a dynamic and energetic platform. With Funda Oruç and Uğur Karagül as curators, Tornavideo exhibition will meet the audience in Tamirhane Bar, a meeting point of the youth.

When we take a look at the recent contemporary art history of Ankara down the time tunnel, we see that; the 1st -International Asia-Europe Art Biennial- in 1986 was motivating for Ankara art community. This biennial chain continued in 1998- 90- 92 years. By the end of 1980s, a student from Hacettepe University called Salim Özgilik, with the moniker -Moni-, exhibited some installations and performances challenging the established order of art environment.

Founded as a branch of the first foundation university established in Turkey in 1984, Bilkent University, Fine Arts, Design and Architecture Faculty became the focal point of innovative artists. And a group of students from Fine Arts, Design and Architecture Faculty at Bilkent University formed -Grup Grip-in-. Grup Grip-in held the -Popular Myths and Graphic Image Circulation- titled exhibition in Ankara Anfa Altınpark Exhibition Center in 1992. In 1993, -Hangar Artistic Organization- was founded by Cebrail Ötgün, Atilla İlkyaz and Cezmi Orhan. After making some important activities contributing to the contemporary art setting of Ankara, the organization split. The interesting -Gar Exhibition- held in Ankara Station in 1995 was shut in a single day. The installation of Selim Birsel, -Lead Sleep- is still engraved in our memories. -Youth Art Activity- has been organized four times, the first being in 1998. The most striking of these were -Youth Art-3- exhibition organized in Ankara Contemporary Arts Center in 2000 with Vasıf Kortun as the curator. This exhibition was really decisive in terms of historical process. If we examine this exhibition properly, we can clearly see that the artists in this exhibition today direct contemporary art movement in Turkey.

After that, the art practices in Ankara have frayed around the edges and seem to have run dry for so long. 2 young curators are making a stagnation-breaking contribution with the -Tornavideo- exhibition devoting all their dynamism into the work. -Tornavideo- exhibition activity contains the works of 7 contemporary artists: Ozan Adam, Hakan Akçura, Nezaket Ekici, Şinasi Güneş, Ferhat Özgür, Gözel Radyo and Maria Sezer.

The first Tornevideo exhibition artist is Ozan Adam, known for his experimental video and film works. The story of the artist’s film -The Two Names of A Testimony About The Execution of A Happening And A Suitcase Full of Broken Records- is mounted on some sequences from various stories in a sleeping man’s dreams. In another film of him, -Zymotic-Amaurosis: Contagious Arbitrary Blindness- he builds on how reality and subconscious are mixed up in a surreal way as a consequence of experiments performed on a blind man’s memory and dreams. The theme of these two films of the artist refers to psycho-social processes. And his film to be presented within the scope of Tornavideo exhibition is an animation. The music of this 1-minute animation called -Little Bird- is written by Ozan Akıncı. This animation is about the transformation of lines into shapes, then objects and figures by changing shape, and finally a spatial journey. This process takes place with a simple triangle turning into a pyramid object which is 3d form, then a cornered object after changing its shape, following it a human hand derived from this, and a woman figure with the re-forming of the hand, and finally transformation of this woman figure into a little bird flying in the tunnel of infinity. The artist finishes this animation, that begins with lines and turns into a bird figure and spreads into eternity, i.e. evolutionary process of forms with the idea of eternity ironically.

Another artist taking part in Tornavideo and describing himself as open flux artist is Hakan Akçura who lives in Sweden. The artist exhibited every document with the attribute of -mirror- requested from the persons on the internet according to their date of arrival in the –I Want My Mirrors– project leaving its mark on the minds of men. It should be noted that; Akçura also has some harsh and striking political works. One of them is the extraordinary video work he shot in Sweden with an individual named Abdulkadir Aygan, who once had connection with a terrorist organization [PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and JITEM (Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counterterrorism) HA] and then escaped and settled in Sweden. Akçura preferred to spread this video known as –It Is Enough That The Truth Comes Out-. The –Open Letter to Swedish Migration Board– titled video of the artist turns the residence permit extension decision waiting process of the artist in Sweden in 2006 into a video performance, and he describes this work as -for the sake of accelerating this process for myself and to support all waiting immigrants as far as possible–. The video of the artist to be presented in Tornavideo exhibition is again a video making reference to immigration and being an immigrant. His video –Catharsis– contains improvised actions of a group of immigrant youth in Stockholm. We can see the traces of being an immigrant in a foreign country, cultural entrapment, sense of belonging or shortly being stuck in between from the dictions, the musical tastes, dressing styles, dances and technological equipments of the youth.

Another artist in Tornavideo is Nezaket Ekici, a performing artist living in Germany. Taking every social fact as a subject, women’s problems being in the first place, the artist begins with expressing artistic actions with her body and turns them into a performance. Having also installation and video works, one of the artist’s projects -Self Diversity- is composed of performance and installations and questions gender, race and identity concepts. The performance-video with the title -Wardrobe- will be exhibited in -Tornavideo-. The artist stands before a two-door wardrobe half-naked and takes some clothes and puts them down. After this, the artist stars wearing the clothes continuously one after the other. As the clothes are put on successively, they start creating a physical pressure on the artist. However, the artist is insistent on wearing them. The artist’s insistence on wearing in her intellectual dimension clashes with the resulting physical pressure. This clash ends with the artist getting help from the individuals around. Emphasizing the naturalness of mankind at the beginning of the performance with -being naked-, the artist becomes distanced to this naturalness as she wears the clothes one after the other, and becomes alienated to herself first, and then the surrounding environment.

With his installations, works on canvas theoretically built on hermeneutics and constantly deconstructed, video art works where he interprets the visual sometimes with an ironical seriousness, and sometimes with a mise en scene language and his art aesthetics captured in the ordinary in all his works, one of the important projects of the contemporary artist Şinasi Güneş is -Obsession-. Seeing the light of day in 2005, this project helped to create a memory record in terms of audio art videos. The close ties of the artist with mail art have been actualized in his mail art projects on -Watch-, -Fundamentalism-, -Global Warming-, -Woman and Ecology-, -Gypsies-. Güneş also prepares street-art promoting publishes and fills a gap in this sense. He offers an alternative course to contemporary art practices with an e-zine named -e-benzin- published on electronic environment. Some of his videos area -Horned Toad-, -Anatolia-, -Batumi-, -After the Sheep-, -New York and Chewing Gum-. His video -New York and Chewing Gum- is built on the traces of many chewing gums deliberately or unconsciously thrown by people of New York to Brooklyn Subway floor. Having turned this performance into a book with the same title, the artist has completed the deconstruction process.

The artist is featured in Tornavideo with the -My Lovely Hats- titled video constructed again with an ironical and cynical mise en scene. The artist puts on several objects over his head like hats. There are art books, flower pots, bags, buckets, boilers etc. among these objects. Each hat refers to a social role and points to a character fact. The artist strengthens the sense of rhythm with a background rap song. We see ironic allusions in this video.

Ferhat Özgür, a contemporary artist living in Ankara, underlined and expressed urban progress of Ankara, rational and irrational results of modernism, city-individual and change facts in his -City Journal- titled exhibition composed of his photograph and video pieces of work. We witness the points underlined by the artist in the negative effects of recent urban transformation programs that eventually lead to -destruction- in metropolises particularly in Istanbul. A series of performative photo works of Özgür in historical places with the title -Jump”, and also the -Jump- titled video of him creates some mise en scene situations with the artist trying to touch the peak points by jumping. The artist added city-individual dualism building and history and expended the interpretation perspective. Getting involved in -Tornavideo- with his video titled -Upper Garden-, Ferhat Özgür appears with a different theme. In this video, he shows the military greeting ritual process in sequences with the preparation to ceremony until the end of ceremony. The artist begins with showing ritual elements like cannon ball, helmet, shoulder mark one after the other, and following this, we see some sequences from the march of soldiers and greeting ritual, then the greeting ritual ends.

An interesting artist in -Tornavideo- is Gözel Radyo, who first of all brings together cues with music and as a pioneer blends electronic music with arabesque and oriental tunes. Some of the released music albums are -No-Exotic-, -Sound of the World: Turkey- and their fanzine is entitled -Güzel Mecmuası-. The artist creates versatile alternative works. The video which will be shown in -Tornavideo- is -İsyanbul 2010-. The artist acts in his own way over some scenes and dialogues from old Turkish films and achieves a comic effect. At this point, there are some experimental verbal rhythms streaming and they accompany the images in the background. The artist begins the message bombardment with smart cards and continues with microchips and ends with GMO. The artist associates these elements with Istanbul 2010 project as the name suggests. The artist makes use of ad techniques in the presentation of the messages placed within the video flow in critical moments. Therefore, the influence area of the video is extended.

Another artist in -Tornavideo- is Maria Sezer who states -Opposing the nature and trying to dominate the nature does not always bring happiness to people- and uses nature and time as a reference in her artistic works. Time and change are states where the artist makes the ironic and complicated association of these two concepts an object of inquiry in her works or naturally exhibits it. In one of Sezer’s installation works taking Rapunzel story as the center, the artist nearly creates an image of ladder with black, long and bush-formed yarns just like Rapunzel’s hair. Having assembled beauty and nature concepts with the sense of protection in this work, the artist designs original raku plates by using the special firing technique known as raku in another exhibition. Being a notable expert of transforming natural materials, the artist will appear in -Tornavideo- with her video titled -Swarm- created with similar operations. The video begins with the display of a colony of bees flying in the air, and then the movements of bees in and out of their hives are shown like a ceremony to the audience. Each entry to the hive means that a brood waiting at a cell gets fed and remains alive. Each swarm becoming a grown bee moves out of the cell to make honey.

I think the most striking element in Tornavideo exhibition activity including Funda Oruç and Uğur Karagül as curators is that; most of the internationally active artists in the exhibition consist of the rare independent artists in Turkey.
I hope this exhibition will precipitate art project initiatives and serve as a factor in emergence of new breath in the contemporary art scene.

Opening January, 15 2010, Friday 19:30
Tamirhane Live Music
Tunalı Hilmi Cad. Bestekâr Sok. 49/A Kavaklıdere – Ankara (Old Getto Pub)

30th anniversary of Voyager’s journey: Even though it is 30 years late, maybe…?

hakan akcura <
>Date:09.Oct.2007 15:26Subject:Open inquiry and invitation to Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mr. Recep Tayyip ErdoganTo:
Fredrik Reinfeldt <>,
R. Tayyip Erdogan <>

Even though it is 30 years late, maybe…?
Open inquiry and invitation to Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt,
Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan,

USA launched the unmanned probes Voyager 2 on August 20, 1977, and Voyager 1, on September 5, 1977 and sent them deep into space. This is the 30th anniversary of this meaningful journey toward deep in space.

Golden Record

Pioneers 10 and 11, which preceded Voyager, both carried small metal plaques identifying their time and place of origin for the benefit of any other spacefarers that might find them in the distant future. With this example before them, NASA placed a more ambitious message aboard Voyager 1 and 2-a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University.

Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played. The 115 images are encoded in analog form. The remainder of the record is in audio, designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute. It contains the spoken greetings, beginning with Akkadian, which was spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect. Following the section on the sounds of Earth, there is an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music.


“Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time,” says the translation of one of the greetings recorded on identical gold-plated phonograph discs mounted under engraved covers on the side of each Voyager. That message is in Amoy, a language spoken by millions of people in eastern China, and one of 55 languages included on the record.

“Greetings to our friends in the stars. We wish that we will meet you someday,” says a translation of the Arabic language greeting.

Some other messages don’t sound quite as eager about getting together. The one in Rajasthani, a language of northwest India, translates to “Hello to everyone. We are happy here and you be happy there.”

The English-language message among this set says, “Hello from the children of planet Earth.”

Voyager 1, launched on Sept. 5, 1977, has already become the most distant of all human-made objects. Every day, it flies another million miles ( 1.6 million kilometers) farther from the Sun. Voyager 2 is about 80 percent as far away as its twin.

They are still returning scientific information from the outer reaches of the Sun’s domain almost every day. Their durable electric power supply, generated from the heat of radioactive plutonium, will allow them to continue making measurements and radioing them home for about 20 more years. That may be long enough for at least Voyager 1 to still be operating when it passes the boundary between the solar wind from the Sun and the interstellar wind from death-explosions of other stars.

Even after the power supply runs too low to operate instruments and transmit data to Earth, the Voyagers will continue silently speeding away from the Sun and Earth. Many thousands of years from now, each will eventually become closer to other stars than they are to the Sun.

A committee headed by the late Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell University chose what to put on the Voyager “golden record.” The group had only about six months to decide on the contents and to gather the recordings.

Some choices, such as the multiplicity of languages, suggest that the message is as much for Earthlings as for aliens. A single language would be easier for an unearthly intelligence to decipher, if one ever acquires the record. A diversity of tongues aboard a craft leaving the solar system emphasizes the shared global significance of the endeavor.

Besides the multilingual greetings, each record also has music, ranging from Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven to Melanesian panpipes, and from a Navajo night chant to a Beethoven symphony.

Other sounds of Earth on the record include both natural noises, such as a rainstorm and a chimpanzee, and human-created ones, such as a train and a kiss.

Pictures can be encoded into information on a record. The Voyager golden record 116 pictures. One document stored as an image is a greeting from Jimmy Carter, who was president at the time of the launch.

Part of Carter’s text says, “We cast this message into the cosmos. It is likely to survive a billion years into our future, when our civilization is profoundly altered and the surface of the Earth may be vastly changed. Of the 200 million stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some – perhaps many – may have inhabited planets and spacefaring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message:

“This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe.”

Swedish and Turkish language messages

When it was observed that the Turkish and Swedish messages were obviously recorded by the personal acquaintances of the committee and without officially contacting the governments of these countries…


If one day these messages would find their counterparts and if they will be listened to, the Turkish and Swedish messages will be spoken with the content, accent and articulation I just mentioned.

What exactly do you think about these subjectively recorded messages and the way that the contents of these messages determined most probably by the people who read them?

I attached the greeting samples from other extinct and living languages, and can we honestly talk about the personal-national characteristics when we take place like this unserious manner within such a meaningful content?

How would you like the messages in your native language take place on this golden record instead of these messages?


I am a contemporary artist from Turkey and who chose to live in Sweden for the last 3 years.

On the 30th anniversary of Voyager 1 and 2’s launches, the only reason that I direct these questions about the quality and content of these messages to you as the currently office holding prime ministers of the native countries of these languages is related with who and what I am.

And of course, among all other languages only Turkish and Swedish messages were having this kind of extraordinary quality…

I invite you to record the answers of these questions vocally and have them sent to me, and then permit them to be exhibited –without any interference- with the original messages.

I sincerely carry the hope for both of you to hear my call in your busy schedule and will not be late to answer…


Hakan Akcura

9 October 2007

Resources and useful links:

Other messages
Sumerian language message translated to English is “May all be well”Urdu language message translated to English is “Peace on you. We the inhabitants of this earth send our greetings to you”.Italian language message translated to English is “Many greetings and wishes”.Ila (Lambia) language message translated to English is “We wish all of you well”.Akkadian language message translated to English is “May all be very well”.Romanian language message translated to English is “Greetings to everybody”.Hindi language message translated to English is “Greetings from the inhabitants of this world”.Nguni (Zulu) language message translated to English is “We greet you, great ones. We wish you longevity”.Nyanja language message translated to English is “How are all you people of other planets?”.Hittite language message translated to English is “Hail”.French language message translated to English is “Hello everybody”.Vietnamese language message translated to English is “Sincerely send you our friendly greetings”.Sotho (Sesotho) language message translated to English is “We greet you, O great ones”.Hebrew language message translated to English is “Peace”.Burmese language message translated to English is “Are you well”.
Sinhalese language message translated to English is “Wish You a Long Life”.
Wu language message translated to English is “Best wishes to you all”.Ukrainian language message translated to English is “We are sending greetings from our world, wishing you happiness, goodness, good health and many years”.Aramaic language message translated to English is “Peace”.Spanish language message translated to English is “Hello and greetings to all”.Greek language message translated to English is “Greetings to you, whoever you are. We come in friendship to those who are friends”.Korean language message translated to English is “How are you?”.Persian language message translated to English is “Hello to the residents of far skies”.Indonesian language message translated to English is “Good night ladies and gentlemen. Goodbye and see you next time”.Latin language message translated to English is “Greetings to you, whoever you are; we have good will towards you and bring peace across space”.Armenian language message translated to English is “To all those who exist in the universe, greetings”.Serbian language message translated to English is “We wish you everything good from our planet”.Portuguese language message translated to English is “Peace and happiness to all”.Kechua (Quechua) language message translated to English is “Hello to everybody from this Earth, in Kechua language”.Japanese language message translated to English is “Hello? How are you?”.Polish language message translated to English is “Welcome, creatures from beyond the outer world”.Luganda (Ganda) language message translated to English is “Greetings to all peoples of the universe. God give you peace always”.Cantonese language message translated to English is “Hi. How are you? Wish you peace, health and happiness”.Punjabi language message translated to English is “Welcome home. It is a pleasure to receive you”.Nepali language message translated to English is “Wishing you a peaceful future from the earthlings”.Russian language message translated to English is “Greetings! I Welcome You!”.German language message translated to English is “Heartfelt greetings to all”.Mandarin Chinese language message translated to English is “Hope everyone’s well. We are thinking about you all. Please come here to visit when you have time”.Marathi language message translated to English is “Greetings. The people of the Earth send their good wishes”.Thai language message translated to English is “We in this world send you our good will”.Bengali language message translated to English is “Hello! Let there be peace everywhere”.Welsh language message translated to English is “Good health to you now and forever”.Gujarati language message translated to English is “Greetings from a human being of the Earth. Please contact.”Kannada(Kanarese) language message translated to English is “Greetings. On behalf of Kannada-speaking people, ‘good wishes'”.Telugu language message translated to English is “Greetings. Best wishes from Telugu-speaking people”.Oriya language message translated to English is “Greetings to the inhabitants of the universe from the third planet Earth of the star Sun”.Hungarian (Magyar) language message translated to English is “We are sending greetings in the Hungarian language to all peace-loving beings in the Universe”.Czech language message translated to English is “Dear Friends, we wish you the best”.