Emerging Knowledge 1
After the Event
English, with simultaneous interpretation
Museo Reina Sofía, Institute of Radical Imagination and L’Internationale
Action and Radical Imagination and the Commons
After the Event focuses on the progression of the social uprisings that occurred between 2010 and 2013. From Turkey to Spain, Greece, Syria and Egypt, the locations of this unrest, the movements shook existing political systems and, at times, even brought them to their knees. Yet, ultimately, they were not powerful enough to subvert the political system in its entirety, and today many of these movements appear to be enduring a crisis or regression and cannot trust political and organisational forms, or now-familiar languages and ways of doing.
A sense of defeat has taken hold as the possibilities of new ways of doing politics are ruled out; feelings like melancholy and desperation, the sense of coming to a dead end, the inability to start something new all appear to account for the discontinuation of a political cycle.
By way of presentations and a workshop, this encounter seeks to discuss this historical experience by focusing on social uprisings, the multiple forms with which an event survives, and its present and possible future. Reflections which can serve as a tool for dealing with the present-day protests surfacing in different places.
Shining a light on archives and the collective memories created by different events, After the Event tables the following questions: How can we recall these times of political dispute from a present-day perspective? Can past images help us to rethink the emancipatory potential of the revolutionary tide that spreads across different geographies? How can we analyse information from the present?
Begüm Özden Fırat is a professor in the Sociology Department at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, with her studies centring on urban and cultural sociology, visual culture, and culture and social movements. She is the editor of books that include Commitment and Complicity in Cultural Theory and Practice (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009), Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas, Possibilities (Rodopi, 2011) and Resistance and Aesthetics in the Age of Global Rebellion (Küresel Ayaklanmalar Çağında Direniş ve Estetik, 2015, İletişim). She is also the author of Encounters with the Ottoman Miniature: Contemporary Readings of an Imperial Art (I.B. Tauris, 2015).
Zeyno Pekünlü is an artist who lives in Istanbul. She obtained a degree, MA and PhD from Mimar Sinan University, complementing her studies with a second MA at the University of Barcelona. She currently runs the Production and Research programme at the Istanbul Biennial (ÇAP) for young artists and researchers. Her work surveys a diverse spectrum of materials, for instance the national anthem, Turkish melodrama, and even YouTube videos, constituting a reflection on public and private events which, in some way, demonstrate different forms of subordination, whilst looking at the problem of the limits of technology made available to power.
Thursday, 16 January 2020 – 7pm
Open presentations to the audience
Drones and Streets. Iconic Images of Tahrir and Gezi Occupations, presented by Begüm Özden Fırat.
Firat analyses the political and social composition of the social uprisings — in opposition to the neoliberal capitalist world order — that took place between 2010 and 2013 through the iconic images that would come to represent this global movement.
Archiving for Future Strategies, presented by Zeyno Pekünlü.
Through work gathered in different archives stemming from social movements and uprisings in Turkey, Pekünlü brings together strategies of recollection and memory.
The presentations will lead on to an open debate with the audience.
Friday, 17 January 2020 – 6pm
Workshop conducted by Begüm Özden Fırat and Zeyno Pekünlü
The workshop gets under way with a short presentation of research projects, pivoting around images of different social uprisings, carried out by Pekünlü and Firat. Participants are then invited to present and share a selection of their own archives and image collections — on account of their iconic value, media use, intended distortion, etc. — around these events.