"Torch in the wind (Fackel im Wind)"

The critical eye (Das Kritische Auge), Neuer Aschaffenburger Kunstverein, Aschaffenburg, 12.09-12.11.2006
dual exhibition , Nezaket Ekici and Alexander Schikowski, Art Foundation Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, 31.01-16.03.2007


For the exibition "The Critical Eye" I want to realize a performance dealing critically with the political situation in Turkey which is torn between a modern, secular and a conservative, traditional-islamic concept of constitution. So for example, school children in Turkey have to recite, beginning in primary school, in the morning and at noon pledge (ögrenci andi) and slogans saying, among others, that they are upright, hard-working, and happy to be Turks, and once weekly they sing the national anthem. This form of national pride is also known in some western countries, for example the USA, in Turkey, however, has, since Atatürk, a different dimension. The secular republic after Atatürk must be understood as compensation for the abolition of Moslem state, and is as such of constituent importance for the way the Turks see themselves. Therefore the Turkish people do not only regard their flag as a symbol of the state but also as a stabilizing symbol of their existence as a state. In reality, however, the situation in Turkey is not stable. The conflict between modern age and Tradition divides the country. Only the military guaratees the stability of Turkey, which can be regarded as another indicator for the necessity of the morning rituals in the schools. I will demonstrate this conflicting situation in images. Like a Living sculpture, I will stand on a small white pedestal. Before me there a 4 buckets with red paint on a shett of white cloth. Onto the left wall behind me a film showing Turkish school children at the morning roll call is projected, on my right my face during the performance. The colour of the Turkish flag is red, with a white half-moon and a star. Half-moon and star are painted on my belly in water-resistant colour. Thus I present the flag in an existential, corporal form. Liquid red paint floats over my body, encloses it, captures it, deforms it in the course of the action, and in the end forms a pool of paint of the ground. The red paint has an intense effect, ist dynamic is symbolized by the slow of the present situation in Turkey. The image is strengthened by the video in which the scholl children repeat their morning ritual. They stand at attention, serenely reciting the slogans. Between the repetitions, I translate the into German. "The critical Eye" gives a symbolically defamiliarized impression of the flag, the slogans seem phathetic and aggressive in the translation, and show, in the repetition, more clearly the daily indoctrination of the children. At the same time, however, the pathos is relieved when the shool bell plays Beethoven's ,,For Elise", or when the kids wear, in conbination with their severe uniform jackets, all different stockings.

2 Beamers, 2 DVD Players, Camera, 4 buckets, 40 L red Colour, Pedestal, white Folie, Transparent Folie

25 min

Video und Photos;
Camera: Nezaket Ekici, Philip Metz
Photos: Andreas Dammertz