ARCHIVES AND REGENERATION:
Preservation in the Face of Flux
The investigation of cycles of nature focusing on the continuity between life and death between 2018-2019 culminated in a new project on archives as a tool to regenerate. The artist considers building an archive to be a form of care and activating an archive through creating new narratives from it to be a form of regeneration; a practice that creates a continuity between the living and the dead.
After her solo show On Lightness in 2018, Başöz worked as a member of the team creating 23,5 Hrant Dink Memory Site. Sourcing from the Hrant Dink archive, a narration was installed in his former office building. Through this cherished experience, she realized how much time and effort activating an archive requires and observed the endless possibilities of potential narratives that an archive holds.
In January-February 2020 the artist was a resident artist at Delfina Foundation London doing research for a performance piece called Slalom on how to slow down to activate an institutional archive in this fast paced life and how this activation of the archive in the form of a narration can take endless different forms reshaping the past, present and the future in relationship to each other, leading us to reposition ourselves in the present.
Parallel to her work on institutional archives, the artist questions the future of accumulated personal stories and knowledge that leak through the linear narratives of human lives and do not fit into an institutional structure. Her solo exhibition “A Consolation” open to the public between September 12th and October 31st, 2020 at KRANK ART Gallery in Istanbul is composed of her work on her personal archive.
Her research in Lotsremark Projekte Residency Program in Basel, focuses on accumulated personal stories in the face of flux and deals with the idea of an end intensified with the Covid-19 pandemic. The human mind generates knowledge through a stable rational structure that it projects onto the world, however life and nature are always in flux. The artists questions the conditions of trying to keep a source or a piece of information in the face of flowing time.
Performance piece for Block Universe Performance Art Festival London, postphoned due to Covid 19 pandemic.
Nowadays, it feels like we are approaching the future in an accelerating speed and simultaneously the future is approaching us rapidly. Besides all the advancements in technology that enable our fast pace, due to human intervention, the climate change is about to reach a point of no return. The world as we know is about to end. The artist thinks of our current relationship to time as akin to skiing downhill full speed.
In order to deal with an archive an accelerated body must slow down skillfully. Turns required by slalom poles can enable this shift. Slalom takes place in a space housing an archive. Poles will be placed within the space to mark the space in equal intervals to indicate potentiality of different narratives.
Three performers will move through this set up, while reading a text based on the archive the space holds. A video from the first rehearsal of Slalom can be seen at https://vimeo.com/432278059.
The production process was interrupted due to the pandemic and is expected to be completed in 2021.
September 12th-October 31st, 2020
KRANK ART Gallery, Istanbul
The name of the exhibition comes from Cicero’s lost philosophical work Consolatio written to soothe his grief after the death of his daughter. Başöz is concerned with the tension of narrating personal archives that don’t necessarily fit into an institutional structure.
The video installation that gives its name to the exhibition, A Consolation is placed on the floor of the exhibition space. While the artist was working with Hrant Dink Archive for the creation of 23,5 Hrant Dink Memory Site, she went through her own archive of photographs, written and printed material at home and shredded the eliminated material. Working with the shredded material, the artist asks, if personal stories and knowledge that have been lost, destroyed, or forgotten in a morass of information be re-activated as parts of a whole? A looping video of posidonia oceanica, a seaweed native to the Mediterranean formally resembling shredded photographs and paper runs on the screen leaning against the pile of shredded material. The artist reflects on cycles of knowledge and memory through the seaweed that sway collectively in an underwater meadow before drifting away, eventually forming piles on beaches, and then turning into compost.
Next to the installation on the wall is a series of 4 collages on paper called Postcards for the Future. Placed next to A Consolation in which an archive coming into pieces, these collages notes left to the future by the artist made out of shredded photographs, bird feathers, hair and seaweed.
Aviation Series is a series of cubes made out of bird feathers of varying sizes. Since absolute preservation in the face of decay is an impossible task, these cubes offer a proposal for reconciliation between nature and the human rationality on what can be preserved.
Family Album is a series of two dimensional cubes made out of backs of two photographs sticking on each other. They question the capacity of the image as a container to carry or hold together the past.
This Used to be Sea is a collage made with a vintage postcard of ruins from Denizli, the artist's hometown, placed on dried seaweed. The Moon brings together shredded photographs soaked in water with dried seaweed. Both pieces investigate continuous coming into pieces of the world and cycles of renewal.
The Box, The Box consists of a sequence of various objects hidden inside thick, dark, long hair being picked over sometimes by a male and sometimes by a female hand. In the video compassion and care trigger phenomena in contrast such as concealment and revelation, holding on and letting go, death and life.
4’31” single channel video
Shredded photographs and paper documents with 1'35'' video loop
Postcards for the Future
44x28 cm each
Shredded photograph, bird feathers, hair and dried seaweed on paper
This Used to be Sea
Vintage postcard and dried seaweed on paper
Soaked shredded photograph and dried seaweed on paper
44x32 cm each
Photograph and watercolor on paper
September 31st-December 12th, 2020
Lotsremark Projekte, Basel
Sena Başöz took the River Rhine as a metaphor of memory during her two-month stay as artist in residence at lotsremark in Basel. The artist explored both what the city holds in its archives and what flows through without being archived. She conducted interviews with archivists of important archives of the city and people with immigrant backgrounds to explore transnational cultures of memory that extend from Basel to Turkey. This artistic research formed the basis of her solo-show Ars Oblivionis and will be published as a book in the coming months.
This site specific floor installation has the same name with the exhibition; Ars Oblivionis.
White flags point to the flow direction of the river. They are placed with equal intervals on the exhibition floor, representing a rational structure attempting to map the outside world. Strips of text from the conducted interviews are tangling around the flag poles. "What will remain if and when the River Rhine stops flowing?" is one of the questions that the artist asks the interviewees.
The interviews question the motivations behind and the conditions of trying to keep a source or a piece of information in the face of flowing time.
The Outline is a looping video of combing the River Rhine with hair combs in the opposite direction of its flow. This video is a metaphor for the artist's research in Basel as well as for any effort that attempts to tame the flux of life with rationality.
The outline is presented together with another video; The Box, from the artist's solo show in Istanbul. While the Box focuses on the personal, The Outline asks more general questions and attempts a bigger grasp of the world in its totality.
1’38” looping video