ARCHIVES AND REGENERATION:

What Can be Preserved in the Face of Flux?

2020-2022

 

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 views creating an archive as an act of care. A regeneration takes place in the archive when a third-party interacts with it creating a continuity between the living and the dead.

 

After her solo show On Lightness in 2018, Başöz worked as a content creator for 23,5 Hrant Dink Memory Site. Sourcing from the Hrant Dink archive, a narration was installed in his former office building. Through this 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 conditions of activating an institutional archive through transforming it into narrative while our relationship to time changes due to the climate crisis. The piece investigates how this activation 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, Istanbul is composed of her work on her own archive.


Her research in Basel at lotsremark projekte in Fall 2020 explores both what the city holds in its archives and what flows through without being archived. She mentions a time when the River Rhine stops flowing, reminiscent of global warming and related end of the world scenarios.

 
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Slalom

4 March 2022 in TAVROS, Athens

May 2022 at Wellcome Collection, London

Performance commissioned by Block Universe Performance Art Festival London, Delfina Foundation and SAHA Derneği.

Concept and Direction: Sena Başöz

Choreography: Sena Başöz, Sedef Gökçe, Canan Yücel Pekiçten

Performance and Dance Artists: Sena Başöz, Sedef Gökçe, Canan Yücel Pekiçten

Original Soundtrack: Semih Fırıncıoğlu

We are approaching the future at an accelerated rate whilst the future simultaneously speeds towards us. Technological advancements and human intervention in the environment have capitulated us into a climate crisis, a point of almost no return. We must reconsider the planet as we know it. At this pivotal moment, many communities around the world are looking for forms of regeneration and healing.

The artist thinks of our current relationship to time as akin to skiing downhill full speed. Activating an archive through transforming it into narrative, on the other hand, requires time. In order to deal with the lengthy process of unearthing an archive an accelerated body must slow down skillfully. Slalom investigates how to take these turns. The performance is tightly connected to the content of the archive that the performance space houses. Wellcome’s collections contain an array of topics relating to health and the human experience in many forms. TAVROS holds an archive on the economic history of Greece in the 20th century relating to agriculture, industry and the banking sector.

 

The artist reads a text based on the archive of the performance space while the two performers try to keep up with its rhythm. Correspondingly, the artist tries to move forward and keep her balance together with them. Moving in an expanded moment, together they investigate the possibilities of conciliation.

Photo credit: Dimitris Parthimos for TAVROS

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Photo credit: Nazlı Meriç Çukurova

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Photo credit: Dimitris Parthimos for TAVROS

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A Consolation

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 questioning 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. She places a looping video of posidonia oceanica, a seaweed native to the Mediterranean, next to the pile of shredded material from her own archive. The seaweed resembles the shredded archive formally. Can the underwater meadow offer a consolation for the lost, the destroyed, or the forgotten in a morass of information? 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. The artists leaves notes to the future through these postcards made from materials that initially exist within a multitude and continually disperse. She is interested in the medium of postcard as an archival material and what it preserves. Can the dispersed organic material be re-activated as parts of a whole? 

Aviation Series is a series of cubes made out of bird feathers of varying sizes. The artist has been repeatedly interested in the form of the cube as a metaphor for the rational mind. The cube is the most efficient shape to fit and preserve articles in. Tidying up, categorizing are methods of the human mind dealing with the complexity of the universe. These feather cubes offer a proposal for reconciliation between nature and the human rationality. 

Family Album is made using 2 reversed photographs placed on top of each other in order to create the illusion of a 3D cube. The artist has been interested in the form of the cube as a metaphor for the rational mind. The cube is the most efficient shape to fit and preserve articles in. Tidying up, categorizing are methods of the human mind dealing with the complexity of the universe. These cubes question the photographs capacity to hold and preserve.

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.

 
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The Box

2020 

4’31” single channel video 

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A Consolation

2020 

Dimensions variable

Shredded photographs and paper documents with 1'35'' video loop

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Aviation Series

2020 

Dimensions variable

Bird feathers

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Postcards for the Future

2020 

44x28 cm each

Shredded photograph, bird feathers, hair and dried seaweed on paper

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This Used to be Sea

2020 

52x40 cm 

Vintage postcard and dried seaweed on paper

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The Moon

2020 

50x38 cm 

Soaked shredded photograph and dried seaweed on paper

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Family Album

2020 

44x32 cm each

Photograph and watercolor on paper

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Ars Oblivionis

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. In her artistic research, she mentions a time when the River Rhine stops flowing, reminiscent of global warming and related end of the world scenarios. The idea of a potential end, intensified by the current Covid 19 pandemic, is set side by side with the human effort to preserve. The result of this research is presented as a site-specific installation in her exhibition titled Ars Oblivionis that took place between September 31st-Dec 12th, 2020 at Lotsremark Projekte in Basel and a book of the interviews titled Riverbed published in 2022 by Onagöre.

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 mapping the 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 Outline is a looping video of combing the River Rhine with hair combs in the opposite direction of its flow. The hair combs stand as a metaphor for tools of the rational mind, creating small ripples within the turbulent flow of the river. 

The installation is presented together with the video titled The Box, from the artist's solo show in Istanbul.

 
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The Outline

2020 

1’38” looping video 

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