PUBLISHED: Mobilizing Memory Curators Interviewed by “n.paradoxa”

May 1, 2015
PUBLISHED: Mobilizing Memory Curators Interviewed by “n.paradoxa”

Feminist art journal n.paradoxa recently published an interview with Ayşe Gül Altınay and Işın Önol, curators of the successful exhibition “Mobilizing Memory: Women Witnessing.”  The exhibition grew out of the CSSD working group Women Mobilizing Memory and has been produced at Depo in Istanbul and Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna.  The article is available for purchase here.

Katy Deepwell corresponded with both curators and discussed the dearth of both the gendered aspects of mass violence and the gendering of memory struggles in public debates. Altinay explained how the exhibit sought to address the role of witnessing as a practice of resistance. The curators wanted to give evidence of women using memories to organize, analyze, and cope. Altinay also notes that the artworks in the show particularly resist monumentality in favor of intimacy, pointing to an alternative mode of documenting violent pasts.

The exhibit reaches beyond the dichotomies of “women as victims vs. women as fighters” and “personal vs. public/political” and among other things uses the subtheme of “family,” drawing connections between family photos and stories and national narratives of belonging and violence.

Altinay said the exhibit can be used to contextualize current conflicts with the Islamic State, Syria, and Iraq on the borders of Turkey. Pieces in the show can provide creative tools for struggling with wars and their memories in a gendered manner, claimed Altinay.

Önol commented on the different ways that the artworks show women using cameras to witness and record events related to war. They might record or revisit past events and thereby furnish alternative, subjective histories. The works might serve to collect existing information or they might provide proofs of suppressed facts.

Read the full article here.