21st Ankara International Film Festivals video screening with my last video: Thistles of Sazak


Video is an art of an ability of returning the images to their givers. (Ulus Baker)

Can a link be established between the video and the art of remembering, “ars memorativa” which was pervasive in the Ancient world and during the Middle Ages then left to the oblivion as the development of press by the 18th century? It was necessary to form “an artificial memory” as the paper was a rare and expensive product in the Middle Ages (I want to remind that Spinoza had only 180 books when he died). Ars memorativa, in other words, mnemotekhne was a mandatory cultural facility in order to improve the capacity of natural memory.

The supremacy of the oral culture was penetrating through the petit techniques of the narrators. Imagine that you are illiterate or you do not have a paper and a pen during an important proceeding. The only way is to organize or reorganize your thoughts and memories in an effective way. In this respect, the performers of Ars memorativa developed a discipline in the Middle Ages which they called as “Methods of Places and Images”.

This method – roughly and succinctly – was based on this: you were constructing a building in your mind – for instance a house and you were dispersing the images that you would like to remember later on in each room of this house. By this means, even the dispersion order of the images was ensuring the associating the images. Remembering was a virtual visit to this imaginary house. Let’s call to mind an evocation of Cicero “Anomalistic locations must be defined in an idea; you have to set up the images of the things that you want to hold; than locate these images to several places. Thereat, the order of locations will follow up the order of the things, they crystallize. ‘Cos their images will directly remind the associated objects…”

We are not able to find an answer to the question that to what extent such a method can be successful in our times in which the things to be remembered surpass extremely the cognitive skills of an average person. However, it is self-evident that people in the Ancient times and the Middle Ages had problems in remembering and were obliged to lead an intellectual life in which “taking notes” were almost impossible.

Does video address less to a modern – postmodern person compare to former people? Could its feature of being a high-tech product alienate it from the world of “memory techniques”? Or could it be reinstated in order to respond to a formula of “remembering the remembrance and re-remembering”?

It is argued that video is Memory Box (Chris Marker), a Memory-Space (Muntadas, Farocki) or that video is related to a remembering gaze even it imitates the functioning of memory. Marker would say that if remembering is providing a psychic domicile to a wound free from the object, this means remembering the memories of other people is getting injured by their wounds.

Curators: Ege Berensel-Andreas Treske

Eyes of Memory:

FabriArbeiter verlassen die Fabrik, 36’, color and b/w, 1995
Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges,
color, 75’, 1988
Erkennen und verfolgen
, 58’,
color and b/w, 2003.
Nicht löschbares Feuer, 25’,
b/w, 1969.
In Comparision, 61’,
color, 2009.
Videogramme einer Revolution, 106’,
color and b/w, 1992
Wie man sieht, 72’,
color and b/w, 1986.
Immersion, 20’, 2 screens video installation,
Übertragung, 43’,
1 screen video installation, color and b/w, 2008.
1 screen video installation, 16’, color and b/w, 2005.
Stilleben, 56’,
color, 1997
Nicht Ohne Risiko, 50’,
color, 2004

Collective Memory:

Political Advertisement , 75’,
1 screen video installation, Renkli ve siyah/beyaz, 2008.
Translation: Fear/Miedo, 30’ 27’’
1 screen video installation, Renkli ve siyah/beyaz, 2008
On Translation: Miedo/Jauf, 53’54’’,
1 screen video installation, Renkli ve siyah/beyaz, 2007

Memory of Water:

Tele-Rugby, 10’23’’,
1 screen video installation, color, 2003
Shopping Water, 10’06’’,
1 screen video installation, color, 2006
Suboya, 28’ 38’’,
1 screen video performance, color, 2006
Re-Moses, 60’’,
1 screen video performance, color, 2006
Denizboya, 11’ ,
1 screen video performance, color, 2005
Ojingoi Hoi, 11’ 31’’,
1 screen video performance, color, 2006

Places of Memory: HAKAN AKÇURA

Thistles of Sazak, 41’ 31’’,
1 screen video installation, color, 2010

Goethe-Institut Ankara
Atatürk Bulvarı No 131
06640 Bakanlıklar - Ankara, Turkey
phone: + 90 312 4195283
fax + 90 312 4180847


Thistles of Sazak

A documentary of the art performance

Producer: Open Flux
Director: Hakan Akçura
Music: Dror Feiler
Camera: Hakan Akçura, Dror Feiler, Leyla Ferngren, Gunilla Sköld-Feiler
Edit: Hakan Akçura
41.31 min.
Stockholm, Sweden

"Sazak is a mountain village located in Karaburun, Izmir on the Aegean coast of Turkey and is just one of many Greek villages forcibly evacuated in 1922.

The Greek residents of this and surrounding villages, who once grew rosica grapes in their vineyards and produced delicious wines and molasses, were considered together with the Greek army that invaded Izmir. The Greek residents were driven to the sea at the coves around Karaburun, killed and deported and the villages they left behind were plundered, although they actually had the same rights in these lands as those who remained.

Since those times, for 87 years, Sazak remained desolate, solitary and unprotected on the steep slop facing toward the islands of Lesvos and Chios, where there are still stone houses and unique silhouettes.

In August 2008, about 50 citizens from Patras, Greece, came to Karaburun, Izmir in Turkey. They were the grandchildren of those who were forced to leave the lands which they would visit after 87 years as part of the 2nd Karaburun Peninsula Greek-Turkish Friendship Days.

As they were going to the Kucukbahce village for the first dinner to meet with the local people on the evening of August 6, their bus stopped and they got out. They looked at the village of Sazak, or Sazaki as they call it, lying far away in the falling darkness of the evening.

The second dinner would be at the village of Sarpincik on the next day.

I wanted to salute them by making an art performance at the village of Sazak on August 7, i.e. on the same day as that last dinner. I posted the performance announcement on walls in the town and the surrounding villages days before:

Thistles of Sazak

I will try to clear the village of Sazak from thistles, which covers its heavy emptiness like a heartrending veil, from dawn to dusk on the Seventh of August, 2009.
Your participation is welcome at my performance.

Hakan Akçura

For me, trying to clear the covering of thistles at Sazak is a symbolic cleansing meant to open the way for rescuing the village from the lonely, derelict, unprotected state in which it has been left together with its painful past for 87 years. Also to transform it to one of the symbols of Greek-Turkish friendship, which I believe will develop ever more with each passing day.

I asked for permission, in a way, from the earlier owners of each house, who are no longer there, before clearing the thistles.

Yes, my performance was open to participation. I spread my call not only in and around Karaburun, but I also informed all the guests, Greek and Turkish alike, who met at the first dinner. Only two persons came to the performance in addition to my team; a retired philosophy teacher and his daughter from Bergama, who were spending their summer holidays in Kucukbahce.

They shared their water and fruit with me.

I would like to thank them."

Old Karaburun people / Andreas Baltas' Archive

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