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Conversions


Hukuk-u Hayal, Nidrazone, Remains of the Road, Citizen Cosmos, are works which stand at heterogeneous and various distances to one another, yet which interlock when regarded from another angle. In Şafak Çatalbaş’s video works, the subjects, languages, movements, and games establish a disequilibrating relationship with each other.. Each work follows a different path in becoming performative through an internal process of conversion. 

The lines refract each other and veer off in different directions. In a ‘Zen state’, thoughts disintegrate the collective on the one hand and unify it on the other. Each line draws out a forking path starting from its refracted form. Each one of the variables varies. The performative languages that form within an area or a space invite in both sound and silence. Legal discourse can suddenly be converted into a language in the transparency of a glass made out of game. The words from Kerouac’s book, a classic of the Beat generation, are torn page by page in a spinning, kaleidoscopic circle, and given back to the road. Those on the road unite with those whirling around. 

Today, the subjectivities jammed within identities make us feel that there exists no other way than playing games to go beyond the world of the cosmopolitan citizenship concept suggested by Kant in the 18th century. By creating an evironment of competition and rivalry in her video work and revealing the lust for primacy that we encounter everywhere nowadays,, Şafak Çatalbaş bitterly reminds us that it seems we can do nothing but become cosmopolitan.

Is “organic law”, considered an ‘area of violence’ by philosophers such as Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida, ironically purified of violence when it is translated into another pseudo language? The border is both a passage and a place of closure. Where is the starting point? Where is the destination? What kind of life is desired? Questions follow questions. These four video works intercept, intersect and connect to each other. The law, the book, the path, the border, and spontaneous conversions lead us to think about citizens’ lives in a fictional way.

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