Monday, 20 April 2009

On Immortality

“In our present time, one feels somewhat embarrassed when speaking or writing of immortality, in particular the immortality of individual. You feel you have to explain how on earth you came up with such an odd – even kitsch- topic. Today the individual’s immortality seems a more appropriate theme for a Hollywood B movie than for a seriously wrought philosophical lecture. This was not always the case. In the past, it wasn’t considered uncomfortable to talk about immortality because people believed that the soul would outlive the body. Therefore, it was considered absolutely appropriate and reasonable to give thought, while still on earth, as to where your soul would end up when you died. But above all, our ancestors would pose the question of which part of the soul is potentially immortal and which mortal.
Philosophy, as it was initiated by plato, has been for a long period of history other than an attempt to anticipate the further life of the soul after death. In other words, to carry out a metanoia, that is, a transition from an innerwordly to an otherwordly perspective, from the perspective of the mortal body to that of the eternal soul. Metanoia is namely a necessary starting point from which to become metaphysical, to attain a meta-position in relation to the world and thus to regard and think of the world as a whole.
Today though, as modern, post-enlightenment individuals, we hold that God is dead and that the soul cannot outlive the body. Or to be more precise, we dont believe that such a thing as a soul can actually be differentiated from the body, separated – made independent. Correspondingly, we also don’t believe that a change of perspective, a metanoia – that is achievement of a meta-position in relation to the world – is possible. Of anyone who speaks today it is first asked where he is from and from which perspective he speaks. Race, class, and gender serve as coordinates whereby the positioning of every voice is located. The concept of cultural identity, which stands at the centre of today’s Cultural studies, also serves this same initial positioning. Even though the relevant parameters and identities are interpreted as social constructs rather than ‘natural’ determinants , this hardly invalidates their effect. It may perhaps be possible to deconstruct social constructions, but they cannot be abolished or deliberately replaced.”
Boris Groys, Immortal Bodies

presented future on 27.February 2009

While developing the idea of immortality I have been influenced by Boris Groys, as well as Zygmund Bauman who has written the book titled 'mortality, immortality and other life strategies'.
Immortality as a life strategy is the core of this project, as how such a notion can be strategically reproduced or positioned.
Besides the conceptualisation of such a term in social domain I am interested in what art has to do with 'immortality’, how art can interrogate such notion through visual products.
Tonight we will be experiencing three different and related expressions:

Performance / Lecture by The Museum of Non Participation

The Museum of Non Participation, the project aims to question, challenge and demystify all of our participation in systems which govern the workings of a globalised and struggling world in disparate locations. The Museum of Non-Participation is a timely appraisal of standard forms of representing and experiencing the everyday. In its Karachi context the flexible terms of the project have come to encompass a new way of moving through and looking at the city, in a city with no museums, the city itself becomes the museum. Non participation becomes a form of resistance and questions the choice and consequence of action or inaction. The Museum throws up questions of urbanism, institutionalisation, space, cultural and societal divisions. Mirza and Butler are questioning the concept of the city, and the issues at stake, carrying back to London with them questions which are poignantly relevant to their own sprawling metropolis.
The Museum of Non Participation is a commissioned project by Artangel Interaction

:mentalKLINIK presentation of recent works and discussion on the equalised state of subject and object on the grounding of their perceptibility as data.
:mentalKLINIK, with its “undisciplined” state of mind, finds space of movement within the limits of art. Tags 21st century’s fragments with its own point of view. It designs unidentified spaces, indecisive zones and frozen times. In approaching the immaterial world keeps records of relations with materials. Works on subjects /concepts /states /behaviors. Creates forms of relationships with people in times and spaces defined by itself. Uses processes of creation, design, production and consumption as sources for its works.
Thinks over the relations between time and space, subject and object, object and time and produces. Names the objects as interfaces. Shifts its view from the object to the back side of it. There, finds the necessary insipration.
:mentalKLINIK, locating itself in the passage between two centuries, wishes, in its own understanding of time and space, to bear holes inbetween the material and the immaterial world, while being nurtured by emergent cultures and the changes between the centuries in forms of production and lifestyles. :mentalKLINIK, with productions where value relations are discussed, with joyful anxities, with works that reflect augmented realities with reduced senses, with exhibitions that offer occupations, :mentalKLINIK creates encounters in its own microclimate and these encounters define the forms of the works.
Until 2005, :mentalKLINIK stated prototypes for the understanding art-design-production-consumption with its first projects. In these projects, an idea of total production in which includes the product itself, its context, production process and the relation between product and beholder. Since 2007, :mentalKLINIK focuses on encountering a multiple world with its singular stand, instead of producing multiple looks on a singular state.

Presentation by Z. Tül Akbal Süalp on the condition of the 'subject'.
She has been teaching cinema, media and cultural studies in various Universities in Istanbul and gave lectures at Humbold University in Berlin as a visiting Professor last year. She recently has become the faculty member of Cinema and TV Department at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul. She has her BA degree in Psychology and studied Political Science, Cinema Studies and Sociology (Cultural Studies) in New York and Istanbul in MA and PhD levels. She has been writing articles on cultural studies, cinema and critical theory in some journals and the editor of Kültür ve Toplum 1/ Culture and the Society 1, (Hil, 1995), Oyun/ Play (2002) and the author of the book titled ZamanMekan: Kuram ve Sinema/TimeSpace: Theory and Cinema (Ba_lam 2004) and co-author of the short fiction: Wanting Book Odd Notebook. (MudamCamp de Base & :mentalKL_N_K, 2004) and also co-author of the book titled From Liberties To Losses and Afterwards (De-Ki 2008) Her recent research interest includes «space and time in cinema and culture », « urban space and cinema », and « technology culture and public sphere»

Thursday, 26 February 2009


(for English see text below)
Present Future
Sessie met Museum of Non Participation (Karachi), :mentalKLINIK (Istanbul),
Zeynep Tul Sualp Akbal (Istanbul)
Vrij. 27.02, 2009 [20.00 u]
TENT.Young Curator Fatos Ustek (Londen/Istanbul) leidt op vrijdag 27 februari een sessie met performers, sprekers en publiek. Filmkunstenaars Karen Mirza en Brad Butler (Londen) zullen in een persoonlijke performance onder andere ingaan op hun project Museum of Non Participation dat ze in Karachi, Pakistan uitvoeren voor het Engelse kunstopdrachtenbureau Artangel. Ze onderzoeken in samenwerking met Pakistaanse gemeenschappen in Londen en Karachi hoe politieke structuren zich met geweld in de openbare ruimte manifesteren.

Het Turkse kunstenaarsduo :mentalKLINIK (Istanbul) zal ingaan op een aantal recente projecten waarin nanotechnologie en virtual reality centraal staan. Yasemin Baydar en Birol Demir richtten hun collectief :mentalKLINIK op vanuit de wens om de relatie tussen mens en object te transformeren, en te proberen aan te tonen dat de relatie subject-object in de toekomst op een andere manier kan worden vormgegeven. Zeynep Tul Sualp Akbal is verbonden aan de Bahcesehir Universiteit van Istanbul. Haar publicaties over film en theorie hebben veel invloed gehad op de bloeiende Turkse filmwereld. In haar betoog ondervraagt ze hedendaagse subjectiveringsstrategiee뮠aan de hand van observaties over sci-fi films en de dynamiek van de huidige westerse maatschappij.

Present Future
Session with the Museum of Non Participation (Karachi), :mentalKLINIK (Istanbul),
Zeynep Tul Sualp Akbal (Istanbul)
Fri 27.02, 2009 [20.00 hrs]
On Friday 27 February TENT.Young Curator Fatos Ustek (London/Istanbul) will moderate a session with performers, speakers and audience. London-based film artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler will present a performance. They recently initiated the 'Museum of Non Participation', which they are carrying out in Karachi, Pakistan commissioned by Artangel, London. In this project, they are working with Pakistani communities in Karachi and London to explore how violence inherent in political structures are played out in social spaces.

Tag 14, Binary Occupations, :mentalKLINIK

Istanbul-based artist duo :mentalKLINIK will be speaking about their recent projects which deal with nanotechnology and virtual reality. One of the reasons why Yasemin Baydar and Birol Demir founded their collective :mentalKLINIK is to re-evaluate the human - object relationship and to attempt to prove that the relationship subject-object can be experienced differently in the future. Zeynep Tul Sualp Akbal is working as a scientist at Bahcesehir University of Istanbul. Her publications on film and theory have had a profound impact on the country's flourishing film industry. In her talk, she will question today's subjectifying strategies through observations on sci-fi films and the dynamics of contemporary western society.
Tag, :mentalKLINIK, 2009


I have started my research on vampires while i was involved in working on the concept of immortality. As it is the second leg of the trilogy I am working on, I wanted to have lines of continuation. In the first leg I have organised a zombie night for which zombies were hand in hand with the concept of 'the lost moment'. For immortality what could be the fiction character to be investigated? And the answer was clear and definite: vampires.
As they are the undead, the immortal living they are examples of sustaining immortality. Vampires differ from zombies by class and feature. They are the undead who drain the living, who parasitically drains another. Whereas zombies are the living dead they are excessive labor to be abused. Vampires realise themselves through conscious choices whereas zombies destroy whatever and whichever without any conscious involvement. They are bodies acting through space, powerless power structures.
Vampires, mostly come from an aristocrat high ruling class, living in castles which oversee the town. They have a certain historicity a family background and high taste.
Why are we talking about vampires tonite? Is it the imagery of horror that I am behind and wanting to illustrate to you or is it the features of such creatures?
Neither of them. I am interested in vampires as social artefacts, how the idea of vampire has been flourished and became a commonality. A characterisation of such a fictive presence. What are the needs of defining such beings? For me it is related to understanding and evaluating power – the sovereign as an unseen and powerful, fearful and authoritarian. In most vampire novels and films it is recommended not to go by their territories nor get in contact with vampires since there is always something to lose and become a victim of the encounter.
I am interested in the victim - victimizer relationship. Which is more than a mere balance of power. The relation is hand in hand with the consent of both sides. The victimizer accepts to take his/her position as long as his/her victim accepts to be under the rule.
This liminal space is interesting.

As Michael Foucault famously put it the modern state can be defined by the maxim: it makes live and lets die as opposed to the earlier sovereign state which makes die and lets live. Like vampires and like today's contemporary society based on control and fear.
“at the end of the 19th century the Russian philosopher Nikolay Federov developed the project of the ‘common cause’ which called upon the modern state to resurrect and make immortal, through science, all individuals who have ever lived upon the earth”
After the October revolution many Russian intellectuals and artists were interested in federov’s ideas. Hence they wrote their first manifesto in 1922 as representatives of bio-cosmic immortalist movement. Alexander Svyatogor, one of the protagonists of the movement, considered immortality to be both the aim of and the condition for the future communist society, for he believes that the true social solidarity can be established solely among immortals.
Following the theories of immortality Constantin Tsilokovsky developed the idea of petrification of the sky that is to say to colonize the cosmic space by humanity’s soon to be immortal ancestors which lead the research to become a starting point for the soviet space travel.
Another bio-political experiment was the institute of blood transfusion which got founded by Alexander Bogdanov in 1920’s. Bogdanov was a close friend of Lenin and the co-founder of the intellectual political wing of the Russian socialist democrat party which led to the emergence of Bolshevism. In 20s Bogdanov got fascinated by the idea of blood transfusion and its possible exciting outcomes such as achieving deceleration in the aging process in a way in which the transfusion between the younger and older would rejuvenate the latter and simultaneously balance out inter-generational solidarity. Bogdanov died during one of these transfusions. Possibly due to the fact that the blood types were not yet found.
Although the blood transfusion institute could not achieve what it aimed for it evoked first and foremost well known novel: Drakula by Bram Stoker.
For instance in the blood transfusion institute of Bogdonov, a young female students blood was partially exchanged with the blood of an older writer. This anology is by no means coincidental says Boris Groys: the society of vampires – of immortal bodies- described by stoker is the society of a bio-power par excellence.
However the novel written in 1897, at the same time as Fedorov developing his project of the ‘common cause’ describes the regime of the total bio-power not as a utopia but rather as an anti-utopia. Blood transfer is not only establishing a balance of solidarity and equal benefit but also a sense of belonging. Belonging to a bigger picture than a mere body. If you want it is the organs without body.

So what are vampires, how to recognize them?
- they are absolute powerful with certain fragilities such as sun light, possibly garlic smell, most commonly accepted crucifix (not valid in muslim countries please take a look at Dracula in Istanbul, a film made in 1953) , water in most cases
- they have long finger nails (I could not find exact reasons, could be the very fact that they are not interested in cutting finger nails or after the death of the body or the loss of breathing hair and nails continue to grow so nails can be the connection with their once-living states
- their eyes and iris changes enormously when they shift to be the hunter: eyes get redder and iris gets smaller
- they like necks most than any other part of the body. in recent vampire movies the neck is replaced by the wrist or any body part. I assume that neck is the metaphorical connection between mind and body so that they release the body and the mind from each other by that act.
- as a society they have rituals such as they mostly sleep or snooze in coffins. I think it is the connection to mortality. And their empowered state over the mortal so that they can go in and out of the coffin on their will and in relation to food sources of course.
- they are conscious of overruling they can contact telepathically to their victims or to the ones whom they have influenced by a bite or a physical contact and victims with weak will get the hook easier than others,
- sucking blood is their sexual encounter with the other. if we think of the importance of blood and blood circulation in the sexual encounter it is not hard to imagine an orgasmic relation for the vampire and its victim.
- they belong to an aristocrat class- mostly from transilvania
- the myth of vampires was not popularised until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe,
- their clothing changes throughout two decades. They were supposed to wear black and heavy clothing in the 18th and 19th century and with the breakdown of modernity they might look like snicker wearing kids.
- they have no mirror reflection in a way it is a sign of totality they are in the picture without a face without a difference. they lack nothing that is why they don’t have a reflection. they are pure power and pure presence. They are present at the moment whereas for humans it is not possible we always live with the past and idea of future at the moment of the now.
- they don’t dream. Their victim feels as if he is dreaming about the encounter with the vampire, the victim becomes the phantom that nothing happens, as they mostly promise their loved ones that 'nothing will happen to them in their journey' which is not possible unless they become phantoms.
- they can be destroyed only with a sharpened plinth of wood - stick- that is pinned to their heart. I have been searching for the cause and effect of such a ritual but nothing is yet clear than a mere middle aged ritual of claiming over the centre of live – the blood centre of the vampire where they are only on blood. No air no water but blood which makes them different from humans.
- they belong to a certain hierarchy. So that they also have a master that affects them both and in most of the narratives when the master is destroyed the other followers also get destroyed. (It is like revolution.)
- they don’t have a god and they are the enemies of god since they claim immortality through evil. That is why they are effected by the cross as stated in most of the sources I could find.
- Virgin blood is the most valuable blood for the fact that it has not experienced any sexual jouissance, and vampires mostly prefer female virgins. Although we can talk about male virginity.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


(for English see text below)
Vampire Empire from Dusk till Dawn
Filmscreening met inleiding van Fatos Üstek
Vrij. 13.02, 2009 [20.00 u]

Op vrijdag 13 februari organiseert TENT.Young Curator Fatos Üstek een filmscreening en inleiding over de vampier als een belangrijke inspiratiebron voor kunstenaars. Blood for Dracula (1973) van Andy Warhol en Paul Morrissey is een artistieke verwerking van het klassieke horrorverhaal over Graaf Dracula. Warhol nam de film deels in Italië op met medewerking van o.a. Joe Dallessandro en Roman Polanski. Oorspronkelijk werd de film slechts in kleine kring gedistribueerd wegens de gewelddadige en seksuele scènes. In de horrorfilm Nadja (1995) van cultregisseur David Lynch en Michael Almereyda zoekt een vampiertweeling naar een mogelijkheid om aan hun monsterlijke erfenis te ontsnappen. De film is volledig in zwart-wit geschoten en heeft een sfeerversterkende soundtrack. In de hilarische horrorfilm The Lost Boys (1987) van Joel Schumacher scheuren jonge vampiers op motoren rond en terroriseren een Californische kustplaats. The Lost Boys is een bonte mix van genres, met hoofdrollen voor de hipste tienersterren van toen, en daarmee een ultieme eightiesfilm.

Vampire Empire from Dusk till Dawn
Film screening introduced by Fatos Üstek
Fri. 13.02, 2009 [20.00 h]

On 13 February, TENT. Young curator Fatos Üstek organizes a film screening and introduction on the vampire as an important source of inspiration for artists.
Blood for Dracula (1973) by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey is an artistic adaptation of the classic horror story of Count Dracula. Warhol shot part of the film in Italy in cooperation with Joe Dallessandro and Roman Polanski among others. Originally the film was only distributed in small circles due to its violent and sexual scenes.
In the horror film Nadja (1995) by cult director David Lynch and Michael Almereyda, vampire twins seek to escape from their monstrous legacy. The film is shot entirely in black-and-white and has a highly atmospheric soundtrack.
In the hilarious horror film The Lost Boys (1987) by Joel Schumacher, young vampires tear around on motorcycles and terrorise a Californian coastal town. The Lost Boys is a colourful mix of genres, with leading roles for the hottest teenage stars of the day, making it an ultimate eighties film.