Our project consists of a shared theme on immigration and how memory can function under the circumstances provoked by immigration. This endeavor requires us to deal with time, storytelling, translation, transmission of stories among generations and questions around oral history. We present in this cabinet setup at Galerie3000 our methods while working in different contexts given the specific geographical and historical conditions that are part of our experiences.
We began to talk about making a group presentation on this subject more than a year ago. Leaving one's homeland to live in another country is a phenomenon with transforming effects that take generations-long confrontation and understanding processes. We found ourselves on a common ground with similar positions in relation to our histories in the sense that in our generation we may have reached a certain distance with these moments from our past long enough to finally go back and reflect upon them.
Katerina Samara is an artist from Greece, currently living in Sion, Switzerland. Her project Five Senses addresses the physical ways in which memory can be activated. She is occupied with the questions revolving around the functional mechanisms of memory. How does our body remember? Do we have control over what we remember? How is the relationship between memory and senses constructed? She presents five books to the visitors and invites them to participate in searching for answers.
A notebook to be read. A flipping book to listen to the sound it makes. A closed book to be smelled. A book of tissues to be touched. A book of memories connected to food stories to drool over them.
In another shelf, Tracy Lim is presenting her work Lexington Avenue, 56 Street. The 3D viewers are telling visual stories from the memories of Korean illegal immigrants whom the artist met in New York, USA. The artist made a trip to New York for revisiting the sites from her childhood and following her memories. There, she observed how the town of Korean district has been enlarged through years, how Korean immigrants settled down geographically in the city in comparison with her memories of these places.
Each clicker has revitalized the undocumented stories with the use of photos and text which also demonstrate the dimension of forgetfulness. As far as the memories remain intact, will the stories and the emotions captured in the clickers stay alive?
The books on another shelf carry a translated part from Kalan*, a prose poetry written by Leylâ Erbil (1931-2013). They are sent to the cabinet from Istanbul which is the bitter and healing source of this narrative woven with layers of lost life that come to the surface through stream of consciousness, poetry and acts of remembrance on paper. Erbil looked at the moments of social disintegration without moving her eyes elsewhere; that insistence is transmitted to us in a breath through her character's confrontations. The memories of childhood shaped amidst the brutal reformation of people's histories, from deportation to population exchanges, are central to the narrator's reckoning.
The selection of pages is translated by Nihan Somay who wished to extend her time with this uncompromising writer through the labor of words in an effort to research limits and challenges of cooperation on a ground where past and present are in a whirlwind of witnessing and recalling.
We are waiting for you! ;)