“Listening,” Nermin Saybaşılı suggests, is a positively “spatial practice.” The notion of space recognized in and through aural experience developed by Saybaşılı, however, abides by anything but a cogent geographic teleology. Rather, it “[involves] the mapping of the invisible, the temporal, the detachable, the connectible, the reversible and the modifiable.”1 Listening to what she terms the magnetic, an audiovisual concept developed in her article “The Magnetic Remanences: Voice and Sound in Digital Art and Media” (2014), is to become attentive to space as it emerges and is mobilized in a particular way – one which has to do with the creativity and active energy of people animated in temporally and spatially unfolding events. For Saybaşılı, such is the audible materiality of political resistance.
For her talk “Magnetic Istanbul,” Saybaşılı will be operationalizing the notion of the magnetic by tuning in to “Sounds of Resistance,” a series of ethnographic sound assemblages produced by musician and composer Erdem Helvacıoğlu during the Occupy Gezi demonstrations across Turkey in the summer of 2013. Helvacıoğlu has previously composed works based on field recordings collected around Istanbul in A Walk Through The Bazaar (2003) and performed improvised electro-acoustic projects exploring the ambient spatiality of sound. See below for a few excerpts from his numerous projects.
- Nermin Saybaşılı, “The Magnetic Remanences: Voice and Sound in Digital Art and Media,” in Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in the Middle East and North Africa, ed. by Anthony Downey (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), 201.