Nermin Saybaşılı

Magnetic Istanbul” [ENG]


Abstract: The paper proposes the notion of the “magnetic Istanbul” in relation to Occupy Gezi and in reference to Sounds of Resistance (2014), a sound art piece by the artist and the musician Erdem Helvacıoğlu. The notion of “the magnetic city” corresponds to a spatial practice, combining space and event, subjectivity and mobility in a very particular way. Turning the whole city into a camp space temporarily for the act of resistance and the desire for liberation, Occupy Gezi marks a paradigm shift as being at the centre of emerging questions of public space, identity, residency, safety, freedom and mobility. From this perspective, “the magnetic city” is not a space for governmental architecture, but a place for a subject who has particular, excessive sphere of activity with the others in the space by generating a surplus place operating both inside and outside of the city. Judith Butler conceptualized resistance as a “performative power” which has to do with the demands of bodily action, gesture, movement, congregation, persistence, and exposure to possible violence. “The magnetic” is a metaphor for a force that stretches upon its energy and creativity through a network of places and people tracing out the invisible, the inaudible, the temporal, the detachable, the connectible, the reversible, and the modifiable. As has been investigated by Helvacıoğlu through his sound assemblage, during the resistance, sounds, voices, and bodies are animated through other bodies, sounds and voices, echoing each other and moving constantly across spaces. Moreover, his sound piece in its extended and replicable audible dimension extends the scenes of resistance audibly and participates in the transposability of the scene in the gallery context.


Bio: Nermin Saybaşılı is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Saybaşılı works as visiting scholar in the School of Arts at Columbia University with a Fulbright Fellowship beginning from September 2015 until September 1, 2016. Amongst her many essays published in books, catalogues, journals and magazines, Saybaşılı’s most recent publications include chapters in Globalisation and Contemporary Art (Wiley-Blackwell), Mobility and Fantasy in Visual Culture (Routledge) and Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (IB Tauris).