One-armed Bandit

Remnants

Reverberations:- Violence Across Time & Space

Istanbul March 2015 

This video triptych comprising of One-armed Bandit, Ravel and My house is my gold!  was developed as a part of The Remnants Project with Dr. Alice von Bieberstein of Dept. of Anthropology, University of Cambridge, between 2013-15 in Kurdistan, Turkey. We developed di stinct ethnographic methodologies and innovative conceptual and visual frameworks for the study of subjectivity, materiality, and temporality in the currency as well as aftermath of politically instigated violence.

The  video featured at an exhibition held in Istanbul in 2015. I was invited to participate in a project with the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in Turkish Kurdistan. The project was titled “Living with Remnants”. Conducted during the period of the truce between the PKK and the Turkish Government (2013-2015), the mission of anthropologists was to establish a record of the material traces left in Turkey by communities that had suffered extermination or deportation; To study the place taken by these vestiges in the experience of those who live today in the shadow of this memory. Beyond the material remains, the remanence of memory was the central object of their study, which led them to collect, among others, the testimonies of Turkish Kurds victims of property speculation in districts of the city of Muş formerly inhabited by the Armenian community decimated in the genocide of 1915.                  

 

 

Hunting for treasures, or ‘Armenian gold’ as it is sometimes also referred to, is an affectively charged affair that becomes an obsession for many men throughout what was once also Western Armenia (current-day Northern Kurdistan or Eastern Turkey). It is an explorative and speculative endeavour that involves assembling social relations, technologies and knowledge towards the hope and promise of a redemptive discovery. Symbols of all kinds and historical periods, but preferably the Christian symbolism attached to remnants of Armenian life in the area become the target of treasure hunters. What they leave behind is rubble, sand and holes in the ground.

 

 

Dr. Alice von Bieberstein