Sunday, 15 December 2013

Special Issue: Revisiting Ethnographic Turn in Contemporary Arts (Critical Arts)

The special issue "Revisiting Ethnographic Turn in Contemporary Arts", edited by Kris Rutten, An van Dienderen and Ronald Soetaert, has been published in the journal Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies. Cuneyt contributed to the special issue with an article focusing on documentary video in arts. 

Cakirlar, C. "Aesthetics of Self-Scaling: Parallaxed Transregionalism and Kutluğ Ataman’s Art-Practice", Critical Arts 27(6), 2013, 684-706. 

This article examines relations of ethnography, contemporary art-practice, globalisation and scalar geopolitics with particular reference to Kutluğ Ataman’s art-works. Having been shortlisted for the Turner Prize at the Tate and awarded the prestigious international Carnegie Prize in 2004 with his forty-screen video installation Küba (2004), Ataman became an extremely well-known, globally acclaimed artist and filmmaker. Self-conscious of their global travel and critically attentive to the contemporary ethnographic turn in the visual arts scene, Ataman’s video-works perform a conscientious failure of representing cultural alterity as indigeneity. Concentrating on the artist’s engagement with ethnography, this article contains three main parts. Analyses of the selection of videos in each part will give an account of different scalar aspects of Ataman’s artworks. It will first revisit a previous study (Çakirlar 2011) on the artist’s earlier work of video-portraits including Never My Soul! (2002) and Women Who Wear Wigs (1999). A detailed discussion of Küba follows, which may be taken as the ‘hinge-work’ in Ataman’s oeuvre that marks a scalar transition in his critical focus – from body and identity to community and geopolitics. The discussion will then move to a brief analysis of the series Mesopotamian Dramaturgies, including the screen-based sculptures Dome (2009), Column (2009), Frame (2009), English as a Second Language (2009), and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (2009). Rather than addressing scale as a differential concept, this article aims to demonstrate the ways in which Ataman’s art-practice produces self-scaling, self-regioning subjects that unsettle the hierarchical constructions of scale and facilitates a critique of the scalar normativity within the global art world’s regionalisms and internationalisms. 
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