|Exhibition view. Photo: Sven Gutjahr|
What happens, the curators thought, if ğ leaves Turkey to migrate to Germany? For them, “ğ is an oriental sound-letter that migrated to a western body of sorts.” What comes about is an exhibition not merely based on a beautiful letter and a beautiful thought, but also one that constitutes a firm gesture that has its weight in current politics and society. It is rare that one encounters an exhibition that makes a gesture. Most exhibitions are eager to go hard to sound “radical,” and would never get the idea that something like a soft letter could be subversive. Yet for Emre Busse and Aykan Safoğlu, ğ illustrates a queer migrant state of mind and their exhibition tracks the transcultural exchange of LGBTIQ* people between Berlin and Istanbul.
|Ayşe Erkman, Conversations, 1997. Photo: Sven Gutjahr|
I might have been under the influence of the title because my favorites in the exhibition are the works that also play with language. One is by Ayşe Erkmen - a video based on her installation Am Haus, which is displayed on a facade in Oranienstrasse, Kreuzberg, since 1994. It shows the “miş” suffix, specific to Turkish language, used to indicate an Indefinite Past Tense or "heard tense" to transfer information that you have not actually seen and witnessed yourself. As such it introduces various nuances of doubt, uncertainty or hearsay. In times of absolutes of “Just Do It!”, aren't we in need of a “miş” sort of mindset?
|Ming Wong, Soft g, 2017. Photo: Sven Gutjahr|
The second work is by Ming Wong, also based on an earlier piece of him, impersonating the Turkish transsexual singer Bülent Ersoy - Bülent being a name that can be both male and female. We hear Wong taking singing lessons, making an effort for the right pronunciation and the right tone. The tone has to be dramatic, so the music teacher stresses, with a lot of pain in the voice. Wong goes for it, reaching out to the original. An exact imitation would be boring because it’s in the little gap that poetry, and with poetry love comes about.