Your project, definitely a first in Turkey and probably a first in the world, is entitled 'I Want My Mirrors'. Let's start this interview by hearing why did you entitle it so.
This project is a projection based on my life. The word 'mirrors' was chosen on the grounds that it corresponds to the action I chose at the point where I want my reflections to be. I might also say that it corresponds to the definition of the word 'reflection'. I think the project's title contains a paradoxical association of mirror, in a sense. Because when the subjects of my life send their reflections, they will not have sent just my reflections in them. As I explained in the announcement, their reflections i.e. my 'mirrors' will be displayed to thousands of people they never knew. Therefore, I can't guess how will they or we experience them.
I know you had first contacted the newspapers to have your announcement advertised. Did you advertise it in the Internet first because of any problems you had with them?
Yes. Because I was taught that it was not a realistic dream to think of having a supportive announcement advertised in the newspapers. Even if some editors, reporters or other personnel of newspapers decided to support my idea from the heart, their board of directors or advertising managers refused to advertise my announcement. I think the basic reason of their attitude was their fear that such a support would encourage other artists to ask for the same. But somehow none of them gave a clear negative answer to me. As a result, I could not get the announcement advertised in the Press, and decided to advertise it through the Internet. I used a database in order to try to reach all Internet users in Turkey. I sent it to fifty, sixty thousand e-mail addresses, and asked every receiver to send it to all people in their address book. Now I understand I reached too many people, beyond my wildest dreams. Then I continued by asking many sites to assign a page to me for the sake of support.
Let's speak about the concept of your project. How will this event be arranged?
First of all, I want to explain a basic aspect of this project. By nature, this project is an event where I am unable to answer such questions as how is it prepared, what does it aim, what I expect from it. It is absolutely a non-arranged project. As you would admit, it is a quiet unusual call. It naturally is a call inviting to a hurting process. In a sense, I expose my private life to attacks. For the first time in my life I attempt to realize such a non-arranged project, and what I call brings a kind of confrontation with all subjects of my life...What does it mean, what will it bring, what kind of an exhibition will it be, I don't have answers to these questions. What I am sure from the beginning is just this: If I would confront all subjects of my life, the only subject that have to stay outside must be myself. This event would not have been genuine had I not been excluded from it. Therefore, I had to leave the subjects of my life alone in the field where they will take what lies in their hearts about me; so I left them alone.
What reactions, what questions were given or asked to you, who want his mirrors, who look for your reflections, to date?
Many people attempted to debate with me as to what I want, how much the things they prepared suit me and this project. When I begin to talk to an object of mine, I'd say 'You can share with me what you want to share with me without hesitation, and please welcome to ask all the things you want to ask, but never expect me to comment.' Because this is a journey they have to take alone. At this point there is no specific definition for me. There is only a definition for them. Everybody I reached through my advertisement knows that the mirrors they will send are going to be objects of art to be seen by crowds. If they will feel confusion because of this fact, it must be solved by themselves. Another point I find interesting is a number of e-mail messages sent by the people who don't know me, asking questions to understand this project. Apart from that, I received about 100 supportive messages. Some people considered my announcement bold, enviable, exhibitionist, scary, romantic or sad. What was nice was that none of said people wrote any definitions which I am scared to hear from them. For example, I was scared that some people would find my announcement media-friendly.
Thus everybody who will send a reflection to you, I mean every mirror, will become a partner to this project in a way.
Yes. This is an important aspect of the event. I think I emphasize an important point by stating in the announcement that this is an event of art...I announce that I genuinely seek my genuine reflections. Thus everybody who will make an object to tell Hakan Akçura and attend my exhibition is given an authorization to create a work of art. In other words, I present a position of competence and feasibility..
How will the 'mirrors' to be sent to you will be presented in the exhibition?
All mirrors sent to me will be exhibited by all means. Every mirror, article, drawing and voice record telling me and sent to me will be presented in the exhibition in the order of receipt by me, without being censored. Therefore what remains to do is presentation works only. For example, a mirror sent to me in the form of a voice record will be played by means of headphones and its transcription will be displayed at the exhibition. If a mirror is an object, it will be put on a base. Thus all mirrors sent to me will be displayed to the visitors in the same place at the same time in the order of receipt. Thus no mirror will turn into a thing different from its original state...
Do you think to add your own works (objects, writings, paintings) to the exhibition in its present form?
Neither an object nor a line created or written by me will take place in the exhibition. We are living in a world where an idea itself, a concept itself is considered art, for a long time. I shall take place in this event as the creator of its concept, as the drawer of its method, and as the owner of the exhibition. Although it is me who call for this exhibition, who work to prepare this exhibition, it will contain not even a single line written by me. Furthermore, I plan to turn this exhibition into a book. That book will contain nothing but the mirrors sent to me.
I know you received about 20 mirrors to date. Given that the advertising of your announcement began only a few days ago, it is a very good amount. What I wonder is that are there people who have sent a mirror but refusing to sign it?
Sure there are. Everybody has this right. Everybody can send a mirror without adding information as to his/her identity to it. Furthermore, those who don't want to write a letter will be able to leave their messages to my answering machine until 27 November.
How did you compose the announcement?
I wrote a draft, then shortened it for six times. I wanted to refine it to a text describing all direct or indirect subjects of my life. The text aims to let everybody, whether or not knowing me, have an idea as to where did the artist in question spend his life.. While doing this, I did my best not to be sensational, to let the reader feel it. Therefore, the reason why I don't wonder the mirrors in such a manner to distinguish between them is my genuineness.
I think it is not a coincidence that the deadline you sent for receiving the mirrors is 27 November, your birthday.
That date was stated as the opening date of the exhibition in the draft announcement. There are some rules to be obeyed in order to settle the location and timing aspects of an exhibition. I noticed that in order to decide on a certain location, I had to know what would I exhibit. Knowing the quality, size, number and description of the mirrors will enable me to decide a location and date. Since I still don't know said items, I changed the exhibition opening date to the deadline of receipt. Thus the mirrors will arrive until my birthday.
Can the qualities or emotional content of the mirrors sent to you until 27 November cause you to give up on opening the exhibition?
I don't think so. But nothing is guaranteed in life. My decision to make this announcement developed as a result of an inner voice, an insight, telling me that I would be able to complete it all the way. So I set off on this journey deciding that I could handle it. Even if I keep on having my belief in this project, I know well that some of the mirrors to be sent to me might turn out to be something I will not be able to confront. If that happens, it will affect me, not the exhibition.
Interview with the artist by Derya Oyanay (ntvmsnbc.com)