What do you really aim with this event? I mean, what is your main purpose beside the fact that it is an unusual event of art?
As you know, artists don't really like the word 'purpose'...That attitude sounds good to me too, but "I Want My Mirrors" has definitely no pre-determined purpose I keep as a secret, I don't want to disclose to you! It is a project where what is important is not its purpose, but its very itself...It is an event of art for which I cannot have a net or determined expectation as to what will it bring, where will it lead to, what it will turn into. As to what it is, from my point of view I can describe it as a 'confrontation with my reflections on all subjects of my life'. It seems from the incoming 'mirrors' that it might also turn into a confrontation with a number of new objects which have not taken place in my life so far in the shapes I had described in my announcement.
Well, what is more important for you, the fact that this project is an unusual event of art, I mean a debut in a sense, or the fact that you will confront with yourself through all the people who got to know you in one way or another?
It is true that it is a debut. In this planet Earth many artists made activities letting them confront their this or that period, generally their troubled periods. But they always interpreted it themselves, presented it as their own journey, however ruthless style or method they chose...I chose to confront the whole of my life spanning 38 years, and hit the road with the decision that it must bypass me in order to be genuine. I asked all subjects who got to know me one way or another, without discrimination, to send my reflections/mirrors on them, for the purpose of exhibiting the reflections in question at that, promising I shall neither interfere with them, nor sort them, nor create a hierarchy among them, insisting that I shall exhibit them at the first come-first exhibited principle...
And this situation leads to a paradox. Everybody who has sent my reflections/mirrors on them knows or will get to know very well that what they sent are objects of art to be seen, read and reviewed by thousands of visitors... Therefore, everybody will have sent my reflection on them to as much me as the others...And I can see the anxiety caused by this situation even now.
No, even if you have asked it to me once again, I have no purpose. I'll just witness whatever they send, whatever the things they send will form. I agree every possible thing in advance. And I do my best to stand strong against those things. And what I precisely want is this 'happening'.
Do not hang up on the word 'purpose'. I neither think nor try to find out whether you want to get a benefit out of this event; I just wander why did you attempt to stage this event, how did the idea of it spring to your mind?
This is a more answerable question for me. I reached a point in my life where I could say "I won't grieve if I die today!". Why, how, the answer is my secret! And I am also far from the freedom of being able to prefer to die, which I always thought is one of the greatest liberties of mankind. Because mine was a walk of life where Death was a companion... Now I am at a point in my life where I am just distracted...Where I try to regain the joy of life. In spite of that, I've noticed that I am standing on the edge of an event where I fully expose my private life to attacks. Maybe I have to own all my mirrors in order to be able to shatter all of them. In fact, this was the opinion of a friend: 'You want to walk on the shreds of the mirrors you shattered in the future!' Maybe... I really don't know. What I know very well is that I never had the courage to do so one, two or five years ago, as there was no Hakan Akçura who would consider to do so meaningful either...
My life flowed over two big cities, two primary schools, one junior high school, one high school, two universities (most of which saw me to act as a classroom spokesman, head of a cultural branch, or student representative), two prisons, three police departments for political offenses, tens of prison blocks, cells and detention houses, forty houses, tens of workplaces. Also over ten thousand people, and, most importantly, my announcement originally targeted to reach about 40,000 people; I would have liked to reach all of them if I could, if I had the strength to do so.
On the other hand, I am living in a country where there are too many people like me, who lived the last 4 decades as long and tiring as I did. It is me who can call his mirrors, at the same time I know and see there are others who can call their mirrors. However, this situation is not the 'mission' of this event!
Let's say I lived too long, I was tired too much, so I pondered and called!?..
I already guessed before hearing your answer that it would contain a mystic statement. What I mean with the word 'mystic' is not its literary connotation, but another thing similar to it. Sufism (Islamic mysticism) has a process entitled 'turning into dust', referring to one becoming open to everything, completing everything, covering everything...In a sense this event probably has such a meaning...What will you do when your mirrors came in, will they be released only in the Internet after the deadline you set has elapsed? Do you work on it? And, though it is still early to ask, what reactions you got? Is there anything you forgot or you would describe as confrontation in the mirrors sent to date? I mean are there things which perform their own confrontations by using your confrontation as a tool?
All mirrors sent to me will be exhibited at a gallery or exhibition center. This is an event of art to be exhibited primarily and with priority...The first deleted text of my announcement contained a sentence stating that I would open the exhibition on my birth day. Then I forwent, because I didn't know how much mirrors would be sent, in what shapes, in what sizes. Therefore, where and when my mirrors are going to be exhibited will be determined by their very own quality and quantity. What is definite is that they will be exhibited in Istanbul, not be released to the Internet. The pages will be framed and hung on the walls; three-dimensional objects will be put on bases if necessary; audio records will be played on headphones so that visitors will be able to listen to them, and to see flowing images on a number of monitors. Furthermore, if necessary the entire exhibition will be compiled in a book accompanied with a multimedia CD.
Now I'd like to answer the second part of your question...
17 mirrors were sent within 2 days. About 40 people called me to discuss the project and to make their decision. Hundreds of e-mail were sent to support the project. The possibility that some of the objects of my mirrors might or would present their own existence as my mirrors was something I expected...And I expected some of them to ruthlessly attack to me... to give carpeting to me! But I've learned and seem to continue to learn something I never knew so far: information about how much I am included in the journeys of some other lives. This is thought-provoking and impressive for me!
This announced was sent to thousands of e-mail addresses by now. But it should be published in newspapers and magazines by all means. I am looking for ways to do so in the present. But it is very difficult, given that it involves advertising and that I can't afford it!
Shall we have the chance to see your mirrors before they are exhibited?
Nobody will have that chance, and I think nobody should have it! Maybe frame makers, maybe printing house workers will have that chance. But aren't they the tight-lipped people who always get to know public secrets first in this world?!
How many people are actually involved in the project?
I am alone except for some friends who try to find promotion and advertising means for me, and some others whom I always ask to give me ideas, every time I set off on a journey!
You had said that some people criticize you with trying to be a media-friendly person. Let me ask it too: Did you attempt to realize this project just for ensuring Ayşe Arman to interview you?
I am ready to be interviewed by everybody. In fact, Ayşe gets better and better day after day as an interviewer, when she stops talking about herself. I would demand live interview if only Reha Muhtar is interested in me. Because such an opportunity of information should not be missed in our age of disinformation...(an field having nothing to do with my project, but having too many things to do with this country and the horrible media companies here). And what I won't answer is already clear and present: nobody can question or display my life underlying the tens of words comprising my announcement...
Will this process not affect your other activities? In fact, how do you manage to find time for all these things? Or did you manage to expel sleep from your life, like Boris Vian once did?
In my opinion time is a notion which can be bend, twisted, pulled and extended depending on one's life style, some thing that can be experienced in several layers. And the answer to your question is 'I don't know!' Somehow it happens. I think I'll open two exhibitions at home and 5 others abroad this winter. After a long pause I returned to my studio, and I am painting those pictures. One and only advantage brought to me by the 'I want my mirrors' project is that it is an exhibition for which I shall not work at all... And I am not sure whether I can count as wasting time the joy, honor, sadness, rage, disappointment, bewilderment and fury I shall feel by reading, seeing and touching every mirror of mine.
Then there is another factor: everybody tends to escape from their past, but you preferred to question it, confront it, and to realize such confrontation together with the people whose lives intersected with yours one way or another, with the whole society (at least those who will notice this event). Does that attitude stems from your trust in what you experienced, or from your courage?
I think I'm not the person who should answer this question. The things you would be able to say about yourself should have a certain limit. Shouldn't it!
I think you are the last person to talk about a limit. Furthermore, in my opinion you should answer this question.
No, I shouldn't. This country became home of the people who don't refrain from praising themselves, from politicians to artists, because those who should review those people, report the truths about those people in a competent way are insufficient and lazy, or don't exist at all in some cases.
Interview with the artist by Emine Nergis Uçak of Ihlas News Agency