Ben Askerim (I, Soldier)

2006 | 00:07:14 | Turkey | Turkish | Color | Stereo

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Crime or Violence, Eastern European, Middle East, Music, Performance, Politics, Youth/Childhood

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"I, Soldier is the first part of a video series in which I am dealing with the state-controlled ceremonies for the national days of the Turkish Republic. The nationalistic attributes attached to these large-scale ceremonies are underlined in a non-descriptive and almost voyeuristic point of view. I, Soldier was shot at the National Day for Youth and Sports; the day that marks the start of the independence war of the Turkish public under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, against the Allied Forces back in 1919. The annual ceremony held at the biggest stadium of each city consists of figurative dances by high school students, choreographed in a timeless socialist-realist manner. In the last decade, popular songs replaced the usual military marches, which accompanied the choreography. In this video a nationalist hip-hop song is played during the gymnastic demonstrations of the military school students backed by a stern poem from a high-ranking soldier about the virtues of “The Soldier”."

--Köken Ergun

"Köken Ergun makes a very direct but discrete visualisation of an event, an artistic commentary to the specific political context of Turkey which becomes a universal commentary on ultra-nationalism. His visual strategy enables a new reading of the surviving imagery of 20th Century state rituals."

--Videomedeja 2007 website

 Read Ian White's essay Koken Ergun: Personal works of public ceremonies. pdf

This title is also available on Radical Closure.

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Kunsthalle Winterthur, October 9-November 20 2011

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