Luleå Biennial 2018
“The Inside is merely the fold of the outside, as if the ship were a folding of the sea.” is not a forensic but a sensual gaze at the past. The work folds the past into the present to suggest a future, conjure its spirit, as a dream does. Synchronicity in different times demands adequacy between our means and how to display them in creating an affect by moulding its form through its content. A film is an intricate thing; it opens up something and closes off another; a secret in the open. The fold oscillates. The oscillation means there is an affect on the past too and not just in the present and the future. This affect is where the fantasy lays. This affect speaks of a desire to queer history, a merging of the bodies of the workers, the artist and the statues in carnal poetics.
The connection between the maker's body, the sculptures and the workers in the Anatolian Civilisations Museum relies on the shift between labour and sleep (laborious sleep or sleepy labour) which is made opaque through a subversion that manifests the statues as workers and the workers as the sleepers, relying on their equality in inhabitation. The museum, taken as a single morph, is subverted through sleep to expose a system of implicit codes containing binary morphemes; labour and leisure, displacement and inaction, entitlement and prohibition, responsibility and immunity. Amongst artefacts, the workers’ body becomes heightened in subjectivity yet paradoxically deemed more vulnerable. The maker, however, is hidden and returns as a voice animating the lifeless forms and as a ghost in the city shots at night. These intriguing exchange of energies seem to be stemming from concepts of entitlement and displacement.
The workers are standing there, drinking tea, spending the majority of their time in a museum, walking the floors, conversing in small talk captured in the same breath as the artefacts demanding thinking about entitlement as the artefacts appear to be employed by the state as much as the workers who are clear in their eligibility. They are comfortable there. Socialising, organising, finding their personalised ways of attending or cleaning the museum which happens during visiting hours. This as an extension also makes us question: Why is it strange to see people being comfortable in their work environment, witnessing their personalised technique of cleaning the upper part of a display or vacuum cleaning the museum in visiting hours?
Being surrounded with artefacts of past civilisations, past entitlements from Palaeolithic ages to Byzantium in chronological order of concretised historiography does something to the living body. It informs us of our mortality and answers the question of aliveness: Endurance. To borrow from Rosi Braidotti, To live intensely and be alive to the nth degree pushes us to the extreme edge of mortality. This answer has implications for the question of the limits, which are built-in to the very embodied and embedded structure of the subject. The limits are those of one’s endurance – in the double sense of lasting in time and bearing the pain of confronting ‘Life’. The ethical subject is one that can carry this confrontation, cracking up a bit but without having its physical or affective intensity destroyed by it. Ethics consists in reworking the pain into a threshold of sustainability, when, and if possible: cracking, but holding it, still.
My operational centre with "The Inside is merely the fold of the outside, as if the ship were a folding of the sea" lays precisely here at the closeness of this definition of the human subject to the qualities of the artefacts at the museum. And an erotics of a secret everyone knows, a very near aloofness like cruising in parks after midnight and daydreaming.
Baha Görkem Yalım is a visual artist. Yalım’s exploration, not only of content, but also of the use of artistic media, is in a constant flux, refusing to crystallise in a particular form. Yalım employs video, installation and performance sometimes in variations and sometimes as folds of the same. His practice at times crosses the borders of a writer, teacher and curator. He is currently living in Amsterdam.