These three interviews between Fulya Peker and Kara Feely, which address the aftermath of the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey, served as the basis for the majority of the text for Object Collection's 2015 opera "cheap&easy OCTOBER".---------------
This third and final interview was conducted a week after the second, after the elections in Turkey in 2015.
This third and final interview was conducted a week after the second, after the elections in Turkey in 2015.
June 11, 2015
Fulya Peker: I am here!
Kara Feely: Me too! How did the elections go?
FP: There is a 10% threshold in elections, to get into the parliament a party need to get 10% of the general votes... and for the first time in years the more leftist party got past the 10% and got in! A big success, and surely a success of GEZI... people were collaborating against oppression... a huge political step after years. This automatically reduced the seats of the governing party in the parliament. Now is the time for a coalition. We will see which parties will get together and govern.
KF: That's fantastic to hear! So, what is the next step? Is there another set of elections or is this solved within the parliament?
FP: Well the parties need to create a coalition government. If they cannot get together and do it, there will be elections again. It is though because the parties are very opposing as of now.
KF: Are you feeling hopeful?
FP: This brought up some hope after Gezi, the election day was an echo, and this was the last chance. Not that things will change! But you know at least to see that people are not so stupid helps.
FP: Hard days will come for sure. It is like gaining some breathing time in between.
KF: I'm going to ask you some semi- stupid questions, ok?
FP: Sure I would love to answer such questions.
KF: If you were in alive during the Russian Revolution of 1917, what role do you think you would have played?
FP: Haahahahahaaaa! Poet. I mean provocateur!
KF: Do you think you'd also have another profession? Like a cobbler? Or a person working in the printing press, for example?
FP: Probably! I am sure I would be imprisoned. A laborer... but secretly distributing a provoking paper full of poems. Working underground somehow.
KF: Hmmm, sounds about right. Where, Moscow? Some village somewhere?
FP: Weird as we are chatting I saw myself walking in a street, hiding papers inside my coat. Seeing my shadow, street lamps, constantly checking if someone follows me, vapor coming out of my mouth. And my fingers are all painted or somehow dirty.
KF: Sounds like a city to me.
FP: I may be in a village but from Moscow. Going back and forth maybe. Traveling too much lately.
KF: Heh. Perhaps this is a past-life of yours that is just now coming to the surface!!!
FP: I am not sure if I would be a partisan.
KF: I think about Trotsky all the time. Maybe because I am reading his “History of the Russian Revolution”, OR MAYBE because I was his laundress or something, in a past life. I see his ironical smile. And he's taking about himself in the 3rd person.
FP: Why not! Third person is a great way to talk about the self. Brecht exercise for actors, an actor stands does actions, and says aloud the actions as he/she does them, and says them in the 3rd person. I use it in my classes... very important. I think I believe in individual struggles. Many individuals are better than a single mass, and the 3rd person is always better than second and first, because it helps create distance between the daily self and the primal self. There is an old Turkish revolutionary killed from ‘68 generation... He believed in organic revolutions. Instead of following another revolution a country should create its own ways to revolt. Very true. Because there were many factions during those times, some believed in the Russian revolution, some in China... etc. Here is his image... Artaud looking, handsome ugly revolutionary! My type.
KF: I think he looks extremely nice. And a Brecht-style workers cap too. Can you imagine an organic revolution for Turkey? What could it look like? Let's say it was 50 years from now. There's flying cars... and inter-planetary space travel…
FP: Hahahaa! Will we wait 50 years for flying cars? Google already put out cars without drivers. It will get here in 10 years.
KF: I think it's going to be 50 years before a real flying car hits the market. I just don't want to get my hopes up, you know, that it will happen while I'm still able to drive.
FP: I don't drive anyway. I want to fly as a pedestrian!
KF: Personal, non-air polluting jet packs then.
FP: I believe the effects of Gezi will be seen in 50 years in arts and literature and even in science. Those movements are not effective simultaneously. They shape the future generations somehow. The young people here have no political, historical codes that we have, either from ignorance or from freedom... but it helps. Because they act how they feel, instead of acting out a political ideology. What about moon travel? I want to go to the moon!
KF: You're there already!
FP: That would be fun to get out of this world!
KF: Do you think a real change could happen sooner?
FP: Caligula! No change will happen I think... but as I always say some sort of transformation will take place in the mindset. Well, hopefully! Like the way we use the machine will be different, but the machine will serve the same purpose by the end of the day. Hopeful hopelessness! Or vice versa.
KF: I like to think about 50 years… since it is distant and feels far away and it's hard to image what it could look like. There IS the possibility that the future could be radically different from what our daily life is like now. And involve an entirely different way of thinking about things like labor/property/individuals.
FP: Certainly. And I think I prefer to shoot for those times, not for today. Even if I die, a youngster in 2080 may hear about me and get excited... which is good enough. Who cares about the applause. Oh my, 2080!!! Such a number!!! I am hoping to open a laboratory on the Aegean coast in Turkey, in my grandmother's field, around 2020-2025. Wanna join?
KF: Yes. In the open air? A field?
FP: Well maybe 2030... depends on the money. I need to get rich first. Yeah open air, but surely there will be a structure on the field! Designed specially for the laboratory.
KF: That sounds wonderful. I am very hopeful knowing you want to do this. Maybe we can develop a prototype for the first flying car there too. Or personal jet pack, personal revolutionary jet pack.
FP: Why not! That will be the place to do it! Revolutionary jet pack sounds enticing! It is always great to have some distant future plans I think, otherwise it is easy to get lost in the near future...
KF: I feel like I have no distant future plans. That's problematic.
FP: Well you made one, your son.
KF: True. He kind of keeps me in the moment, since his momentary needs are so engulfing.
FP: I am sure... do you think he will chose art, or revolution? Or will he hate art? Oh well, what am I saying... he is too young.
KF: He's into music, but who knows. I think he's going to do great things. When I think of the future, it feels like a return to the past somehow. Like moving backwards rather than forwards. I talk about flying cars, but I just see communes in the future with naked babies running around and outdoor rehearsals. And macrame planters.
FP: That is the ideal! A commune is the ideal. I would prefer the latter, and a jet pack.
KF: I wonder if everyone's utopia is the era in which they were born… for me, the 70's. Or at least that era has made a visual imprint on their consciousness… their sense of beauty and design, and atmosphere.
FP: Not sure... well, mine is the 1920’s. I realized in Turkey that I live a much younger life compared to my friends from High School. They are like old people! Weird. I feel like those tiring 11 years in New York kept me at the age of my departure.
KF: Interesting. I think that's true for a lot of people involved in the arts. I feel like I still dress like I'm in college. Not like an adult with a child.
FP: Exactly. And in New York it is even more visible. I guess I miss New York somehow. Maybe I am still in the atmosphere of my previous life... hahha.
KF: The atmosphere of your previous life as an agitator in pre-revolutionary Russia, RIGHT?
KF: Sorry I am so stupid today, but Travis told me yesterday that he thinks the piece needs to have some humor in it. Trotsky is funny, but not really… actually. So we are providing the comic relief today.
FP: I am all for it! The sense of humor was the highlight in Gezi. It is still alive in Turkey, the jokes are all around!!!
KF: Can you tell me some of them? I like jokes!
FP: They are kind of hard to translate but let me try.
KF: Ooooh, I'm excited.
FP: When police were attacking they were writing "enough is enough, I am calling the police!" on the walls.
KF: That's pretty funny. Terrible too.
FP: “At first everything was a gas cloud then life began!”
FP: “You banned alcohol, people sobered up!” from the first days of protests.
KF: Oh I love these. Were they graffiti or slogans?
FP: Graffitti and slogans. People were shouting "common shoot it!" to the police... "oh dude, this gas is awesome!" "Where are you my love here I am my love", a song from LGBT, a crowd yells out to another crowd during the protests while running. And the youngsters used all the pop stuff to create jokes about Gezi. "Are you aware of the danger, no Candy Crash requests for days?" "We are all pokemons!" "Winter is coming Erdogan!"
KF: “Is there any intelligent life on earth? Yes, but I’m only visiting.” “The flower generation has a tin ear. Folk you.” “Choose your weapons—flowers or guns but remember flowers don’t shoot and guns make shitty flower pots.” “There’s no problem so big or complicated that it can’t be run away from.”
KF: Graffiti from May '68. But this joke is for you: “The only post-modernist I ever met was a modernist who worked in a post office.”
FP: oh no!!!!
KF: Can you guess who said that?
KF: Heiner Müller. Heh
KF: Funny socialists!
FP: It is very important I think. We called it "disproportionate intelligence" Mocking, sarcasm is a way to fight!
KF: Sometimes it hurts more when it's funny.
FP: Indeed. The absurdity becomes visible.
KF: Alright my dear. I should go. I think I have enough material now… need to move away from the collection phase to the writing phase. No more gleaning. Time for scheming.
If you think of any more Gezi jokes, please pass ‘em on!
FP: I will! Hi to boys! And excited to read the text!
Theater artist Fulya Peker’s dialogue with arts and aesthetics began with painting classes. Soon images transformed into words, and her interest in poetry led her to theater.
She completed her BA in Theater at H.U. Ankara State Conservatory, and her MA in Theater, Literature, History and Criticism at Brooklyn College/CUNY. She interned at the 13th Street Repertory Theater as an assistant to the literary manager, at the Wooster Group and the Ontological-Hysteric Theater as a production assistant.
In New York, she performed in works by the leading figures of experimental theater and music such as Richard Foreman, John Zorn, and Robert Ashley. She also worked with butoh dance master Katsura Kan and photographer/director David Michalek. While presenting her own work as a writer and director, she also collaborated with fine arts, literature, and philosophy organizations on projects concerning ritualistic and avant-garde theater. Her poems, translations, and articles on experimental theater were published both in Turkey and the USA.
Peker, as the founder of Modern Mythologies Project and the founder/artistic director of the theater group Katharsis Performance Project, continues to present performances; develop and teach new approaches and interdisciplinary projects on acting, writing, directing internationally.She has performed with Object Collection on several pieces including "cheap&easy OCTOBER", "NO HOTEL", "Innova", and was the solo voice in their staged adaptation of Robert Ashley's "Automatic Writing".