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 first interview was conducted one year after the Gezi protests.
This first interview was conducted one year after the Gezi protests.
June 20, 2014
Kara Feely: Hellloooo?
Fulya Peker: Helllooo!
KF: Sorry about the delay… had to put my boy to bed. Lots of child shuffling today.
FP: He is growing up, no worries...
KF: Soooo… I didn't really prepare for this but probably that is best.
FP: Me too!
FP: It actually fits the case... such things happen when people are totally unprepared!
KF: Heh. Ok, so perhaps we can think first about some key questions, and then we can chip away at these layers of questions and find deeper things to talk about, and tangents are always welcome.
FP: One main question that is invading my brain nowadays is the idea of pace! In a revolutionary climate words feel way too slow... the mind cannot catch up with praxis. But then politics is all about words, word choices and how some words are implanted into the minds of masses in time.
KF: There's always the difficulty when you are in the midst of something to determine the exact moment of it "happening", or the "present". Is it happening now? How about now? So words in some ways help to locate the event, or organize it somehow in our minds, and record it for posterity.
FP: Then the second issue comes up: words are concepts, thus once a word is abused by the politicians the concept itself is also being abused... and so on... you know the issue I touched upon in the article. "NOW" is the big key word... the uprisings are not "for now" but "from now". I don't know if this makes sense but actually nothing does.
KF: I know. "From now on…." versus “at this moment"??
FP: Yes... it is not for today (although everyone wishes so... it is not possible, the change cannot happen as fast...), BUT it is for some tomorrow... from now on. I think it is this idea of "now" that triggers the pace... it feels like we are always late for "now". We are actually. Late.
KF: Yes, I think we've always just missed "now". Which perhaps how words then take the place of action, or how action gets transformed into words. So we recreate the event in words, or write the history so to speak. Always waiting for the next "now" to go by so we can acknowledge it as such.
FP: Almost. It is the mirror effect... there is the action and the reflection of the action "words"... but then we can also use words to transform the action... so there is a round trip in this journey somehow...
KF: Is there a battle over particular words that you are embroiled in at the moment? I'm just interested in which words.
FP: Words in a sense are both the tool and target. Quite tragic in a way. Ah many many words... "revolution" itself is already a word that is used as if it is a "sickness" by conservatives... all around the world. It feels like for the revolutionaries and conservatives, rightists and leftists the meaning of many words are different, they have different connotations... elitist, terrorist, flag, soldier, police, god, alcohol, love... so there are different dictionaries for the same language. Ideologies adopt the words and their use of the word in time changes the concept the word signifies. Sorry I am in an extremely conversational mode so my writing may get confusing at times, feel free to insist if you need any clarification.
KF: Conversational is good. I'm pretty scattered...
FP: Another mode that fits the case: being scattered. All we are trying to do is to try to stop that sense of being scattered... trying to create networks to gather people who think alike, etc. What was interesting during Gezi was that the scattered feeling was still there, people were not sharing the same thoughts, but the location held them together... third big question: "location", the container. now=time/ pace=duration/ location=space
KF: An action needs a location to take place. I like your equation. It makes me think of a score, and a formula.
FP: Physics is quite involved in revolutionary impulse. Basically there is a circular momentum. First comes scattering, it should get too scattered, not only one-two pieces... it should get way too scattered... and then there is a gathering of those scattered pieces, knowing that there is no way to get back to the original shape, before the scattering happens, and then there is the creative impulse through which we try to figure out what new shape these scattered pieces form. At this very moment historical failures happen. Because to form a new shape these pieces have to free themselves from their previous ideas, they have to forget the shape they serve in the past... quite impossible.
KF: I'm just wondering how anything actually ever gets accomplished in a revolutionary sense. How does all that whirlwind of activity sweep up into something which actually has force and effect? It seems almost about as probable as the universe getting created.
FP: Indeed... that is why I think revolution is not something that aims towards a target, even if it is it is not a target that we can consider today (now), maybe years later. Maybe it is all about reshuffling, so there is space to put in new stuff, like a bag of sand. I wish it were possible to eliminate instead of constantly packing in more of the same old stuff. What makes it hard is that the end of the road is not visible, and this takes away the motivation.
KF: That's interesting… to eliminate the target. So you have the sandbag- the container. And the people- the sand. And you start hurling it at people and see what it knocks over. Or how it falls. Hurling it at things I mean.
FP: The sand is the ideas of the people, yes. Tired of the same events, you go out, the police attack you, some friends are taken into jail, some are wounded, you go home and wait for the next protest... useless. What is useful at this point is the "network" that the events created, you can reach out to masses in 24 hours if you need to organize a protest. And here comes the next question: we need to do what is not expected, when it is not expected... it is quite Maoist in a way. What makes it effective is the "secrecy" "spontaneity" "unexpectedness". During the first year anniversary of Gezi all streets were blocked by the police, they did not let anyone in the Taksim square, it all was anticipated. At this point it is all about strategy, like war strategies. Nowadays, people are taken in just because they said "Gezi was good!"... crazy times. Yet it does not look like it. It feels like all is gone, yet you never know when it can burst again. There is extreme control over freedom of expression…
KF: That is frightening. So somehow you have to balance the control and your own safety with the ability to be open and completely wild with possibility and invention. That's a confusing sentence. I need to go, but this is a good step and lots to think about. It would be good to do this with some frequency. Maybe we hit upon some profound sporadic bursts of insight.
FP: Yes, I agree... I am overloaded so feel free to stop me next time. Next time I will go 3 words at a time!
conducted over internet chat June 20, 2014
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".