In the context of Turgut Erçetin’s DAAD residency in Berlin, an open discussion with statements by Pavlos Antoniadis, Turgut Erçetin, Antye Greie and Turgay Ulu, moderated by Andrew Noble, took place on the 09.06.2016 at ExRotaprint in Berlin.
Statements on Political activism and New Music:
video and text by Pavlos Antoniadis
Pavlos has been active in recent years in response to the refugee crisis (Watch the Med Alarmphone), as well as in antifascist & anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece, while remaining vigilant of the technological transformations of globalised capitalism. He hopes to contribute by stressing the tension between the observed degrees of political engagement or alienation in the professionalised new music scene and the urgency of an “anti-politics of dignity” (John Holloway). He is particularly sensitive to issues of appropriation of the refugee crisis by the art world and of residual racism in European music institutions.
text by Turgut Erçetin
As being one of the most significant outputs of the current social media environments, so-called selfies have displayed important roles in documenting some of the recent social movements that are intentionally disregarded by the mainstream media in the countries such as Turkey and the US. With their focus centered on selfhood, however, this trendy self-portrait photography has yielded a new imagery narrative, of which the spatial entities are conceived to saturate the self-oriented aspect of the composition. Accordingly, social struggle spaces such as streets or street barricades, started to have substantial imports for the digital-self as long as they are able to pass through this self-oriented filter. Selfies as such continue to shift our notion of social spaces and the political struggles pertaining to them, as the spatial reproduction and documentation stemming from political actions become commodity forms that are distributed through digital technologies. Most of the recent works coming from the contemporary music scene, which claim to engage with political issues, seem to follow a similar pattern with the selfies of this kind. While they are integral for documenting the neglected political agencies, such works constitute a “buffer zone” between the politicized social spaces and the audience, for they highlight a counteracting self-narrative that re-constructs the given political output as their content.
text and projects by Antye Greie
I cannot make a clear distinction between my work and activism, work follows different rules than activism but my life and actions are informed by social political reality. Activism takes place close to one’s own identity and realities, as a musician or artist the source of the activism is often filtered through art, but sometimes activism also requires to forget your own identity and just act along everybody else and identity matters but should take second order. As an artist I enjoy to work alone and find the core of my personal expression which can be an egocentric practice. As an activist I collaborate with others such as the international network: female:pressure and others, the more powerful your collaborators or the network is, the more the activism succeeds.
text by Turgay Ulu
Turgay Ulu, 42, is a journalist, writer and comunist. He spent 15 years in prison in Turkey due to his political work, during which time he was also tortured. After his release in 2011 he flied to Germany via Greece. In autumn 2012, Turgay was one of the organisers of the Refugee March from Würzburg to Berlin and he also lived in the protest camp on Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg. Since then he has been engaged in refugee protests in Berlin.
text by Andrew Noble
I come to this discussion as someone who has somehow given up on the idea that “New Music” as it exists structurally today (in Germany, Europe, or the US at least) can constructively contribute towards any kind of society that I would hope to be a part of. That said, I also believe very strongly in our collective capacities to redefine structures and in the agencies that might become available to us when we open ourselves up to the idea that the skills, abilities, and creative approaches – or ‘tools’ – at our disposal might be reconsidered in terms of how and why we exercise them.