lundi 7 mars 2011

blind dates project

Curatorial premise and process
By Defne Ayas & Neery Melkonian

Under the title Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire, thirteen new collaborative artistic projects were launched at Pratt Manhattan Gallery in November 2010. The exhibition, together with a series of related public programs which began two years prior to its opening, provided a rare platform, particularly in the North American context, for both artists and non-artists, who were curatorially "match-made" to tackle what remains of the legacy and rupture of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923).

Concept & Rational:

It took a ‘blind date’ for us to meet and engage in a meaningful journey as "Armenian" and "Turkish" curators. We thought mediating similar encounters might encourage others to start undoing the complex knots that keep suspending ‘dialogue’ between estranged neighbors and distanced cultures, as they relate to a fragmented, de-territorialized cultural cartography.

The Blind Dates Project departs from the premise that the empire’s abrupt rupture and its violent reformulation into nation-states have their lingering effects on life to this day. Given the current political changes unfolding within the former Ottoman Empire territory (which once engulfed much of the Middle East and North Africa, the Black Sea and the Caucasus regions, and parts of Europe), a critical understanding of unresolved historical underpinnings become more relevant today than ever before. One could also argue that the current struggles in Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Palestine as well as the modern formation of the Armenian and Greek Diasporas are largely linked to this particular historical moment in question. Add to that a corresponding amnesia and perversion of historiography or continued denial of catastrophic events in Turkish politics today.

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