2018–2020 Hasan Özgür Top (Turkey)

Özgür’s practice revolves around political commentary on the Turkish and Middle-East reality, from Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests to Baghdad bomb attacks, by way of Guantanamo Prison scandals. Özgür employs a sort of visual poetry in order to approach such tumultuous events: violence and horror are unexpectedly associated with multinational brand marketing in pieces such as Nissan Jihad, Bottle, and Rubber. The poetic encounter retains a sour undertone. However, this strategy risks unbalancing towards an excessive banalisation of violence. For example, in Color Catalogue we find a colour called ‘Baghdad Green’, which ‘includes the shades of green picked up from the live footage of the Baghdad Bombing with night vision cameras and the colour of the city’s high-security zone named Green Zone indicated on the maps.’ On the other hand, Özgür has been part of the ‘After the Archive?’ project, ‘an independent and itinerant initiative that questions the role and function of archives in public memory’, which strives to protect archives that are under threat. It has carried out a number of workshops and talks, which demonstrates Özgür’s ability to seriously engage with discursive practices, such as are central at the DAI.