Ulufer Çelik: Who Owns Modernity?: Toward a Radical Mythocracy


Advisor/tutor: Hypatia Vourloumis
Arnhem, June 2018


In 2016, I began a research project with a short film and series of photographs addressing the aspect of ownership of the archaeological artefacts surrounding the ancient landscapes in Turkey. It is through this research that I became interested in the political potential of myths or narratives. In this research, I will take off from my own artistic practice which occurred as an extension of my research process ended up in Peabody Museum of Archaeology of Harvard University in Boston in order to be able to extend the connections of empowering methodologies and critical studies. How can the historical also be a source for deactivation of the ruins that prevent us from new imaginative narratives? And what artistic strategies can be used in a practice to achieve new forces, and uses for activating the history? How does the activation process of the ruins transform our reality through fiction that has unlimited potentials for seeing?

The aim of this research is to find potential strategies of myth in an artistic practice that tries to diversify and complicate narration that we have learnt from colonial politics and modernity. This thesis researches how a deeply-rooted connection to history can help us in becoming aware of our political present and lead us to structure concept-less and uncategorizable potentialities. And ultimately to realize how our condition and understanding in the present, when carefully crafted and poethically fragmented, can reconfigure ‘the myth’, deactivate ‘the ancient’ and activate ‘the potential’ from the present, without any need for timelines and repetitions forced by history in connection to its historical materiality, in order to show how History, with a capital H is constructed.