I am not a very balanced person. I am fragile and sad – almost as described in Triste Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I feel both those adjectives, I grew up with them. I was aware of my fragility even when I was very young – a baby, learning to walk, living somewhere in Africa and already feeling that the number of white persons was very small compared to the number of black persons and also noticing that most of the black persons that I met were gardeners or maids. I felt – I am sure I am not lying – even at that very young age, not a sense of injustice, but a sort of guilt.
Guilt for what? My parents were nice people, they treated everyone well. My father was avidly learning languages, he spoke many African languages and also Pidgin English very well and he used to speak it...
ETH Zürich Graphische Sammlung
ETH Zürich Graphische Sammlung
Do migrants develop more restless, mobile identities in general? Is language particularly essential with regard to finding identity?
Susanne Witzgall: One common point in your texts in that both of you describe migration as an incomplete process, as a practice that is not completed with the arrival at the destination, but perhaps even only finds its starting point, its beginning, there. For instance, you Christian Kravagna, have written in your essay that many migrants develop a practice of travelling back and forth, almost like commuting, a process in which there is no definitive home that one can return to. And the protagonists in The Bridge of the Golden Horn often move back and forth between Turkey and Germany or commute within Istanbul between the European and the Asian sides. Do migrants develop more restless, mobile identities in general? This at least seems to pertain to yourself, Ms Özdamar. You have moved back and forth between Germany and Turkey several times.
Emine Sevgi Özdamar: In the 1970s, when I was...
How dance performance may be seen as the place of the Other, as a “space” in which “something happens”?
In Le Roy’s Sacre the audience is not an “audience” in the sense of a closed unity; not an audience as a multitudinous communal body that is positioned opposite the “body” of performers (orchestra/ballet) of a performance of Le Sacre du printemps. The other side, the opposite is inverted the moment Le Roy – back on stage with his back to the audience – turns around to face it and, imitating a conductor’s movements, treats it as an orchestra, as if he were standing face to face with the various groups of musicians to whom he was giving cues. At his moment of turning the unities of the normal performance set-up collapse, and the conventions of representation are shaken. This theatrical “as if” – Le Roy conducting the audience as a fictitious orchestra – points once again to the aesthetic negativity of this process. The gaze – the gaze back, from the stage into the...
It has become popular, these days, to introduce non-humans into the stories we tell about ourselves. Both ecological anthropologists and students of material culture have a lot to say about relations between humans and non-humans. But it turns out that they are referring to quite different non-humans.
As an anthropologist and an academic, I am incapable of doing anything with my hands except write and play my cello. Having carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Lapland, however, I used to be able to manage a herd of reindeer – though maybe not any more. Because of the nature of this fieldwork, I became steeped in the traditions of ecological anthropology – that is, in the study of the relationships between human beings and their environments, including everything that makes life possible. But I was also interested in the study of what is nowadays called material culture. At one time, ecological anthropology and the study of material culture were so closely joined as to be virtually indistinguishable. But not any more. Indeed it seems that in recent years, students of ecological anthropology and students of material culture have been talking increasingly past one another. This is very odd, given...
There is no other possibility than total commitment if one wants to achieve something with one’s art.
I understand art as a tool to encounter the world. I understand art as a tool to confront reality. And I understand art as a tool to live within the time in which I am living. I always ask myself: Does my work have the ability to generate an event? Can I encounter someone with my work? Am I – through my work – trying to touch something? Can something – through my work – be touched? Doing art politically means considering the work that I am doing today – in my milieu, in my history – as a work which aims to reach out of my milieu – beyond my history. I want – in and through my life – to address and confront universal concerns. Therefore I must work with what surrounds me, with what I know and with what affects me. I must not give in to...