THE MEMORIES OF A COUNTRY

 

Multichannel Video Installation  /2015

      This Video Installation displays personal vs. collective history, crisscrossing between the two. This project is about the history of a country through the memories of a person. Her name is Mieke A. Swaving. She is a Dutch citizen and seventy-four years old and lives in The Hague, the Netherlands. But she has lived in Istanbul for 15 years until 1979. Then, she moved to The Hague and started working at the Turkish Embassy in The Hague as the Ambassador’s secretary.

      Part I of the Video Installation has five digital frames. Ms. Swaving chose five photos of her mother to depict her life. They clearly show her background. She got married in Istanbul, has been working during all her married life, shouldered all the family responsibilities after she divorced her husband. Her life and that of her mother developed in a very different way. Formerly it was forbidden to work for women after they married. The family of her mother was in a good financial situation as her grandfather (her mother’s father) was a well-known architect. She and her sisters and brother had a good education. The same holds good for Ms. Swaving, who grew up in a family with five children. In my video works I choose to have the eyes of Ms. Swaving change places with the eyes of her mother.

the memories_part2

     Part II of the Video Installation has two screens. While on two screens you see Ms. Swaving, on one of the screens, she is preparing traditional Turkish food and on the other, she is telling her memories about the country with documents proving them.

     The Video begins with one of the memories, the translation of the book (Turks Fruit by Jan Wolkers) in1972. A publishing company made her an offer. They had a Dutch book and wanted her to translate it from Dutch to Turkısh. The book was a novel very famous in Holland. She translated that book and it was published. But after some time she received a letter saying she had to come to court. It was the time of leftist and rightist events. in the 1970’s. The Turkish Government had emptied a bookshop because they were selling communist books. They had taken all the books in the shop and among them was her book. She went to the court. After, she was waiting a court decision…

     I think the personal experiences are more important than information for understanding the character of a country. Therefore, in this work, I tried to understand my country with the aid of her memories.

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