Web Project:
Research on Performance in Turkey 1984-1999

Moni Salim Ozgilik Sakaln Hikayesi 1989 Moni Salim Özgilik, <i>Sakalın Hikayesi</i>, Anıttepe (Ankara), 1989
Salt Araştırma, Moni Salim Özgilik Arşivi
Moni Salim Özgilik, Sakalın Hikayesi [The Story of a Beard], Anıttepe (Ankara), 1989
Salt Research, Moni Salim Özgilik Archive
Salt’s new web project “Research on Performance in Turkey 1984-1999” can now be accessed at performancearchive.org. Realized as part of Salt’s long-term research into the history of art in Turkey and launched with the support of Zorlu Holding and Zorlu Performing Arts Center’s technology and creativity platform Digilogue, the website shines a spotlight on a range of performances held in Turkey from 1984 to 1999.

The ongoing archival research has been conducted in light of interviews with participants and contributors to the performances. A selection of archival materials including photographs, video recordings, sketches, correspondences, posters, and brochures from selected events are presented together for the first time with Salt’s The 90s Onstage exhibition, chronicling individual and collective works that highlight performances. Parallel to the exhibition, the web project aims to render a comprehensive inventory of performances publicly accessible and serve as a source of reference to encourage further research on the trajectory of performance art in Turkey.

Constituting the first steps of this extensive research, The 90s Onstage and the web project are realized as part of the European museum confederation L’Internationale’s Our Many Europes program. The project will continue to be developed and deepened through new resources on performances from the period in question. The website will be regularly updated with contributions from various sources as well as seminal texts from publications focusing on Turkey’s history of performance art.

Research Scope: Performance in Turkey 1984-1999
Research on Performance in Turkey offers insight into performances held in Turkey from the foundation of Bilsak Theater Workshop in 1984 until 1999, marking the passing of the Assos Performing Arts Festival’s artistic director Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu.

The 1990s was a time when Turkey’s art scene foregrounded the concept of “interdisciplinary.” Most artists and educators who participated in such events of the decade crossed paths with Bilsak Theater Workshop in Istanbul from 1984 to 1988. Bilsak instructors Beklan Algan, Ayla Algan and Erol Keskin founded Istanbul City Theaters’ Theater Research Laboratory (TAL) in 1988.

Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu, who studied acting in the United Kingdom and worked in the fields of cinema, theater and television, founded Ya Da Theater in 1991 upon his return to Turkey. Directed by Katırcıoğlu and organized in collaboration with TAL, Truva Öyküsü [A Trojan Story] (1993) was developed as an example of “mass theater” where both professional actors and local people of Assos with no stage experience were guided through a collective working process. This project sowed the seeds of the Assos Performing Arts Festival between 1995 and 1999 under the direction of Katırcıoğlu.

In the second half of the 1990s, the festival turned every corner of Behramkale village in Çanakkale and the ancient city of Assos into a stage. Groups, dancers, musicians, and artists invited from all over the world were asked to stay in the village for three weeks, breathe the air and feel the wind of Behramkale while working on new productions. The decor, masks, and costumes were prepared together with the people of Behramkale. At the end of an intense preparatory period, the works met the audience; the entire village of Behramkale, from the pier on the shore to the temple on the hilltop, including the cemetery, old bridge, and village school, everywhere turned into a playground. The festival, held every autumn from 1995 to 1997, did not take place in 1998 because of the founding team’s restructuring. 1999 would be the festival’s last year with Katırcoğlu’s passing, staging only two plays.
Project Coordination: Gamze Cebeci, Sezin Romi
Research: Amira Akbıyıkoğlu, Mine Söyler
Editing: Ezgi Yurteri
Design and Application: Kraftend

Adnan Tönel, Ali Can Yaraş, Arcan Kıral, Arhan Kayar, Asiye Cengiz, Aydın Silier, Aydın Teker, Ayla Algan, Aysun Aslan Uğur, Bahar Vidinlioğlu, Bedri Baykam, Cana Dölay, Çağatay Karaçizmeli, Çağla Ormanlar, Deniz Altınay, Didem Dayı, Emre Koyuncuoğlu, Eser Ulun, Filiz Sızanlı, Fulya Köseoğlu, Genco Gülan, Geyvan McMillen, Görgün Taner, Gurur Ertem, Hakan Onur, Halil Altındere, İbrahim Akyürek, İlkay Türkoğlu Özgür, İnci Eviner, İnsel İnal, İzzet Öz, Kaan Karaca, Komet, Levent Öget, Mehmet Güleryüz, Mehmet Sander, Melih Kıraç, Mihran Tomasyan, Moni Salim Özgilik, Mustafa Avkıran, Mustafa Kaplan, Muzaffer Evci, Nadi Güler, Naz Erayda, Orhan Cem Çetin, Ömer Uysal, Övül Avkıran, Özgül Akıncı, Raife Polat, Saliha Yavuz, Sebla Arın Ensarioğlu, Selçuk Gürışık, Sernaz Demirel Temel, Sevi Algan, Şafak Uysal, Şebnem Selışık Aksan, Şule Ateş, Talin Büyükkürkciyan, Tan Temel, Taner Ceylan, Tunç Ali Çam, Tuğçe Tuna, Vahap Avşar, Vahit Tuna, Yeşim Özsoy, Zeynep Günsür Yüceil, Zişan Uğurlu, Ziya Azazi

Our Many Europes is a four-year program initiated in 2019 by the museum confederation L’Internationale and its partners, and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. L’Internationale gathers seven major art institutions: Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM, Ljubljana, Slovenia); Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain); MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain); Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium); Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie (Warsaw, Poland); Salt (Istanbul, Turkey), and Van Abbemuseum (VAM, Eindhoven, Netherlands), which team up with HDK-Valand Academy (Gothenburg, Sweden), and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD, Dublin, Ireland).