Sunday, 20 July 2014

Heroes or eco-Terrorists?**

Dear potential readers,

      the last few days the kids and me, are preparing a small magazine about ecology. For this reason, I suggested we watch a documentary talking about the first environmental movement in USA, the Earth Liberation Front. The movie is called “If a tree falls: a story of the earth liberation front”, directed by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman. For this reason, and since this week is dedicated to environmental issues, I would like to talk a little bit more about the movement of Earth Liberation Front, since there are few contradictions in its actions that made me think about it twice.  
        Most of us, including myself, are having USA in our minds connected with mass pop culture, with the industrialization and the commercialization of almost everything, with capitalism, with  the deification of ownership and profit and at last with geostrategic power plans under the surveillance of NATO and its armament supernumerary. Though, we forget that USA has been the land of the first organized movements in the latest history, concerning animals, women, workers, race, sexuality, gender identity and the environment and many of the rights that we enjoy nowadays are derived directly from those courageous movements.
        The Earth Liberation Front is one of them and it is a radical environmental movement that developed from the ideological factionalization of the British “Earth First!” movement of the 1990s. The first ELF was founded in Brighton in the United Kingdom in 1992  and spread to the rest of Europe and USA by 1994. Its ideological underpinnings are based in deep ecology, anti-authoritarian anarchism highlighting a critique of capitalism, a commitment to non-violence, a collective defense of the Earth, and a warranted feeling of persecution by State forces. “Deep Ecology” teaches that all living entities, human and non-human, have equal worth and value and an inherent right to live and prosper. Its’ roots to anarchy can be found in the way they chose to organize themselves. There was no formal leadership, hierarchy, membership or official spokesperson and it entirely decentralized. Instead it was consisting of individuals who worked in affinity groups, known as cells, and were usually self-funded.
         ELF was for the ones who participated, an eco-defence group dedicated to taking the profit motive out of environmental destruction by causing economic sabotage and guerilla warfare to businesses which are exploiting and degrading the environment. Such businesses were the ones who are involved in logging, genetic engineering, GMO crops, deforestation, sport utility vehicles, urban sprawl, energy production and distribution. The ELF was classified as the top "domestic terror" threat in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March 2001 and its members were categorized as "eco-terrorists".
          Their first attack occurred in October 14, in Oregon, during the Columbus Day, when the United States citizens are reminded of their colonial roots. In one night, individuals carried out three simultaneous attacks targeting a Chevron Station, a public relations office and a McDonald’s restaurant. All three targets had their locks glued and their property painted with political messages including a three letter calling card, E.L.F. From that time on many other sabotages followed such as the one in Oregon, where the Oregon Ranger Station was burned down and the Ski Resort in Vail, Colorado, that cost 12$ million. Their eco-sabotages continued from 1996 to 2009 with the total of 300 attacks. Though, the target has always been the property and this is the reason why not even a single human was injured or died throughout their operations.
        It is easy to see a contradiction in the theory and practice of this movement, but it is also easy to see contradictions in the way businesses act under the protection of US governments.  Is it possible to support non violence, when you burn down numerous properties of businesses? And on the other hand, is it possible for an industry to make profit out of the exploitation of our environment and animals, without taking the right precautions in order to restore the damages? Why is it terrorism to burn down an industry that harms our environment and degrades our living standard, while it is not a terrorist action when the industry is causing environmental downgrading? But this article is not an objective angle over the situation, since there is no objective angle in journalism in general, even if many people tend to believe so. Every writer is a subject and according to his or her ideological beliefs offers a quite subjective angle over specific topics and situations.
        Violence-both in order to defend oneself or to attack- has been a very important weapon in peoples’ hands. It is not only used in order to bring injustice, through dictatorships and wars, but it is also used in order for the people to fight injustice or even in order to restore justice through collective and violent protests and actions against their oppressors. We should have always in mind that if it wasn’t for the storming of Bastille the French Revolution wouldn’t have set off, or if it wasn’t for the deliberation revolutions, our countries wouldn’t have their independence nowadays, or if it wasn’t for the persistent anti-bias of Gezi Park protests, the dream of a non authoritarian Turkey wouldn’t still be alive and if it wasn’t for the violent protests of the workers in Chicago in 1886, today workers wouldn’t have gained the right to strike.
        In almost every country of the world, the state power--the government--is the greatest source of organized violence. States have armies, whose main purpose is to use violence against other state armies. States also have police forces, whose purpose is to use violence to control the domestic population, under the justification of protecting our National Security. Moreover, there is that bias of the political choices, that lead people today to unemployment, that legalize social exclusion and injustice, that lead people to forced migration while on the same time there are strict migrating legislations, and that political choices that create a large gap between the rich and the poor ones.
       The state is producing a violence that is pointing us and we are experiencing its results in our everyday lives. Instead of accepting our position as victims we have the right to defend ourselves and fight back- sometimes by using peaceful ways and sometimes when our patience is over even with violence. We are not the terrorists, we are just the products of a world based on terror.

The question stays- are they heroes or terrorists? 
You are the ones who hold the answer.

sources: "The Earth Liberation Front: A Social Movement Analysis" by MICHAEL LOADENTHAL

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Saving music**

Dear readers,

       just before I come to stay here in Izmir, I spent my last two months in Thessaloniki accompanying a road musician in her effort to make some extra money. In Greece of crisis, in Greece of 60% of youth unemployment, I shared with her the feelings of disappointment, beggary, creativity and ecstatic joy of road music. I shared all those feelings that she drew from this very first experience on the roads of music, only to arrive in Izmir and find out that here, road musicians are under persecution by the police. Sure enough, music has never stopped being used as a means of resistance to power; from the French Revolution in 1789 to May '68, from the October Revolution in 1917 to the “Which side are you on?” of the resisted minors in Harlan County; from the antifascist “Bella Ciao” of World War II to the songs of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal of 1974.

                                              Protestors of Gezi Park singing Bella Ciao

In order to understand why music is being repressed nowadays in all of its public facets, we only need to see that road musicians and road music have the power to upset deeply rooted values in the way we perceive not only art but also public space. Thus, road music produces a political weapon capable enough to express collective and anti-regime values.

                                              Light in Babylon-street band in Istanbul

So, what road musicians do is that they extract music from the narrow bounderies of the private, of the indoors, whith the informal rules of dressing and conduct and the paid ticket and locate it back in the public space, completely free for everyone. The concept of property is being undermined, begining with the employer-employee relation, while art is being reinstated in public space, not as a space-based concept, but rather as a sociocentric notion. And somewhat in this way, the musician leaves the safe and designated powerful position of private space and exposes herself irregularly to the passengers' judgement, creating, from this impotent place, the preconditions for a more democratic disposition of music. And since public space belongs to everyone and, at the same time, to noone, the audience is invited to discover, in its everyday life, sounds that converse with the historical and social environment of the city, challenging us to rethink the nature of public art, as a potential political action. A political action that resists to the unfreedom of expression, to repression, to  privatization of public spaces. It invites us to picture our city afraish, as a fluid, direct and hybrid space of the joined expression of the human (music) narrations, within the reality of contemporary cities and to link this procedure with the art of music.

At the same time, road music represents a voice of resistance against the degeneration of art. Since there is a lack of a serious cultural policy, which would be human and social-oriented, providing funds and resources for such purposes, market conditions have been imposed on art as well, creating representations of a commercialized art, whose worth is exchangeable. As long as the national musical ensembles beg from the state, in order to survive; as long as bank and corporate sponsorships have become the major agents of music production; as long as the music that is being promoted is the mass music which sells, art remains an elitist, private, commercial and apolitical process, that leaves the needs of the public uncovered, while serving the brinkmanship of the music industry corporations. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Light Painting**

        Dear readers,

      today at Atolye Deneme Sanat Dernegi we experienced the so called "Light Painting"!
It is quite exciting to realise how a photographic camera is working day by day and how many amazing things we can do by just using the light! During Light Painting by using long exposure we can control the amount of time that our shutter stays open. While the shutter is open the camera is "recording" all the light information with which we are feeding it. In the end, the motion will be captured as a photograph.

      It was a very easy and fun project to do with the children, first of all because they had the chance to practise on long exposure technic and secondly because it was actually quite fun! Since, it is too warm outside and we can't really go out and start shooting photos, we stayed at home and started the project.

  Firstly, we had to create our own dark room!!! We used almost everything, from the existing black curtains of the house, to old newspapers and cartons to prevent the light coming through the windows. After a quarter we had created our dark room, where the project would take place. 

And voila!!! We started! You can enjoy the outcome!

If you ever want to try this, you just need to follow few easy steps!
Don't think about it twice, try it and enjoy it!


1. a dark room
2. flash lights, lasers, phones
3. a camera with capacity for slow shutter speed and 
4. a stabilizer for your camera-tripod or even a table to rest the camera on


 1. Set your camera into manual mode
 2. Change your shutter speed to B for Bulb or just choose a low shutter speed.
 3. Set your ISO to 100.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Our first photoreportage *

      My lovely readers,

      this time I am writing to you not in order to show you something of mine, but in order just to present the work of the four children with whom I will share my entire summer and a few cold months. Last week, Aysenur, Buse, Elif, Pelin and I decided to have a small workshop on Photoreportaj, which is a little bit more expressive and not so informative. I asked from the children to find a photo they like and then write few of their thoughts about it above it. 
      Sometimes, it is hard for us to express our feelings, even though it is about something that we see or experience everyday. Maybe because we don't find it important to express, or even because we never thought that we could do so. The goal of this photographic exercise is not only to reach a very good aesthetic outcome, but also to come in contact with yourself and the feelings that a photo or a situation is causing to you. 
      This is our small first photoreportage effort, but more of it will follow!


                                     KÜÇÜK İSYANLARIMIZ  from Buse Altun

    Kaçmak isteriz bazen herkesten, her şeyden. Belki de yok olmak isteriz. Bir hücremizin bile buraya ait olmasını istemeyiz. Savrulmak isteriz dört bir yana, rüzgar misali. Gözlerimiz kaçmak ister, gitmek uzaklaşmak buralardan. Burnumuz kulaklarımız, saçlarımız. Çaresiz dudaklarımız. Bedenen yok olmak istiyoruz. Çünkü ruhen yokuz aslında.
   Kestirip atarız her şeyi, düşünmeden kafa yormadan. ‘’Hayat zor’’ deriz. Bu iki kelimeyi hemen birleştiririz. Hayat gerçekten bu kadar zor mudur? Ya da bunları söylemek mi çok kolay? Beklide cevap bulamadığımız için böyle kestirip atıyoruzdur.
Küçük bedenlerimizin isyanlarıdır aslında bu. Yıllarca acı çekmiş, çürümüş ve düşünemeyen canavarlar olmuşuzdur. Bizler artık düşünemeyen varlıklarız. Ya da düşünmeye çabalamayan varlıklar…

                                     DUVARDAKI YÜZ from Elif Güngör

     İnsanı yaşatan umutlarıysa öldürebilecek olan korkularıdır.

  Aniden gelen bir ses,bir anda giden elektrikle çöken karanlık ya da bir sevimli bir böcek senin korkun olabilir.Ama korkular insanlardan parçalar alıp götürür.Hayallerin önüne geçen bir engeldir bazen.Uçağa binmek bir hayal olarak kalır.

  Ben en çok ailemden birinin beni terk etmesinden,karanlık bir odada ışık bulamamaktan ve sonra çaresiz kalmaktan,yüzememekten korkarım.
yüzmek benim için özgür olmak,ışık bulmak benim için bir umut ve terk edilmek yalnız kalmak demek.Yaşımla birlikte korkularım da büyüdü.Önce balonumun kaçmasından korktum,biraz büyüdüm yakalayamamaktan korktum sonra patlamasından korktum.
biraz daha büyüdüm... Ya bir daha hiç balonum olmazsa?
Bu fotofraftaki duvar...
Bir kaç yıl önce babam bizi terk etti.Şimdi başka bir ailesi var.dökülen o parça babamdı,başka bir duvara yapıştı.Korkuları insanların hayatlarında yaralar bırakır.bazen derin bi döküntu bazen bir çatlak ama mutlaka bir iz olur.
Dışarıdan görünen gülen bir surat olsa da kopan her parça korkuların götürdüğü hayaller gibi...Eksik.
...bu duvar bana benziyor.korkularını gizlemeye çalışan eksik ve biraz kırılmış ama aynı zamanda ayakta durmaya çalışıyor.

Duvar aslında en çok hayalsiz kalmaktan korkuyor.

                                                            ISTASYON from Pelin Topçu

     Biz insanlar öyle garip varlıklarız ki, öyle garip bir düzenin içine oturtmuşuz ki hayatımızı. Küçükken, bir an önce büyümenin hayalini kurarız, büyüdüğümüzde hep küçük kalmanın. Annesinin kucağında yaptığı bir yolculuk sırasında içinden geçtiği şehre seneler sonra hayalleri için geleceğini nereden bilebilir insan, bir tren istasyonunda karşılaştığı adama tertemiz bir şaşkınlıkla bakarken, bir gün aynı adama eskiden olduğu yerden bakmayı nasıl isteyeceğini de, aynaya baktığında o istasyondaki çocuğun gözlerindeki masumiyeti tekrar görebilmek için keşke diyeceğini de.
      İnsan olmak zor iş , attığın her adımda büyüdüğünü düşünürken, parça parça eksildiğini , hiç zamanın kalmadığında fark etmek, zor iş.
      Nasıl da kirlettik aslında istasyondaki çocuğu. Ne vardı sanki öğrettik ona savaşı ? Suçluyuz, bizi affetmeyecek. Biz affettik mi sanki bizden öncekileri? Hep suçu başkalarında aramadık mı, yahu kim getirdi bu dünyaya kötülüğü?

    SİMGE from Aysenür Kolukısa

      Biri gözlerini kapatmış kara kara düşünüyordu. Diğeri ise hep bir tarafı eksik olarak hayatın zorluklarıyla uğraşıyordu. Hayat zaten zordu..  Tek patisinin olmaması işleri daha da zorlaştırıyor çıkmazlara sokuyordu.  Dışarıda bir sürü saldırgan hayvan vardı . Onlara nasıl karşı koyabilirdi.  
   Hayvanlar insanları , insanlar hayvanları simgeliyor…
İnsanlarda böyledir birileri bir tarafta hep düşünür ya mutlu olur ya mutsuz ya da hayatlarına hep eksik devam ederler. Ama öyleleri vardır ki her şeye rağmen dimdik yaşarlar , hayatın zorluklarıyla savaşırlar ..

    Sonuç olarak hayat korkuttuğu, ittiği ve hatta damgaladığı zaman değil kara kara düşündürdüğü zaman yıkıcıdır.