In the beginning was the word:
– Almanya’ya means “to Germany”. (Background: Germany was the first and best/ (only) known European country name, when the first guest workers from Turkey went to Germany to work in the the late 1960ies) Thus it should be no surprize where the name for immigrant in Turkish derives from. “Almanci” means guest worker/immigrant who went to Europe to work in the 60ies to the 80ies. As people going to Europe to work or study from Turkey today will never be named “almanci” as that was a time specific phenomenon. As the endings cı, ci, cu, cü, çı, çi, çu, çü are endings for words indicating professions. The ending ‘-ci’ in the word “almanci” changes the word “alman” (meaning= German) to a person specifically working in Germany or in Europe. The profession thus becomes the country these Turks have taken work in. To elaborate on this: for instance the professions simit-ci (a person who sells simit, the Turkish bagelly bread), fırın-cı (a baker), çöp-cü (refuse collector/garbage man), süt-çü (milk man) et.c.
My tiny self-invented word/terminology is “Almanya’ya”(to Germany) / “Alman yaya” (German pedestrian).. And although I am not sure how to present or where to even put the apostrophes or the splitting of the word/words my aim is to re-make the word “almanci” in a dynamic and self emancipatory way. And I am not sure what the word fully means yet.. Coming from the inside of the “almanci” community: namely from me!! Instead of being named as an ‘almanci’ by people who stayed in Turkey, therefore it is not a word the migrant uses to name himself.
This word was accidentially ‘coined’ while writing another of my countless pieces on migration. And I suddenly saw the word “Almanya’ya” screeming that it was walking. It was endlessly walking and running away from the paper. Its unstoppable. “Almanya’ya” indicates a dynamism, a decision albeit due to societal/economical/(political) reasoning the “Almanci” word is mostly used derogatively by Turks from Turkey no matter any social class. Almanya’ya (could be explained as embodying a strong skill to decide for one’s own life and future. It can liberate the negative connotation of the stereotypized villager from Anatolia who was never schooled or learned any manners). As if the ‘almanyaya’ has a direction, even going to Germany by foot. I might be all wrong and the word definitely needs more help and elaboration to be able to walk steadily and to be proud on its own, naming himself! The migrant names herself as “gurbetci” meaning a person who has taken work somewhere far away from his place of origin. For a person who has money such an initiative would lead to moving. as moving is then the right word, but being a “gurbetci” normally starts alone. Its usually the man who goes away to work and then he sends money back to his family. (he usually ends up with a Danish/German wife..and forgets his wife. meantime he actively makes half Turkish babies..) Im not sure if this word really is anything special, but to me it definitely speaks of something yet unveiled. It has a spark.
A photo-series from Ridley Road Market (after hours)
Photo by Sebnem Ugural.
This multimedia, multi-background exhibition peaks at identities when they are taken out of their contour and re-framed, destroyed, or exposed. Each a
‘Submission’ Exhibited at Invisible Line Gallery 2012, Dalston:
Islam means submission. Women are living in a submissive position to men despite religion everywhere around the world.
In this work my aim is to play with the traditional, the religious and the sexual.
The rosaries which counts and names the 99 names of Allah in a 33 bead abrivation are surprisingly being used in an unexpected shameful bathing setting inviting the viewer into the ‘mahrem’ and intimate sphere of Muslim women. The woman is a part of a submissive religion, she is part of traditional forms and behaviours regulating her as well as being a sexual being. According to some feminist readings women have learned from men to find sadomasochist sex as the sexuality that also turns them on. The woman here is criticizing that submissive position. Playing with a typical Middleeastern/Islamic everyday male object which consists of the ‘evil eye’/nazar that should protect us from other people’s eyes and thereby envy, the artist shows us a provocative act that is considered ayip (shameful genderwise) on so many levels.
1)she is naked
2)she takes the rosaries with her into the bath/bathroom
3)she plays on her sexuality in a sadomasochist way with the rosaries
All of the above three levels are all things that she should refrain from and not do according to the ayip-norms (gendered shame-norms) as they bring shame to her and her family as well as staining her family’s honour.
Performative photo with photoshop editing/layering, 2009
on this link you can watch a 4 minute long short film from the 10 day Shirin Neshat filmmaking Workshop I did in 2013:
“Flames/Alev” (short film on identity and Alevism) :
From minutes 21.03 – minutes 25.56.