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Queerification by Writing

February - May 2023

The goal of the “Queerification by Writing” workshop and talk program is to liberate and queerify objects of culture and art from racist, sexist and heteronormative narratives imposed on these objects by authoritarian institutions and individuals by commenting (writing)based on the continuous reproduction of the meanings of such cultural and artistic objects.  This workshop, utilizing the performative potential in objects and seeing queer reading as a form of activism that should become more common, targets actors who write in the field of culture and art. Patrick Steorn, who is a curator and an academician, emphasizes that objects that are not directly involved in queer visual culture can also have queer meanings waiting to be revealed. Even without changing a collection, it is possible to enlighten visitors about the meanings that a work of art can have for different groups. The Rijksmuseum's queer tours are a good example in this context.*

Considering written interpretation as an important form of resistance, this culture and art writing program aims to undermine the singular, hegemonic explanations that are wanted to be fixed in objects, sometimes with a historical excavation work, sometimes with a speculation, sometimes with a creative fiction and to pluralize the narratives. The four-month program will host eleven different guests from different disciplines and cultures, with five online talks, five online workshops and one face-to-face workshop. The face-to-face workshop, which will take place for two days in Izmir, aims to bring a permanent interpretation to the city by establishing a relationship with the collections in the city's culture and art institutions. The website of the program will present basic texts on queer theory along with new and valuable studies in the field, and will translate English-based academic production into Turkish.

* “pink tour” by Arnout van Krimpen.

Dollhouse of Petronella Oortman, circa 1686-1710, Rijksmuseum.

The programmer of the project, Ecem Arslanay, proposed to queerify the heteronormative, androcentric, rationalist and pragmatist historiography about the dollhouses mentioned in her paper she presented at the London-based SPACE International Conference on Gender in 2020 titled “More Than an Object Lesson: Considering Early Modern Dutch Dollhouses as Reflexive Playthings” by utilizing  the playful and “performative” potential of these objects.

Ecem Arslanay

Ecem Arslanay is an Istanbul-based editor, author, lecturer, architect and director. In her architectural design career, she especially focused on stage design. She taught at Istanbul Bilgi University, Faculty of Architecture between the years 2017-2019, and has been working as a lecturer at Bahçeşehir University, Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design since 2021. As a PhD candidate in architecture, she focuses on the spatial qualities of the digital museum experience. She worked as the director of photography of the feature film “Alakadar” (Interested / 2018-ongoing) directed by Fatma Belkıs and Onur Gökmen, supported by the Sharjah Art Foundation and Salt. She wrote, co-directed and co-produced the short film “The Clocks” (2021), which was a finalist in many international festivals, shown in various exhibitions and received awards. As an AICA member art writer, she has produced many texts on art, design, architecture, dance, theater and cinema for various publications, including exhibition catalogs and book chapters. She is preparing to publish an essay book of her selected writings. She works as a publications editor at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum.

This page is published on 19 January 2023.