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With the benefit of hindsight, what role does new media play in artistic practices, activism, and as an agent for social change in the Middle East and North Africa today?

Başak Şenova
2 November 2012

 

Digitised media in the last decade has undoubtedly been propelled by the enormous speed of new technology and spontaneous platforms for rights, defined by Hakim Bey as 'Temporary Autonomous Zones' and 'network guerrillas' by Ozgur Uckan. Consequently, despite the mediated content of the mainstream media, social media sites have emerged as powerful tools and driving forces for the democratisation process in the region. On the other hand, and at an ever increasing pace, Turkey has become subject to Internet filters, various forms of censorship in the media, and irrational criminal accusations against online platforms for alternative voices.

 

In making this point, I am curious and interested in the tactical moves of artistic practices, which could constitute statements and diverse voices without being trapped by the limitations of this suppression. Instead of recording the ongoing disasters and repeating them as silent witnesses and victims, the crucial question for me is the investigation of the mechanisms behind these traps.

Başak Şenova

Başak Şenova is a curator and designer; studied Literature and Graphic Design (MFA in Graphic Design and Ph.D. in Art, Design and Architecture at Bilkent University) and attended the 7th Curatorial Training Programme of Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam. She has been writing on art, technology and media, initiating and developing projects and curating exhibitions since 1995.

 

Senova is is an editorial correspondent for ibraaz.org; Turkish correspondent of Flash Art International, and one of the founding members of NOMAD, as well as the organizer of ctrl_alt_del sound art project and Upgrade!Istanbul. She curated Zorlu Center Collection for two years (2011-2012). Senova is an advisory board member of the Istanbul Biennial (2014-present). As an assistant professor, she lectured in various universities in Istanbul such as Kadir Has University, Bilgi University, Koç University and Bilkent University. At the moment, she is lecturing at Ankara Social Sciences University and the resident fellow at the University of the Arts, Helsinki in co-operation with HIAP. Senova was the curator of the Pavilion of Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennale. She co-curated the UNCOVERED (Cyprus) and the 2nd Biennial of Contemporary Art, D-0 ARK Underground (Bosnia and Herzegovina). In 2014, she acted as the Art Gallery Chair of (ACM) SIGGRAPH 2014 (Vancouver) the curator of the Helsinki Photography Biennial 2014 and the Jerusalem Show. In 2015, she curated the Pavilion of Republic of Macedonia at the 56th Venice Biennale and in 2016, Lines of Passage (in medias res) Exhibition in Lesvos.

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