Platform for discussion004
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?
New media has played a role in artistic practices, activism and social change for a long time, and we are increasingly seeing artists using and manipulating images from mainstream media and circulating them online to elucidate political causes.
Following on from this, I would like to introduce some important examples of the use of new media in artistic practices in Turkey. My first example is the 'Surplus of Agenda' group (comprised of Gözde İlkin, Gülçin Aksoy and Yasemin Nur), which produces virtual stickers. Once a week, the group sends virtual stickers by email, with the title 'Agenda Excess'. The stickers are vehicles for the group's thoughts on actual, national or international politics and can be used by anyone who wants one. Meanwhile, the anonymous artist 'Anti-pop' runs an anti-populist website that sends messages composed of manipulated images from the mainstream media. He queries themes such as discrimination against the Alevi religious society and the general, rising tide of conservative politics in Turkey. Lastly, Hakan Akçura, who is based in Stockholm, runs a website that organises petition drives against censorship and conscientious objection in Turkey. These are just a few examples of new media activism in Turkey's contemporary art scene.
What is a platform?
A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.
Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.