Reality of Migration: Broken Promises, Stolen Dreams

Loneliness or Isolation

The terms migration, nomadism, refugee, asylum, subordinate, becoming a ghost and being ignored are important and constant figures of the migration story in personal history details when referring to the target artist/immigrant. Each individual has a unique story, but the connection between those stories roots in the fact that they are exposed to the same domination of power.

Contemporary art has entered into a more dialectical connection in its relations with power, and is confronted with different disciplines. These power dominations and provocative games result in a new aesthetic discipline of art. “Artistic activity, forms, styles and functions are not unchangable subjects, but they evolve according to eras and social contents” (Baurriaud, 1998, p. 5). Through this statement, Nicholas Bourriaud supports the space occupied by immigration and nomadism in contemporary art in his book Relational Aesthetics. Both concepts have become an inevitable everyday action in today’s rapid and intense communication system. We encounter an infinite number of migration movements, and we forget that we are nomads, because we are no longer used to it.

The likelihood of a relational art (rather than an autonomous and special symbolic space in the theoretical sense) is the testament of the erosion of the aesthetic, cultural and political aims posed by modern art. As an example of art touching human, Adam’s Expulsion from Heaven can be referred as the beginning of the story. ‘The Expulsion of Adam from Heaven’ is encoded into the memory of society as the expulsion of all mankind and as the start of captivity. Adam’s forced migration marks the first geographical migration. Thus, the story of humanity is shaped in accordance to Ian Chambers’ words: Identity is shaped in motion (Chambers, 2014, p. 45).

A part of the paintings which Michelangelo completed in four years at the Sistine Chapel is Expulsion from Paradise. Of course, many artists created paintings on this subject. The expulsion of Adam expresses the first set off, the story reflects the beginning, the exile and the displacement. The expulsion of Adam and Eve symbolizes the expulsion of humanity, the beginning of the story of humanity. The inevitable desire of coming back home has become a desire for humanity. Expulsion from Paradise, engraved into the bloodline of humanity, represents the exile itself. Religions have always dreamt of reaching a paradise, in the form of an ultimate reward of humanity. It is seen as a result, a happy ending, and a concept that hosts all dreams. The world however is a space designed to achieve this ending, a dystopia. It will either be like this, or like that. The journey of mankind is thought to be a long one, and it is filled with many obstacles that will stir people to deviate from their path.

In the historical story of migration, the oriental understanding of the West, through reading and the study of subalternity, was added. It is said that Adam is a subordinate, has been exiled and continues his journey with the dream of his home (heaven). Paradise-home represents a utopia engraved in the memory of humanity. Armed with people’s dreams, it is a place-house that shelters everything. It symbolizes the last stop of the ultimate journey, the hardest peak to reach. Thus, the coding of Paradise-house through the most of everything multiplies dreams for all time.

Immediately thereafter, Odysseus, the hero of Homer, tried to return to his homeland for 20 years. Although because he provoked the god Poseidon, he was not allowed, and his struggle created a story. 2600 years before today, Herodotus noted in his writings that “it is said that those who have gone to other places from their own city are accompanied by an unseen devil”. This has led to the judgement that the reason for the psychological strangeness in this person is the result of the accompaniment of the devil (Açık, 2009, p. 20). In the 1920s, the German psychiatrist Grepellin called the psychological traumas experienced by immigrants as rupture syndrome Indeed, hundreds of people have returned to Turkey within a few months after the Bulgarian immigration in 1989. Upon returning, those people encountered a very different Bulgaria. Both the ones who came to Turkey and the ones who went back experienced an immense trauma.

In the first chapter, ‘The Expulsion of Adam from Heaven’ is encoded into the memory of society as the expulsion of all mankind and captivity begins there. Judaism’s search for a land and a country is the continuation of that religious story. All the efforts to protect the lands consecrated by Christianity and Islam and the wars for them... All these continue until the beginning of Post-Colonialism. Adam’s forced migration is the first geographical migration. Or in many Marxist ideologies, Prometheus was excommunicated from his divinity for bringing light to humans, and was forced to emigrate as a result of his self-sacrifice. Thus, the story of humanity is as Ian Chambers notes: Identity is shaped in motion. The feeling of homelessness caused by forced migration is emphasized by the inability to fit in, feeling like a stranger, and the distortion of the door symbol. Tiredness, despair and alienation caused by change are doubled with the door always being open and broken. When compulsory, post-migration crisis becomes much more insurmountable and feels even more severe.

There have been countless immigrants in history. For example, nomads, barbarians, vagrants and proletarians. To me, immigrant is not a class or identity: it is a vector (a state in motion). Anyone can get out or get into in the case of regional, political, legal or economic change. It can be seen as the main reason for this movement and can be formulated as follows: Nomad is a political figure who is socially expelled or displaced because it is on the move. It is the umbrella term for the nomadic, regional, political, legal and economic displacement as a result of the social developments of power. Nomads are the real pioneers of historical and political change. This does not mean that they are insensitive to regions, countries or other forms of unanimous deportation. In fact, their movement is the state of social power (slavery, serfdom, paid work, etc.). Actually, calling their movements anti-state or reformist would be underestimating. Because reformist or revolutionary movements are random but not material. The act of burning passports may or may not be revolutionary; it is necessary to analyze the total effects (Rosales, 2015, p. 20).

The matter of migration reveals the concepts of limitlessness, globalization, orientalism, colonization, ghettoization, as well as nation-state in an objective sense. After the demolition of the Berlin Wall, which is referred to by postmodernism, the term limitlessness became visible with the European Union. Its countries removed their borders and thus provided freedom of movement and trade. In the European Union, this state of relief lead to migration. The relationship between globalization and postmodernism is based on international communication. Furthermore, the ease of the cyber environment has increased the speed of cultural migration and led to abundant consumption. When orientalism is taken into account in the sense used by Edward Said, it points to the fact that the narrative of the other (oriental) in postmodernism is still ongoing. On the one hand, colonization continues as the most ruthless and exploitative action of the present period. Ghettoization, on the other hand, is the creation of alternative living spaces within the city, and is generally caused by migration. As a result of internal and external migration, immigrants exposed to cultural differences are pushed to seek comfortable and cheap places. Squatting and ghettoization are considered as undesirable, disturbing and to be removed. The concept of nation-state represents situations in which the national features of states become hyper-reality. The irritating state of the immigrants, the further polarization of the distinction between we and you, as well as the inevitable increase of radical nationalism, add new meanings to the nation-state identities. Subjectively, individuals who face problems of identity, belongingness and ghosting, are under the danger of invisibility.

Migration has now become an inevitable dynamic in the New World context. The world is anymore divided in First World and Third World countries. Despite globalization, division with invisible doors (hinges) reaches polarization. As Edward Said states, migration is an intermittent state of existance (Said, 2014,p. 22). The immigrants undergo an intermittent change in their journey in which they never return. It also leaves traces on the frequent destinations. As a result, immigration and nomadism are perceived to be dangerous.

(In)Securitization of Migration

This is a period in which human mobility, which seemed to be normal for ages, is associated with security issues. Before, migration had never been coded that way.

Previously, it was claimed that social problems would be secured and then normalized through the method of normalization. The process of securitization touches all cells of daily life: Visa and passport systems, fingerprint controls, biometric technology development as well as security technologies. Thus, states have taken many paranoid measures. “Migration has created and nurtures a wide range of security sectors, from electronic security systems to national and multinational border security teams, from passport officials to readmission center officials. Anti-immigration discourse is widespread across the world, before the public, beyond all other political discourses, and is often produced by politicians who witness it. The immigration of migrants as a welfare hunter as a whole, a disease carrier, a threat to the social order, a potential offender, and the marginalization combined with the uncertainty caused by international terrorism, make them seem as the primary threat in various levels of society” (Rumelia, 2017, p. 70). The fear of migrants has become a global epidemic and has led to measures similar to those in a dystopic fiction. Immigrant - the other, is perceived as an imposing entity, a virus haunting the public.

Those who are referred to as “immigrants” throughout Europe are in fact, blackened people from post-colonial origin and lower-class foreigners, and others with upper-class status are “expats” that all countries want to attract and abstain from expelling. How is that not seen? (Çakan, 2016, p. 100).

This identified migration-security relationship has gradually been established in European societies since the mid-1980s and has reached its peak with the refugee mobilization triggered by the Syrian Civil War. As a result of ongoing societal and social complex relations, experts question numerous issues, which proves that there is a fear underlying social consciousness.

Before the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1991, migrations were perceived and coded differently. Their place in public perception was much more positive. Especially in the 1950s, when Germany provided state support for labor migration. Almost everyone knows a German Turk in his or her social enviroment. The term refers to a person torn between, who is neither Turkish nor German, a person who travels between two countries but is not completely comfortable in neither of them. These people seem to be used to live in Germany among a German-speaking family, while constantly trying not to break their connection with Turkey. They set up houses in their home villages in Turkey, where they return together by car from time to time, with a desire to be remembered as a neighbor, relative or a simple acquaintance, they are briefly called German Turks.

The same chronic problems can be observed in Bulgarian immigrants who migrated to Turkey. In 1968, 1972, 1979, 1989 and thereafter, citizens of Turkish origin were settled in Turkey after diverse state agreements. Some have retained their citizenship in Bulgaria, while others have renounced this right. Whenever they have the opportunity, they travel to Bulgaria for vacation, to build houses in their hometown, and to come together with their distant relatives and old friends. In Bulgaria, they are still called Turks by other citizens of Turkish origin who did not migrate. In short, they are considered to be completely turkified by the people of Turkish origin who stayed in Bulgaria. The usage of the words German Turk and Turk thus emerge as the representation of migration. They take on a new representation of non-representational structures that are accepted by society.

In this sense, in the theory of securitization, the phenomenon of immigration and immigrants is implemented as follows: “For example, the fact that a political leader states that immigrants threaten social peace is not perceived only as a matter of fact. According to the theory of securitization, this expression moves the presence of immigrants from the non-politicized to the politicized and then to the securitized field. Security statements use the rhetoric that a reference object (state, social groups, individuals, etc.) is under an existential threat, giving priority to the problem” (Rumelili, 2017, p. 73). Thus, the arrestment of immigrants with the help of the police, their forced detention in camps, as well as their resettlement are legitimated. Securitization became real as soon as it was described as a problem. Naming an action by word means that it gives birth to a baptized word in which it is coded. It becomes the precursor of action and thus leads to action. According to Rumelili, the basis of the concept of securitization is the speech act theory. As stated by Austin, language is performative, that is, “to say something is to do that thing”. That is why the performed proposition is one that establishes what it knows, does what it says it does, and finishes it. For this reason, in Austin's theory, language is not a right or wrong description, but rather a reality which is created with the expression itself (Rumelili, 2017, p. 73). The use of the word immigrant together with the words disease and terrorist alters its meaning structure. The word changes at different frequencies. The neurotic structure of the modern era lies in the nomadization of the meanings of words. In modern times, language goes through incoherency and becomes pathological.

However, every act of securitization does not result in securitization. According to Buzan, Weaver and Wilde, this phenomenon depends on the ability of the actors to influence and the success of their actions. For this to happen, the act of acceptance must be perceived as a security problem by the audience and extraordinary measures must be legitimized in the public eye (Buzan, 1998, p. 25). For instance, the construction of the phenomenon of migration as a social threat addresses society as a reference object. Society distinguishes itself from other societies and forms the concept of self, and identity is built, as a direct result. The concept of social insecurity emerges with the perception of threat to the survival of the society. In other words, the issues that are thought to threaten the we identity of the society and the process of reproduction of this identity fall within the scope of securitization. The immigrant is a reminder of the perception that homogeneity of the society is destroyed. [1] The perception of the immigrant is a potential threat to this homogeneity and the feeling of being we (Rumelili, 2017, p. 77). That image was reversed in modern times, in which the term nation-state was thought to have been deconstructed. The gap between we and they is deepening day by day. New terms stick to the expression of immigrants, thus they become more and more isolated. It assumed a political meaning and was marginalized in the political-social structure. Within the society, it has become a killjoy and a ghostlyfigure. The terms unwanted, other, excluded and isolated were also added to its definition.

The prerequisite of existance without being marginalized within the social structure lies in being a part of the machine. The problem of existence for the immigrants has become an issue that can be resolved within the society, not by themselves. To be able to become a part of the machine, they have to overcome many identity issues and find a place. In fact, the immigrants think being ready for this exchange, but a complete change will never take place. The solution lies in the society, not in themselves, and everyone is aware of that.

Utopia/Distopian Reality of Migration
When creating a border, building, settlement, or a city, as in the ecological structure of the wild nature, the most intense activities take place at the borders where there is a resistance.[2] The segregation of zones creates an internal security environment. The real-world impulse of the planner, who encounters the phenomenon of social hostility in the city, is to firmly separate the conflicting or incompatible sides from each other and to draw inner walls, not transparent borders. For example, highways use the concept of self-separation within the city. Likewise, functional separation has become a technique of reinforcing boundaries; like a trade center away from the residential district, a school in its campus, a factory hidden in an industrial park, or a store inside a mall. These techniques, which first began to create a peaceful, orderly suburb with the garden city planning movement, are now increasingly being used in the city center to avoid the possible danger of conflicts between classes and races, and to create a safe city with inner walls.

After 2010, intensive construction and excavation have been effected in Istanbul. Alternative cities were built, which lead to the division of Istanbul into nested cubes. These alternative living cities include shopping malls, hospitals, banks, cinemas, schools and parks. Thus, it is ensured that people can move around the city. As an alternative to the cities’ intensive structure, sheltered and panopticon structures were arranged. The bourgeois structure, which is disturbed by the uncanny proliferation of shantytowns of immigrant cities, in fact causes the formation of ghettos and hypergettos. Alternative cities are built with mostly invisible walls, and are surrounded by certain borders, multiplying cultural difference. Surveillance machines imply that one eye is constantly watching. These are the walls of differenciation today. The immigrants also seek to isolate themselves, and to find a place where they will live with others who find themselves in the same situation. Slums, Turkish neighborhoods in Germany, and Chinese neighborhoods in America are some places where the immigrants feel comfortable.

The walling concept that legitimizes the nation-state structure is not solely exemplified by the Berlin Wall. The three most striking cases are China’s Great Wall to stop Turkish invasions, the barrier created by the concern of the implications of America's poor Global South on the American economy and culture, as well as the end product of Israel’s growing colonialism and occupation architecture. The proponents call the Israeli-Palestinian Wall a firewall or a peace wall, while it is known as a wall of shame or an apartheid wall by the opponents. This wall, as in many places, passes through the university in the region, divides the fields, separates families’ houses on two sides, interupts social life by dividing the access roads into two. The wall is where the technology and the boundary of power become solid.

Naturally, walls are built out of the need to be protected from outside influences. However, house or castle walls were later transformed into prison walls as a result of their functions. The construction of the new understanding of the city is based on these wall systems. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of resistance, having been the boundary between Communism and Capitalism. It was a building where people died, trying to cross a single wall. It was beyond dreams, dystopias and utopias. An entire system collapsed after its fall. In fact, the wall is not a system, but it carries a meaning beyond its symbolic connotation. It is a name engraved in time in a historical block. It had to be demolished, or the boundary in the minds would not have been crossed. The ruins, filled with graffiti, remain as a place of historical words. It’s not just a wall, but a symbol of the intricate events that people had to go through. The collapse of the Berlin Wall gave a wide opportunity to the haunting structure of capitalism. As a result of nature’s characteristic which does not allow spaces, capitalism penetrated into the smallest cells, ultimately causing homelessness.

These identifications are similar to Abramovic and Ulay’s “The Lovers: The Great Wall Walk”.[3] They, too, with the dream of coming together at the end of their monthslong journeys had certain stops and left traces. In Said’s words, with the intermittent existence, many things have been experienced at the end of this journeys and both of the people have changed. The journeys, which were long and exhausting, nevertheless focused on the moment of coming together.

Soil and Blood
Today, the term culture is rebuilt in the context of travel; its existance is confirmed as it is born and growing, living and dying as a body. Historicality, it expanded with the titles of displacement, being a resident[4], mixing, interaction, name change, as well as identity formation.

One of the largest migration movements since the Second World War is represented by the Syrian migration. As a result of it, migration policies and security measures in Europe have started to be revised. Although an “army of refugees” lost their lives on the way to Europe, victims fought against human smugglers, vital dangers of refugees were addressed, in the end, it is mainly the security of the host countries that comes to the fore. “The view refugees are a problem that threatens the security of the nation-states receiving immigration is a common one, especially in the post-Cold War globalizing era. This viewpoint, which puts the security of nation-states at the center, focuses on factors such as increasing the security of borders, deportation of refugees, and restricting fundamental rights and freedoms” (İçduyu, 2017, p. 6). The perception of migration from the Post-Fordist era has now entirely changed.

Recently, the Syrian migration wave has put Turkey in the status of a transit country. While big numbers of people are trying to reach Europe, countries are revising their international migration policies. In sum, immigration and asylum have become a social problem, a matter of security, and even one of crime, social justice, and harmony.

Recent policies implemented in Europe in order to restrict forced migration have created a profitable international business for human trafficking. Particularly after 9/11, the use of the terrorism expression spread extensively; migration has also become a problem that needs to be limited and controlled. It has been evaluated within the scope of the “security” perspective, ignoring the human dimension, and migration policies have been developed as a part of protection of border security (Şimşek, 2017, p. 16). The matching of the migration concept with security became formal after 9/11. Migration, after a security violation, led to the search for new safety measures. The immigrant has now become a figure who has taken the journey at the expense of his own life. Although the common problem these people face is discriminatory policies, their desire to move away from socially or politically insecure environments, racism and discriminatory policies, nation-states continue to perceive the immigrant as someone who occupies and defeats these concepts.

Despite the attention given by artists to the threatening label imposed on immigrants, the migration-security relationship is stil complex. Generally, the countries receiving immigrants view the migration-security relationship as a threat that needs to be handled.

Immigration/ /Emigration of Meaning
In the debate on the real meaning of terms, the distinction between descriptors and anti-descriptors needs to be mentioned. According to the first, the link is the product of the meaning of a name - that is, each name contains a group of descriptive features and refers to objects that exhibit these characteristics in the real world. However, according to the second, the name refers to the object through what they call “primary baptism”; even if all the descriptive properties of the object at the time of their baptism have disappeared, the name continues to refer to that object (Zizek, 1989, p. 11). Immigration, however, does not prevent it from continuing its bond with the land and blood. No matter how far away the object moves, it maintains its connection with the earth. Zizek emphasizes a deficiency in this concept. According to Foucault; “while we are trying to turn our dates, languages ​​and memories from a destination into a departure point, we rewrite our critical thinking, memory tables that have always been rebuilt from the debris and broken pieces left by storms called ‘progress’ (Foucault, 1991, p. xvii). Immigration is never a travel, as the latter symbolizes a route with certain catharsis points. Migration, however, doubles the severity of displacement due to the unknown end. At every point the immigrants reside in history, culture and art, they continue, change or decide to end their way. Those who are not from here and from there are expected to feel at home. In this case, people are heterotopic[5] figures that always draw attention to the question of the time and their existence. The local encounters his own foreignness and starts the migration movement with this confrontation. When the knowledge, truth and existence of the classical individual are questioned, the rationalist episteme and the Western cogito weaken. Driven by the currents of critical thought, the Western cogito concludes that his thought is not made of indestructible palaces. The Syrians who have been coming to Turkey because of security challenges have settled and have had possessions during the past 5-7 years. They maintain their emotional ties with Syria, but going back is no longer a matter of discussion.

In 1989, Bulgarian immigrants came to Turkey with no intentions of going back. There was already a cognate agreement between both countries. However, immigrants of 1989, who came as tourists, retained the right to reclaim their properties since they were not deprived of Bulgarian citizenship (For immigrants of 1968, 1972, 1978, this was hardly the case. They had the right to reclaim their citizenship with laws enacted later). In the same practice, Bulgarian immigrants continue to visit the place where they were born (longing for their homelands). Particularly, Bulgaria, which has entered the European Union, seems to be able to make it easier for these migrants to work, study and travel with the advantages of free movement and visa liberalization. Post-modern immigrants seem to act on the practices of relational concept of space. Through the Internet, social media and telephones, the bloodline does not break with physical spaces. They always continue to communicate with the rest of the people who stayed there. Syrian refugees settling in Turkey and visiting Syria in the feasts find themselves in the same situation.

Eternal Immigration Agreement

Obviously, all the new terms that emerged with migration are testing modernism. However, identity is the most prominent one. Modernism was also based on the precondition of having an identity when dealing with the question of identity. Nevertheless, the tension that emerged when a static and defined, thus given and distinct identity, intertwined with the concept of dynamic change, also prepared the emergence of a new identity crisis. Thus, identity-related ‘problems’ already existed in the nature of modernism and were almost indispensable for ensuring the internal continuity of modernism (Kahraman, 2005, p. 306). Fantasy is basically a scenario filling out the empty space of a fundamental impossibility, a screen masking a void (Zizek, 1989, p. 143). The concept of social fantasy is therefore a necessary equivalent of the concept of antagonism: Fantasy is precisely the form of masking of antagonistic split. In other words, fantasy is a means by which ideology does not take its failure into account in advance. In Laclau and Mouffe’s theses there is no such thing as Society, the social is always an inconsistent field built around a constitutive impossibility covered by a central anatagonism, which implies that all identification processes that give us a fixed social-symbolic identity are ultimately doomed to fail. For fascism, the Jew is the means of taking into account his own impossibility and representation: it is the embodiment of the ultimate impossibility of the totalitarian project - its inner boundary - with its positive presence. That is why it is not enough to call the totalitarian project a utopian project that wants to establish a completely transparent and homogeneous society - the problem is that the totalitarian ideology already knows that in advance in some way.


Picture 1. Gyula Pauer, Budapest Jewish Monument, Danube Coast, Hungary, 2005.

“Jewish Monument” built in Budapest during World War II is a monument for the memory of the Jews who were shot on the shores of the Danube at the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945, in the freezing cold. The sculpture shoes were taken from the cast of the real shoes and designed by Can Togay and sculptured by Gyula Pauer. There has been a different political criticism about these shoes, taking a political stance after the incident of throwing shoes at US President George W. Bush on December 14, 2008. Although the shoes thrown at Bush do not represent an art performance, a businessman's suggestion of ten million dollars for a single Turkish-made shoe number 42 (as Fevziye Eyigör states) would be the symbol of the future of Bush's political legacy, proposing an example of postmodernism (Pelikoğlu, 2009). Thus, it implicitly reports that a new narrative is needed.

“Iraqi El-Zaydi, who threw his shoe to express the people’s feelings, misery and rebellion after the American occupation, could be considered to be in search of a Van Goghesque, hopeless, utopian compensation. The enthusiastic adoption of the shoe-throwing act, which is considered an insult in Arab culture, and the fact that hundreds of sufferers choke their shoes, taking one of their shoes or putting them on the end of a stick as an anti-war demonstration, are indicative of a fragmented collective self-consciousness. The shoes first became a symbol showing the rebellion of the Iraqis. The placement of the shoes which were esteemed the price of twenty million dollars in a museum was the case later, however, they were blessed as a dead object, and turned into a fetish object, missed by a sudden maneuver by George Bush's ability” (Pelikoğlu, 2009).

The Danube Shoes are realistic and modernist compared to the Van Gogh shoes. An object becomes a fetish at the moment when the conventional execution ends. The reality of the place is doubled by the fact that the shoes are copies of the original. In both of them, it is aimed at the memory of the moment. However, Zaydi’s action not only turned into a performance, it was also perceived as such. The Danube shoes, nevertheless, set off on the reality of the event by strongly rejecting the possibility of forgetting the moment. At this point (as underlined by Pelikoğlu)… “the shoes, which are the objects of ordinary and daily life, are similar to the shoes which were collected not to be worn again in the Auschwitz museum on the door of which you can read Working is Freedom” (Pelikoğlu, 2009).

When it came to the relocation of the Syrian immigrants after Arab Spring and Syrian Civil War, European states made an agreement with Turkey paying 3 million Euro for the Syrian immigrants to remain in Turkey. Syrian migrants symbolized their opposition against fantasy. Jewish, gypsy, gay, black, Arab or Syrian; were all symptoms of a society. They were beyond fantasy and indicative of the creaking situation of the social entity. However, the society can see its truth in its own extremes.

It can be observed that the anti-social fantasy has been re-embodied in every period: The redefinition of the intruder as Syrian, the perverse person to be avoided as the Communist of the Soviet Russia, the virus as the homosexual. Zizek, Said, Negri, Orwell or Arendth draw attention to this danger.

This is a short but completely accurate prediction of the point reached today. As Said and Zizek have determined, the urge to kill is based on the impression that it is made for a new life, projecting from the political arena to the virtual floating surfaces. On December 17, 2010, 26-year-old Tunisian Muhammad Buazizi burned himself in a marketplace, and in response to this, people took to the streets in Tunisia on 18 December. This was the first spark of the opposition movement that was later called the Arab Spring. [6]

The beginning of the Arab Spring described in this way on a website was calculated by the observations in the books of Sanders and Said as a production of the West and USA, and a mass which should be included in the economic circulation (credit card user population…). The subfloor for the breakdown of the rejime of 30-year-old dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and 42-year-old dictator Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and the subfloor for a more egalitarian and democratical regime were thus created. In fact, the reasons for the rapid destruction of 30-40 years old dictatorships within a few months should have been questioned. Another perspective calls this the Digital Revolution. The demonstrations that started against Bashar al-Assad in Syria initiated a great civil war. Terrorist groups, such as ISIS, were revived, and a great Syrian refugee migration has begun, with discomfort experienced by the public. Although the people who tried to go to Europe as a kind of migration of tribes encountered obstacles such as inhuman interventions in countries like Hungary, Greece, Italy, the migration continued at a great speed. At the point reached, for over 3.5 million refugees who came thanks to the doors opened by Turkey, the 28 European Union states decided to provide 3 billion Euro to Turkey from their state budgets, trying to stop the flow of refugees. [7]

Said explains the current dynamic: “Two comprehensive trends can be distinguished: post-colonialism and post-modernism. The prefix post in these does not mean going beyond, rather, it points to continuities and discontinuities, as Ella Shohat put forward in her article on the post-colonialism. But what is emphasized is not “the beyond” but the new colonial practices of the old times in a new form. First of all, a much stronger Eurocentric tendency applies to post-modernism; in addition, there is dominance of the theoretical, aesthetic emphasis that emphasizes the lightness of the local and possible, as well as the lightness of the almost ornamental recipe, pastiche, and above all consumerism” (Said, 1978, pp. 364-365). However, post-modernism focuses on a big liberation. According to Kahraman, nomadism is a great battle against the concept of “settlement” which is one of the most basic concepts of modernism (Hero, 2005, p. 306).

From Data to Dadda
The most striking sequence of events following the fall of the Berlin Wall was the forced migration of Bulgarian Turks, Turkish cognates residing in Bulgaria, which was quite traumatic and difficult. With the work “Borders and Dreams”; the feeling of homelessness caused by forced migration is emphasized by the symbol of the door, being unable to fit into the sky, feeling alien, not belonging, and depression. One of the most current socio-political problems of the 21st century is inexorably migration. Nomadism has become the everyday dynamic of life. We are surrounded by nomadic individuals who live the way they do unintentionally as well as those who are uncomfortable about their situation. In the installation “Borders and Dreams”, the first obstacle faced by the immigrant is emphasized. The gate is the first step while crossing borders. Border gate, passport gate, politician's gate have been places to visit several times. The traveller-immigrant who goes to get a passport realizes that the door is always closed. He often goes, but he encounters few people who open the door. The footsteps in the sound record come and go and ring the door, then insistently ring and ring, but there is no one to open the door.



Picture 2. Semra Sonya Doğan

Borders and Dreams, installation, door and sound recording, 150x120cm, 2016, Cernmodern, Ankara

As a result of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the great traumatic and depressing structures started to resolve, and the period of deciding to emigrate with one’s own decision began. The Berlin Wall was built overnight to prevent transitions from East Germany to West Germany. It was the living concrete symbol of the Cold War, with mines laid, 186 watchtowers, fences, dogs, steel doors and extensive lighting. Its destruction which lasted from 1990 to 1992 allowed the migration of Polish, Hungarian, German, Czechoslovakian and Yugoslavian citizens. The collapse of the wall is of symbolic importance. As postmodernism faced the post-Duchamp crisis, the collapse of the Berlin Wall caused a syndrome, a crisis. However, this crisis is not negative, but a positive reaction, a relief.



Picture 3. Semra Sonya Doğan

Migration Series: Immovable, installation, 150kg rock and suitcase pieces, 90x45x50cm, 2018

Although the globalist understanding shows the opposite of the facts, it implies that the term nation-state fell into disuse; as a result of the thoughts of journalists and the structures such as the European Union which is the basis of them, a period in which nation-states are emphasized even more is initiated. The ones who used to be in peace are no longer. The immigrant doubles this unrest. However, the reason for not coming back is to avoid unrest. There is still no peace at the point reached. The road starts again and the intermittent state continues. Belonging, ownership is always sought but cannot be found. At each passing point, a trace is left and a part of it is carried along with it, another load is added and the hunchback is enlarged. The invisible hunchback continuously gets heavier and the immigrants try to run faster. However, the boundaries become stronger and harder as they move. The installation “Immigration Series: Immovables” refers to the weight felt by the immigrant. It is emphasized that the items that are designed for travelling thanks to the carrying handles of the suitcases cannot be transported and that the immigrants cannot bear this weight anymore. They are almost transformed into a cyber entity that move in a computer game with increasing difficulty levels. This immigration situation, which makes every movement more difficult, becomes a weight that cannot be carried.


Picture 4. Semra Sonya Doğan

Video Ergo sum/ Vidi Ergo sum – I see therefore I am / I am visible therefore I am, Surveillance Camera Photo Shoot, 2016

Today is the period in which the use of surveillance systems has increased and developed with technology. Technology has led to major changes in the ways in which the surveillance community has fun and sight. The presence of a camera lens can be felt everywhere nowadays. It is a known fact that human existence, behavior and thoughts are recorded. Although these records record the truth, the existence of the truth depends on how the control and installation of the camera’s eye is done. While Descartes says “I think therefore I am/corgito ergo sum”, in postmodern interpretations this saying is changed to “I see therefore I am/video ergo sum” and “I am visible therefore I am/vidi ergo sum”. Human existence is now based on recorded evidence and voyeurism systems that are allowed. In the new media, television reality shows are based on the surveillance systems (Someone’s Watching Us, Survivor, etc.). There are cameras almost everywhere, which leads to constant monitoring. When there are elements of social crime, it is investigated whether there is a camera around and evidence is sought. All entertainment, criminal events and socio-economic dynamics are based on these surveillance systems. While the immigrants struggle for their existence in society, they make an effort to prove that they are not a ghost and that they can be visible. Their presence should first be recorded in cyber environment. All personal and physical characteristics can be recorded and acted within the social life (school, work, social facilities, etc.) from the moment of identification (!). Surveillance society has become the proof of social society. Thus, “cogito ergo sum” has now become “vidi ergo sum”.

Translator: Eda Üzüm


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[1] The highlight belongs to the author.

[2] The highlight belongs to the author.

[3] Marina Abramovic and Ulay had dreamed of performing their long-lasting love and art at the Great Wall of China. However, the performance at the wall turned into a performance of their separation with a long-term permission period. In 1988, the two met in the middle of the Great Wall of China by walking towards each other. This meeting was actually the symbol of the end of their relationship and the last moments of reunion. In fact, the couple who had planned to get married in the middle of the wall decided to end their relationship and acted as real immigrants. Although they did not talk to each other for a lobg time after this separation, Ulay participated in Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present” performance at MOMA in 2010 as a surprise, which was the opportunity for their reconciliation.

[4] Resident: Someone living in a house, somewhere, having fun, inhabitant.

[5] Heterotopic: A terrorist, someone who should live somewhere else than normal.

[7] Source:  (date of access: 19/02/2019).