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Didem Pekün, "Araf"

SAHA supported for the production of the new work “Araf” by Didem Pekün in the exhibition “Geometries” curated by Locus Athens at the Agricultural University of Athens held between 27 March–15 June 2018.

“Araf” is an essayistic road movie and diary of a ghostly character, Nayia, who travels between Srebrenica and Sarajevo to Mostar in Bosnia. She has been in exile since the war and returns for the 22nd memorial of the Srebrenica genocide. The film is guided by her diary notes of the journey which merge with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus – Icarus being the name given to the winner of a bridge diving competition in her home country. The story of Icarus and Daedalus, a myth symbolic of man’s over-ambition and inevitable failure, is weaved throughout the film as a way to think about exorcizing the vicious cycle of such events happening in the future and of a possible reconciliation. Nayia also thinks of Icarus from a different perspective, that of seeing the optimism of such a leap, his braveness of taking a leap into the unknown in this era of radical instability, that perhaps, Icarus wanted to write a different narrative. “Araf” thus traces these paradoxes through Nayia’s displacement and her return to her home country post-war – that of a constant terror and a permanent standstill, and the friction between displacement and permanence.

About Didem Pekün

Didem Pekün's work explores both research and practice; conceptually it deals with the production of subjectivities within violent geographies, displacement, and contemporary border politics. Her studio practice includes documentaries and video installations, and her work have screened internationally at festivals and galleries, (Berlinale, Arnolfini, Oberhausen, Punto de Vista, WOMEX, MUSAC, SALT Istanbul) have received and been nominated to awards, (British Council), and attended residencies (Delfina and Greenhouse). Following a BA in Music at SOAS, and an MA on Screen Documentary at Goldsmiths, she is currently a practice-based PhD candidate in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths and a faculty member at Media and Visual Arts Department at Koc University.

About Locus Athens

Locus Athens is an independent contemporary arts organization based in Athens run by Maria-Thalia Carras and Olga Hatzidaki. Locus Athens’ program revolves around its interest in the public sphere: from forgotten spaces and public buildings, to small private institutions and interesting localities – in dialogue always with the transformational potential of contemporary art. Just some of the places that have been activated by Locus Athens in recent years are the Tzisdaraki mosque in central Athens, the cruise ship terminal in Piraeus port, schools, office buildings, Monastiraki square, the Doxiadis Schools and numerous anonymous sites around the city. Its program includes exhibitions, talks, screenings, workshops, publications, children’s books, residencies and community projects.