SAHA provides support for Didem Pekün’s new projects for the Luleå Biennial held on 21 November 2020 – 14 February 2021. Curated by Karin Bähler Lavér, Emily Fahlén and Asrin Haidari, this edition of the biennial is titled “Time on Earth”.
Disturbed Earth is a theatrical performance commissioned especially for the biennial that takes the 1995 Srebrenica genocide as its starting point for a biting reflection on bureaucracy’s failure to act when faced with a crisis. “Disturbed Earth” is a term employed by the analysts of the US Security Council to describe the mass graves visible on aerial photographs of the landscape around Srebrenica. The genocide could have been prevented. International forces were informed, yet did not intervene, paralysed as they were by the unending back and forth of bureaucratic protocol. Consequently, refugees seeking protection in the UN’s camps were handed over to certain death at the hands of their perpetrators. Disturbed Earth addresses the frightening contradiction that the UN, set up to secure peace through the rule of law, failed to serve justice because the law’s slow decision-making process prevented timely intervention.
The work consists of a film and spatial alterations in the gallery space developed in collaboration with architect-designers Aslihan Demirtaş and Ali Cindoruk (KHORA). Drawings on floors and walls of Luleå konsthall are abstract representations of the interior spaces of each cinematic scene. They signify the sharp and decisive detachment of the bureaucratic space from the realities of the field where atrocities unfold and crime scene conditions set in. The lines are dispersed into the whole installation space much like how these self-isolating bureaucratic spaces are globally distributed.