Dilek Winchester

Born in 1974 in Istanbul, Dilek Winchester completed her undergraduate studies at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, and went on to receive her Proficiency in Art degree from the Department of Sculpture at the Marmara University. The artist has been a faculty member at Istanbul Okan University since 2013. Dilek Winchester’s works center on language, translation, alphabet reform, oral history and emotional expressions of emotion. Her research-based work has been about alphabets, the alphabet reform in Turkey and the literary canon with a particular emphasis on Karamanlidika and Armeno-Turkish books from the 19th Century. The artist lives and works in Istanbul.

Winchester participated in the second term of SAHA Studio between March-December 2020.

Sî, Şî, Şû, Şâ, Shim Sham Shimmy, Shim Sham

A Choreography On The Unread

Divan literature, classical Turkish literature or "old poetry", which Victoria Holbrook described as "a labyrinth made of disconnections of consciousness and the forgotten, institutionalized" and which Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar referred to as "a kind of glowing knot" appears difficult and disconnected from today because of the ideological curtain in front of it. This ingenious, rich literary production spanning 600 years, with its languages, its unique vocabulary and the world of symbols, its rhythm patterns and harmony, is now left to experts inside or outside the academy. A knot that no one is expected to relate to, where the feeling of belonging hangs in the hair, removed from sight, not to be read. 

Dilek Wincester's works from the Sî, Şî, Şû, Şâ, Shim Sham Shimmy, Shim Sham series of works, consisting of performance, sound, and video installations with the title of A Choreography on the Unread, is inspired by an anecdote narrated by Holbrook. In her book titled The Unreadable Shores of Love, Victoria Rowe Holbrook mentions that the famous literary historian Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı taught the aruz prosody meter to his students through tap dance when he was a high school teacher. Gölpınarlı follows such a method due to the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films that were popular at that time. Holbrook witnessed that an ex-student of Gölpınarlı, who was the director of the Sadberk Hanım Museum at the time of her research, stands up and performs the "dance" of the failatün failatün failatün failün although thirty years had passed. A Choreography on the Unread is a reinterpretation of a piece from divan literature, taking into account the place of rhythm and sound in bodily memory. Developed by the artist in collaboration with a literary historian and a tap dance performer, the first choreography of this series comes to life as a sound and video installation.


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