They asked “Mum, am I a human?” They answered with the poem “Mum, am I a barbarian?” with Cavafy... Waiting for the Barbarians...
The “Public Address” event, part of the 13th Istanbul Biennial public programme, was interrupted by the true owners of public opinion. Students, artists, local residents, in other words the true owners of this city, those who fight against urban renewal, or to give it its true name “opportunistic renewal”, along with the victims of these opportunistic handouts, interrupted the panel on the theme of “Public Address”, held as part of the Biennial events, an organisation that tries to legitimize these opportunistic handouts in the field of art through the “industry of culture”.
While Fulya Erdemci was giving her opening speech, the protest was started by a group of protesters, who stood up and turned their backs to the speakers, wearing t-shirts that spelled out “BARBARLARI BEKLERKEN” (WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS). While the press release was being read aloud protestors took to the stage and painted the phrase “MUM AM I A HUMAN?” on blank banners. Following the reading of the press release all protesters in the room turned to the audience and read aloud Cavafy’s poem “Waiting for the barbarians” in answer to Lale Müldür’s poem “Anne, ben barbar mıyım?” (Mum, am I a barbarian?). In response to Fulya Erdemci’s attempts to put an end to the protest with bourgeois politeness, the protesters continued the protest, shouting the slogan “Barbarians out!” As the protesters were so intent on disrupting the event, İKSV announced that the programme had been cancelled. As İKSV organisers left the room, representatives of neighbourhood associations spoke to remaining participants of the destruction and victimhood that they had suffered through urban renewal projects, which are run by the capitalist groups who also sponsor the Biennial. Meanwhile, the organisers from İKSV, who had originally handed over the microphone to show how democratic they are, turned down the sound and turned off the lights in the room in an attempt to stop the speeches by the local representatives. They then left the room.
For a video of the protest visit: http://www.youtube.com/