94.6 Transcending representation: Being an activist camera

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 11:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Gülsüm DEPELI , Hacettepe University, Turkey
Transcending Representation: Being an Activist Camera

This paper will attempt to examine the possibility of transcending the forms of representation and capturing the reality, in case of Karahaber, which was a video activist group in Turkey.

In the paper, first, Karahaber, (Black News / www.karahaber.org), which was especially active in 2005-2007 and was defining itself with the motto “from the image of the action to the action of the image” will be introduced in short. According to their own words, in quest for ‘true’ and ‘just’ information, participating many street demonstrations with their non-professional video cameras, they produced more than 175 videos (against transvestite decimation, on death strike against F-type prisons, on Hrant Dink massacre, 6th of November Student Demos against YÖK –High Education Council- etc.) and shared them on their website.

After introducing the group, it will be focused especially on the video films about the demonstrations, taking place outside the prisons, in order to support the prisoners in death strike against the impending F-Type prisons. These video images moved the group members in a very peculiar way: The group had to think on its own kind of participation and engagement to the process of death strike. These challenges in the group prompted questions about the ways to construct the real activist gaze: To get differentiated from the police/state camera in form (plans, edits etc.) and in content (discourses, narratives, subjects), to avoid the pornographic gaze, and to improve the ways to capture the reality and distribute it instead of its representation, were subjected.

Here, by analysing the video images on death strike and the group profile and by re-collecting the discussions of that process, I’ll attempt to conduct a theoretical discussion on ‘being an activist camera’.