Remembering the Victim(s): “You’Re Not a Fish after All”.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Ozge DERMAN, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Paris (CRAL), Turkey
The assassination of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul in 2007 by a Turkish nationalist is a drastic incident in Turkey that remained engraved in people’s memory. He was not the first or the last intellectual assassinated and those repetitive forms of death constitute a very strong image of Turkish history. His assassination brings into light once again the political crimes against humanity and subsequently the dynamic relationship between art and politics.

In 2010, Mihran Tomasyan, a member of Ciplak Ayaklar Dance Company, creates his performance called “You’re not a fish after all” in memory of Hrant Dink. The performance is introduced in a fragmented mode like dreams, however it articulately addresses a collective memory shaped by continuous violence and injustices. It represents an individual recollection of a certain event through which the artist interferes with the remembering of a large group of people like a big family. That so-called family is concerned by and follows closely multiple comparable killings of intellectuals and journalists in Turkey. In fact after 2015, the assassination of Tahir Elçi, a Kurdish lawyer specialized in human rights issues, could become the subject matter of the same performance. The performance thus unwittingly stages instances and images from historically repetitive periods.

This paper focuses on the reconstruction of the collective memory through that artwork and it adopts a qualitative methodology, introducing hermeneutics as a process of understanding. The data will be provided by semi-structured interviews with Tomasyan and the spectators of the performance in several occasions, taking into account the place and date of the performances.