čardak/çardak in the void
Un-war Space Lab / Armina Pilav, Karla Crnčević, Servet Cihangiroglu
čardak / çardak in the void
18. 8.—4. 9. 2020
artKIT, Glavni trg 14, Maribor/SI
Kindly welcome at artKIT, between Tuesday, 18 August and Friday, 4 September 2020, where “čardak/çardak in the void” an exhibition by collective Un-war Space Lab consisting of Armina Pilav, Karla Crnčević, and Servet Cihangiroglu will be on view.
website: čardak/çardak on screen
The exhibition is a result of the Risk Change Touring Residencies program undertaken by Un-war Space Lab from October 2019 until March 2020. During this time, their research focused on national border systems and border infrastructure, emphasizing how they define, influence, manipulate, surveil, and destroy people’s lives. They also equally violently inscribe histories in the surrounding landscapes. In Malta, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina Un-war Space Lab collective created particular transitional spaces in the form of site-specific meetings under the name čardak/çardak. These spaces included many agents – humans, non-humans, and took place in natural or build landscapes. In solidarity and collaboration with many people on the move, the collective has gathered audio and visual material, photos, found objects, texts, historical content, and plants, which will be presented in this site-specific exhibition.
Under the current circumstances and questions this project brings forward, instead of an official opening ceremony to mark the beginning of the exhibition, on Tuesday, 18 August a short film essay by Un-war Lab will be streamed on the tower of the Main train station in Maribor between 8—11 p.m.
“In our view, čardak/çardak spatial and material characteristics are subject to changes, according to the different territories, pandemic outbreaks, biopolitics, individual perception and imagination of belonging to the given by birth state or nation. čardak/çardak was an impermanent space for our way of living an impermanent life during the residency traveling. Our being together in čardak/çardak and meeting the others was impermanent, short and characterized with a long list of opposing conditions as being: safe/unsafe, legal/illegal, inside/outside the migrants’ experiences, making/unmaking images of migration, between open/closed meetings, political/unpolitical, in the noise/silence with ourselves or others. We were collecting site-specific narratives of events and conditions when the humans have had and still need to move due to the wars and other natural or man-made disasters, lack of employment in their own country, resources as a consequence of the century’s long colonization processes and extractions of natural resources in different parts of the Earth.
In the conflict geographies, some examples of contemporary čardak(s) are numerous checkpoints between Israel and Palestine, the drones flying over the USA and Mexico border to control and stop migration to the USA, thermal night vision cameras on the borders of the Balkan route, as well as on the Slovenian and Croatian borders, to control and stop migration to the European Union.
The word čardak/çardak originates from the Ottoman times and refers to a border control object ‘watchtower’ close to rivers, crossroads, on the edges of cities, and strategic borders. The watchtowers were located on the analog distance on the borders between the Ottoman Empire and other territories. The guards in the watchtowers were able to communicate using light or sound analog signals to announce the danger. In rural regions between Croatia and Serbia, čardak was made and use to store yellow gold – the corn – from the agricultural fields. It is also a name for the traditional stone and wooden house for hosting the people in the šumadija region in Serbia.
Forming our own čardak/çardak, in Croatia, Serbia, Malta, and even this one ‘in the void’ in Maribor is an attempt to show an imposed free space from humans and their intentional activities that form the impermanent society. We are gathering in the mediatic space while remaining interrelated and de-centralized group aware of transitional geographies while inhabiting them, opposing the fascist order of belonging to the nation-state constructs and continuous reproduction of violence and war with all possible means shifting between weapons, military industry, migration laws, capitalism and patriarchal abuse of nature and humans.” (Un-war Space Lab)
Un-war Space Lab is led by Armina Pilav, a researcher in ecologies of violent spatial transformations and lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, The University of Sheffield. She received the Marie Curie Fellowship for her Un-war Space research (2016-2018) developed at the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment at TU Delft. Karla Crnčević holds a MA in film dramaturgy and is based in Rijeka and Zagreb. She is one of founders of the Unseen, experimental hybrid festival held in Cavtat, started in 2017. Her work explores politics of images and sound through various formats and working conditions. Servet Cihangiroglu’s work focuses on ephemeral documenting of the contemporary conditions of war in Turkey while exploring his own experience and living in complex and conflict environments. In his practice, he employs various bodily interactions and different physical materials in performative relationships, photography, video, urban and domestic spaces.
Production: Association for contemporary art X-OP
Support: Municipality of Maribor.
The Touring Residencies program is part of the Risk Change (2016—2020) project co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration of Republic of Slovenia.
Photo: Janez Klenovšek