Rename Diyarbakır

The project deals with the aesthetic dimension of the castration of a language from public space. The aim of the intervention is to label objects in public space with the words used to designate them in Kurdish, Armenian, Arabic, Assyrian or Zaza. Rename Diyarbakır understands language not as a means of communication but as a sphere in which the symbolic and the discursive orders become materialized. By labelling public space in the language of the other, it aims to disturb the dominant symbolic order. At the same this artistic intervention functions as a strategy to recover what has been lost. Rename Diyarbakır was conceived as an open and communal movement and sought to turn the city into a picture book and at the same time in a memorial .

In spring 2007, I was arrested with an local activist by Turkish anti-terror special forces in Diyabakir and questioned and intimidated for 4 hours. The offence: to mark objects such as traffic lights, benches, rubbish containers, trees and others with paper signs in different mothertongues spoken in the region. Further pursuit of the project, as well as its publication, were abandoned out of respect for the local activist.

Labels, 2007