The_Uncanniness_of_the_Topography

Between May 14th to 23rd, Maquis Mami Wata is hosting Karlsruhe and Istanbul based artist Mustafa Emin Büyükcoşkun. Titled Topografyanın Tekinsizliği/ Die Unheimlichkeit der Topographie /The Uncanniness of the Topography, the exhibition includes photographic installations, screening events and a video piece.

As a central work for the exhibition, the film Set Off (2019) narrates the story of 33 young people, who dreamed for another journey and took a road, which never reached the final destiny. Following their path, at the shadow of their ghosts and memoirs, this work is an exercise about how and what to tell, after an unmourned disaster; a journey parallel to theirs, daydreaming in the middle of a conflict zone, where landscape deconstructs power regimes.

The photo series The Uncanniness of the Topography (2015 – ongoing)  were made during the artist’s travels as a volunteer videographer in Africa and Asia. In artist’s own words: „These photos were taken with a medium format camera, which was also used by colonial photojournalists of the 1960s. Due to the use of a medium format camera, the perspective is always between chest level and waistline. This breaks down the hierarchy between places in front of and behind the camera. The reason for my choice of camera is not a journalistic reflection, but to enable the human being to be touched by the photo, which is produced in a certain amount of time and hinders or slows down a quick consumption of the image produced. From Kurdistan to Rwanda, from Bangladesh to Sumatra, I followed the tracks, souls, debris and survivors in these regions of constant mass killings, civil wars and displacement. I tried to avoid anthropocentrism and thereby show objects and places in a certain relation. Shortly after the end of armed conflicts, I went with my camera to abandoned battle sites to capture the spirit of the place and the moment. As a stranger, I have walked alongside unmourned losses, unburied corpses and identity-less souls. In a sense, I have experienced the uncanniness there. This series is the visualised form of that experience.“

In his photo book and installation Repeat (2015- ongoing) Büyükcoşkun asks the question: „Does history repeat itself? Or is it our reepating historiographies? The beginning of every week I spent in Istanbul was the Saturday meetings I attended in Galatasaray Square. People holding photos of what they have lost in their hands. Reflected sun, pouring rain, oil, sweat, traces of hands on PVC coated photographs. What is accumulated on the photos? What future can be built from repetition?“