© 2017 by Mustafa Boga

Otherness

Duration: 5:39

Year: 2017, Ruse, Bulgaria

Single screen installation with sound

 

Kukeri are elaborately costumed Bulgarian men who perform traditional rituals intended to scare away evil spirits.

Sıddırbahur is a prayer read by only men in southern Turkey. It's part of a ritual of burning incense and that is regarded as a means of spiritual cleansing and approach to the gods. It is believed that the smell pleases the gods, and calms their anger while at the same time inviting good spirits around the incense along with angels. During this burning incense ritual men read this prayer.

 

The video collage is an interpretation of these rituals which bring different cultures and disciplines together. What seems unconscious is actually ritual and tradition: from dance to prayer, from landscape to costume. With the performance I am trying to break the border between masculinity and femininity to challenge the norms of gender specifications. That's why the body functions as a resistance to power and patriarchy in these scenes which create otherness. The question is: why are only men allowed to perform in these costumes and read these prayers? The interpretation of the costume and prayer is a way of highlighting this situation which seems to perpetuate the dichotomies between men and women, nature and culture, private and public, animal and human, war and peace, society rules and religious rituals are all in question.

 

The video was commissioned to take part in art residency organized by Process Space Art Festival in Ruse Bulgaria in June 2017. Music made by Subash Thebe. The inspiration came from Bulgarian and Turkish folk music and instruments.