NORIENT MUSIKFILM FESTIVAL
Mittwoch, 12.1.2011, 20.30 Uhr. Turnhalle PROGR, Bern.
Arabesk developed in the 1960ies in the gecekondular. These informal settlements were sprawling out around Turkish metropoles like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir or Adana to house the Anatolian peasants who came flocking to the cities.
Blending Arabic rhythms, classical Turkish music and Western Pop the doleful arabesk songs not only rebelled against the Ottoman musical tradition. Lyrics oozing with homesickness and fatalism gave a voice, a projection screen and an identity to the new urban poor. In that sense arabesk can be understood as resistance. Today, this potential has been almost entirely been lost. Pain soon became commerce.
Istanbul based multimedia artist Serhat Köksal (2/5 BZ
) deploys arabesk sounds and movies. In a conversation with Norient he explains his take on the developments of the arabesk phenomenon: «Today, the injustices of the economy, and the pain and suffering in the lives of people is even more aggravated, arabesk is less and less an _expression_ of these difficult lives, and the voice of the urban poor. It has created its elite audience, and is producing for them more and more.The Arabesk music we see today, is rather an upgraded class – arabesk.»
It is often said that arabesk was banned (or looked down on) by the country’s power elite once, but has now been saved by mode of some developments towards democracy. Serhat Köksal finds this perspective problematic: «Most of the well-known figures of arabesk adapted well to the changing economic conditions of the post-1980’s; and now, they are not really distant from the interests and the likes of the new power elite. They can also be integrated to the global market. Or, in the same line of thinking, their success stories are spread to create an ‘optimism’, not only for the urban poor, but for the small enterprises as well.»
Serhat Köksal points out the exceptional stance of long time arabesk artist Hakki Bulut though: «In the raw recording of the documentary ‘Arabesk – Massenpop und Gossensound’ I have seen him speak. Addressing one of the most important labour protests against neo-liberalism in the recent years, the protests of the workers of the Tekle factories, Hakki Bulut says that ‘Arabesk is Tekel resistance’. This exemplifies one of the ways how I relate to arabesk.»
2/5 BZ is fascinated with Turkish pop cinema. Without copyright limitations and with the help of tax priviledges it thrived parallel to early arabesk in the 1960ies and 70ies. In a few years it threw hundreds of remakes and adaptations of Western films and all kinds of motives on a hungry market. 2/5 BZ: «I was impressed by sound technicians and effects designers of the Turkish pop cinema of the 1960ies and 70ies. They usually applied musical score combinations to these films, from traditional Turkish music to Avantgarde tunes of the West by using cut-up techniques.I also published the interviews I made with these people, in my photocopy zine ‘Gözel Mecmuasi’ (Gözel Zine)»
Today 2/5 BZ uses these sounds and images in his live performances:
«I improved my skills of reproducing the material and ended up editing video and sound live and spontaneously on stage. What excites me is the situation of the reminniscence to filmmakers, who edit on their desks in studio; I, on the other hand edit live on stage. In 2000 ‘NO Touristik NO Ezgotik’ became one of my concepts. That evolved into ‘No Cultural Pipeline No Energy Dialogue’, because I noticed that words like ‘bridge’ and ‘dialogue’ are used almost like clichés to intregrate cities and products into a global market. These days, I am working on neoliberalism in a palaverel and parallel universe. & toolerance imperialism.»
2/5BZ Interview / Performance @ "Arabesk - Gossensound und Massenpop" TV-Documentry
30th September Thursday 2010 , 22.50 on Arte TV.( Germany & France )
http://vimeo.com/15427137 with English Subtitle
2/5 BZ aka Serhat Koksal works as a multimedia project with various releases in video,
music and literary formats. Characteristic for the work and output of 2/5 BZ is the balancing on the verge of
trash and the continuous work with collages of music, cinema, speech and field recordings. So far,
2/5 BZ has performed audiovisual performances at 19 country 90 cities in Festivals, Clubs, Squats, Exhibitions,..