On Queering
27 FEBRUARY 2021
4.00 pm to 6.00 pm CET
6.00 pm to 8.00 pm Turkey Time


Featuring Derya Bayraktaroğlu and Dijan Özkurt

Hosted by Serra Tansel

Denying the complexity of life and fitting oneself into binary, even polarised structures are grave forms of oppression. When one performs to be part of and belong to a defined group in order to relate to others, this likely involves a binary choice and can be very impoverishing. The box, as in “fitting into a box” is a top- down and bureaucratic term as we tick boxes on forms. The ethnicity box has been particularly puzzling for me, making me feel as if I don’t know myself enough to answer such a simple question. Not being recognised can make a person doubt their sense of self. The reason why there are boxes about our skin colour, nationality, gender, marital status and why these modes of identification are still relevant reveal many structures of violence.

Queering these boxes means deconstructing their lines in order to draw spirals, flowers, insects, rivers, genitals, hearts, decomposing bodies… Queer is about multiplicity and singularity. It is about subverting the middle-man that is the nation state, the football team, the social class etc. to have the sense of belonging to the world itself as we are, as we are in our becoming. Queer is about knowing our planet doesn’t need any of these social constructs to host us and our journeys.

Expanding and opening up my lines happen through relationships, conversations, conflicts, negotiations and sharing stories. Even though all the participants have a different experience with their own borders, it is a collective journey and engages the collective conscious. Queer can be identity as an accumulation of pieces we collect from others and make our own. The more stretched the identity, the more adaptable it is to all kinds of situations and so it is vital for survival. Creating inclusive spaces where we can stretch our minds and horizons together is an integral part of Derya Bayraktaroğlu and Dijan Özkurt’s practices and this panel aims to serve as one.

Independent curator and writer Derya Bayraktaroğlu (Istanbul, Turkey) will share two curatorial works; Unspeakable Home, Enchanting Companions (Badischer Kunstverein, 2019) proposing a satirical critique of certain binaries, normative citizenship, and the neoliberal power politics by reflecting on the interplay between art and activism in terms of feminist and proto-queer inquiries in Turkey; and colony exhibitions (Kaos GL Association/Abud Efendi Mansion, Istanbul, 2017, Schwules Museum, 2018) that deal with human-centered narratives, normativity, and gender by queering posthuman. She will discuss in what ways a curatorial action may contribute to building a community of exchange experimenting solidarity, and art as a social practice. How it may convey transnational perspectives on injustices and inequality to contradict physical and abstract borders promoted by the turbulent institutions of politics?

PhD candidate Dijan Özkurt (İstanbul, Turkey) will talk about the following questions; What is “normal” and who are “normal” people? Who is included in and excluded from this categorical frame? How can “we”, those who are excluded from that normative frame [1], reunite for a manoeuvre but not for an identity category? How may this manoeuvre lead to a companionship with other-than-human? Given these questions, they will talk about how the works exhibited in colony may provoke us to think about forms of companionships with other-than-human -e.g. companion species [2]– instead of those we make with identities.


[1] Butler, J. Precarious Life, The Power of Mourning and Violence, 32, 33, London, New York: Verso Books, 2004.

[2] Haraway, D. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century *,”, 120, In The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments , edited by Joel Weiss, Jason Nolan, Jeremy Hunsinger, and Peter Trifonas, 117–58. Dordrecht: Sipringer, 2006.