Stay With Me

Stay With Me

Phantoms of Gezi

Before and even after, many people died, were killed. Wars still have not ended and never will. Martial law, unjustifiable executions, military governments, femicides… Really, what kept us tethered to life during those periods… How were we watching, what were we seeing? What did we see, were we able to see? Or if we couldn’t see, what was blinding us? Maybe we had gotten used to so many things, we had become hardened. Maybe we had become desensitized watching the “live broadcasts” every night. That was probably why we kept flipping channels, allowing other dreams to carry us away.We called this forgetting, and we had succeeded in learning how to do it.

If we return to the first question: What was it ? What had happened?

So much was happening at every moment that the sentence we had constructed to fool ourselves was ready; we just weren’t able to keep up. And at some point, just like that, some other “thing” began. We were on the streets. We were side by side. We didn’t even know each other, but we were side by side. We were there. We had learned to keep our doors open, to put buckets full of water in front of the apartment, and to hang documents on the entrance of the apartment building notifying you of your rights in case of arrest – and to note the situation on every street we passed , and tweet it to one another.

This was the hope itself. It was spirit of solidarity, struggle, standing side by side.

Then… Nothing changed. We closed back into ourselves. Now, we are just left tired.

Is it possible to remember this hope?

We have to start somewhere… The Stay with Me project takes this as its point of departure; taking notes, documenting, drawing; rebuilding hope with the memory of this coming together. The title Stay with Me was chosen because it expresses a last resort when the hope is fading “hold on, don’t give up’. It grew as a slogan that expresses a collective effort where everyone is involved and holding on together.

The Stay with Me project is composed of notebooks that indicate limitless fear, insecurity, existence in obscurity, as well as hope, reality, the future and the moment. The project includes work from 84 participants, and commemorates the events surrounding the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, 2013.

Text by Selda Asal.


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