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PROJECT

OBJECTIVES | THEME | ACTION&TIMETABLE

 

Turkish and Greek people have lived together on both sides of the Aegean for almost half a millennia. They spoke dissimilar languages, followed different faiths, but they still belonged to a cultural background that abounded with a lot of common values, shared colors and tastes of life. Although the two countries are geographically very close to each other, there are still firm borders at the mental level.

The Lesvos Island is the largest island of the North Aegean which is situated 8.5 km away from the Turkish coast (Ayvalık) and at a significant distance from the mainland of Greece. The Lesvos Island was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1462 and it remained under Turkish rule until 1912 when it was taken by Greek forces during the First Balkan War. With the 1923 population exchange, Turkish originated people living in the Lesvos Island moved back to Turkey while Greek people living in Anatolia were moving back to Greece. Today, there is hardly any advanced contact between the two regions. In the Lesvos Island, the city is positioned on the side facing the Turkish coast and the other side of the island facing offshore is almost empty. In this context, the concept of apartness and closeness is very relative. The project was built around this duality, which  served as a metaphor to understand the very human needs and approaches of peoples on both sides. Taking this metaphor as a point of departure, the action aimed to reconnect two sides.
The project achieved to bring together Turkish and Greek young artists from the above mentioned geographies and to serve as a platform for their collaboration. Its main focus was on the motto of reconnecting with the other side aiming to orientate media artists to rethink closeness and apartness between two sides and come up with video artworks related to identity, gender, social policy, environment and culture. Among such themes that would be recognizable to artists living in both countries right across each other were:

* Closeness/distance (living together apart),
* environment,
* women’s employment,
* local customs (food, hospitality, arts/culture, music, dance etc.),
* local goods/production (olive oil, etc) and,
* shared local concerns (fisheries, agriculture, forestry, mining, etc).

With this action, a new bridge of communication was created between Greece and Turkey in the North Aegean through the connection of Turkish and Greek artists, students and civil actors. The action also offered opportunities to local people by including them into the creative process.

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