ISTANBUL- Walking in the Way March 2012 A 4 Hour Long Performance.
This performance was part of the exhibition LABOUR curated by Amanda Coogan, Chrissie Cadman and Helena Walsh.
This was the first time that Frances and I performed Walking in the Way as individuals and in separate cities.
I saw Istanbul as quite a challenge as it was culturally and socially very different to the cities we had performed in till now, Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, London and Derry.
I had visited Istanbul recently but did not know it well. I stayed in the Beyoglu area and worked along Istiklál Caddesi the main street of that area that runs from Taxsim Square to the Tunel Square.
I knew I would start in Taxsim Sq, a beautiful park area then, near where all the rural bus depo, and work my way down this broad busy street- a mix of Grafton st and Henry st. but much more lively that either. I noticed that most men dress very well in sharp suits with well polished shoes. But then there were also the workers pushing carts and carrying impossible loads and I thought I might pass more unseen as one of these men.
I bought some plaster of paris, not an easy task with no Turkish, and a small sweeping brush. I had brought clothes as I had been told there were no second hand clothes shops and I had decided on a moustache as so many men in Istanbul wear them and it gave me more confidence that I will pass unnoticed. I had a task carrying the bag of plaster and a route.
I met with my photographer, Serkan Taykan a professional photographer and English speaker the night before and explained the purpose and the route I wanted to take on a map.. He should document the journey but go un-noticed and try for shots where I was with men and part of street life. My research covered violence to women in Turkey, Sufism, and the history of Ataturk and the modernization of Istanbul through the writings of Pamuk.
Frances and I had discussed scarves and footprints footprints on powder or sand. I knew Frances would perform maleness as a city council worker cleaning the streets so I wanted if possible to create situations that might match or mirror her actions in Dublin. My images would be sent from Istanbul to the LAB and appear in the space where the other artists were performing.
My great luck was that unknown to me the International Women’s Day march would take place from Taxsim during the performance.
One of the actions during the performance was to leave a white trail of plaster from small holes in the sack I was carrying. See attached images.