Remembering the assos international performing arts festival through the iconic memory of Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu: reading the rural-urban divide through gender, humor and reflexive ethnography
Akıncı, Özgül (2008) Remembering the assos international performing arts festival through the iconic memory of Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu: reading the rural-urban divide through gender, humor and reflexive ethnography. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1266182 (Table of Contents)
Under the leadership of Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu, the Assos International Performing Arts Festival was held once a year between the years 1995 and 1999 in the village of Behramkale. Artists from various backgrounds lived in the village for three weeks, produced site-specific works and at the end of a three weeks production process presented their works/performances/plays to the festival audience including the inhabitants of Behramkale, the artists from İstanbul and other cities, and people from Çanakkale or other villages near to Behramkale. The festival was held in a village and with the collaboration of the villagers. Especially children, then teenagers and men, lastly women participated in the festival at various levels, including the production process of the works. In this thesis, I analyzed the festival memories of both the local people of Behramkale and the artists/organizers who participated in the festival. My intention in this analysis is to listen to the narratives of the artists about their experience of artistic activity in a village and to listen to the locals’ narratives about their witnessing and collaborating to an art event in their living environment. In order to draw a fair picture of the artistic context of the festival, firstly, I tried to give a brief description of the emergence of contemporary performing arts/theatre in Turkey especially in the 1990s, the understanding of theatre of Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu, the art director of the festival and the content of the Assos International Performing Arts Festival. Subsequently, I analyzed the narratives of the artists and then the narratives of the locals. I conclude with two arguments. The first one is the implications of commemorating Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu, who died untimely in 1999, through the interviews. His iconic memory gives some clues to discuss his role between the rural&urban both during the festival and after the festival. The Second conclusion concerns the strategies of humor and laughter in the narratives of both sides in order to deal with the cultural gap between them during the festival and after the festival (during the interviews). Through tracing the sarcastic, humorous and joyful moments in the festival narratives, I discussed the notion of art/artists in the eyes of the locals, the concept of “villager” in the eyes of the artists as well as the gendered dynamics of memory. The last concluding remark is about the importance of the analysis of a performance arts case through cultural studies perspective benefiting from memory studies, reflexive ethnography and sociology.
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