by belit sağ
2016, single-channel video (HD), 5’00’’, sound, color, 16:9 | Courtesy: the artist
Leaving the oikos, a figure goes for a walk down the street of a nondescript city. On the pavements are signs of life: a cigarette, chewing gum, a sticker. The noise of traffic, steps. Superimposing this scene and its soundscape, a woman takes a huge female portrait for a walk outside. This scene from the Turkish drama Sevmek Zamanı (“Time to Love”, 1965) by Metin Erksan tells the story of a poor painter who falls in love with the photograph of a woman – the female portrait mentioned above – while he is working in an Istanbul mansion.
Another moving picture shows a cinematic character stepping off-screen to address a woman sitting in the audience of a movie theater. The female actor at his side tries to tempt him discreetly back onto the screen.
Children cut up and eat a big cake effigy of the embalmed corpse of Lenin.
“Your picture belongs to my world,” says another film character cutting a piece of bread.
Current Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appears in a FaceTime video released on CNN during the 2016 coup attempt. A helicopter transports a man in power trying to escape … Ceaușescu tries to escape in a helicopter during the December 1989 ‘revolution’ – aksama, Turkish for a disruption, failure. The woman, who has just attempted to persuade the actor to return to the screen, tries in vain to step out of the film, to enter into the real world. The walk in the nondescript city ends.
belit sağ’s film practice has its legacy in video activism. She is the co-founder of several film activist groups in Turkey, including bak.ma and karahaber. In her essay films, she combines found footage to explore the violence of images and deconstruct their conspiracy with power. Her method is a poetic, healing one.
belit sağ is a video-maker and visual artist living in Amsterdam. She studied mathematics in Ankara and audio-visual arts in Amsterdam. She has been a resident artist at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2014–2015) and the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York (2016). LIMA in Amsterdam distributes her video work.