ğ – soft g – queer forms migrate
March 3–May 29, 2017
Opening: March 2, 7pm
Schwules Museum* Berlin
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 2–6pm,
Yeşim Akdeniz, Hasan Aksaygın, Mehtap Baydu, Taner Ceylan, Ayşe Erkmen, Masist Gül presented by Banu Cennetoğlu and Philippine Hoegen, Cihangir Gümüştürkmen, Nilbar Güreş, Aykan Safoğlu, Erinç Seymen, Viron Erol Vert, Ming Wong
Curated by Emre Busse and Aykan Safoğlu
Exhibition Design: Philip Wiegard
ğ is a group exhibition bringing together works that follow artistic migration in various directions but specifically explore the transcultural exchange of LGBTIQ+ people between Turkey and Germany; Berlin and Istanbul. This movement is felt as a unique sensibility—a turning, shifting, changing state of mind, whose presence we will accommodate in a prolific metaphor: the letter ğ (soft g).
ğ is a Turkish letter and its birth moment in 1928 marks the adoption of the Latin alphabet through the state sanctioned Turkish language reforms. Correctional linguists, working to modernize and westernize the Turkish language predicted the loss of the Arabic letter ghayn, which had no equivalent in the Latin alphabet but was commonly used in the Ottoman Turkish language. They came up with an unprecedented hybrid form: ğ. This letter serves no other purpose than to lengthen the preceding vowel; it cannot be the initial letter of a word and it is never capitalized. Therefore, it is the queerest of the Turkish alphabet. ğ is an oriental sound-letter that migrated to a western body of sorts and consequently we sense in it a curious early twentieth century story of a transitioning body.
What if ğ left Turkey to migrate to Germany? What if it seeped through into the German alphabet, escaping from the suitcase of a guest worker from Turkey, one of the hundreds of thousands of laborers who came under the 1961 recruitment agreement? What if it returned to the Motherland after living in Germany for so long to contribute to a new language, in solidarity? Since ğ is an oddity in Germany for most people, every time our names are mispronounced it reminds us of this future language, able to communicate the queer and the power of all things transgressive.
We feel queer possibilities in ğ and will present these through diverse media, including painting, performance, photography, sculpture, sound and video. As an expanded exhibition format ğ will seek to focus on initiating new companionships as well as honouring those whose love and work has let our queer souls thrive in Germany, Turkey and beyond.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive programme of events including lectures, conversations and readings as well as performances, workshops and film screenings with Gülây Akın, Yener Bayramoğlu, Maria Binder, Demet Demir, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ebru Kırancı, ‘Emine’ Sevgi Özdamar, Sabuha Salaam and Salih Alexander Wolter.
ğ – soft g – queer forms migrate is supported by the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senatskanzlei – Kulturelle Angelegenheiten.
Special thanks to: Misal Adnan Yıldız, Çağla İlk, Koray Yılmaz-Günay, Ulaş Yılmaz, Fulya Erdemci, Erden Kosova, Perihan Mağden, Seda Mimaroğlu, Justus Heitzelmann, Dusty Whistles, Henry Davidson, Kristian Vistrup Madsen, Nicky Miller, Denhart v. Harling, Daavid Mörtl, Meral El, Francesco Cascavilla, Ingo Mittelsteadt, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Württembergischer Kunstverein and our wonderful team of Schwules Museum* Berlin.