Date: 21 February 2019
The manifold universe of Gölge Oyunu or Karagöz theatre was a guiding topic for the Berlin artist duo Birgit Auf der Lauer & Caspar Pauli for their research in Istanbul. They embarked on journeys through Istanbul, Bursa and Adana, reperforming German orientalists, who wrote a century ago compendiums about Karagöz theatre. These academics struggled to understand and tame carnivalesque humour and polyphonic language of Karagöz.
Through encounters with colleagues in Istanbul, the artists learned about the development of the once prominent markers within late Ottoman Karagöz performances; cultural diversity and the struggle for identity.
In their performance at Depo they follow the idea of “hayal” present in Karagöz theatre: illusion as a theatre form. They propose to link the illusion of “shadows” on the screen to the delusion of race and nation, radically counterpointing the choreography of a historic Karagöz collection with texts from the same era German Empire. A shadow theatre machine, moved by a printer, will be operated by the artists; pulling strings, veil, projections and text into a trembling scenario, maybe illuminating the void left after the cast was cleaned.
The work is dedicated to the idea of a cast dearly missed on today’s TV, on the theatre stages, in advertisement and most movies in modern nation states.
Special thanks to: Ahmet Ağaoğlu, Ahmet Akşit, Gülçin Aksoy, Esra And, Veli Başyiğit, Alpay Ekler, Peri Efe, Barbaros Gülümser, Hasan Hüseyin Karabağ, Ünver Oral, Sevim Sancaktar, Nazlı Ümit, Archivist of the Karagöz Collection of the Atatürk Library, PASAJ, SiS collective and all people from Depo and Unima Istanbul.
Language: Mostly English, some German, some Turkish.
Birgit Auf der Lauer & Caspar Pauli are currently holding a scholarship from the Berlin Senate as first artists in residence at Depo.