Arterie Fine Arts
Hale Ekinci
Assistant Professor of Art
North Central College
Interactive Media Studies

A flying elephant lands on a suspension bridge and throws a red ball at me; a man with an alligator skin box full of gum; a neighbor drops bulgur balls from her elbows … Using personal experience, dreams, imagination, Turkish culture and language, I strive to recreate my memories through a fantastical lens that juxtaposes real life situations with ephemeral imagined incidents. I meld together these different aspects in my visual work, sound pieces and writing. My videos and mixed media works on paper contain many layers of seemingly unrelated objects to create a magical reality. My stories and sound pieces combine this method with direct translations of Turkish sayings and Turkish words/sentences immersed in English.
As a foreigner living in the US, I often feel misplaced. Sometimes this is a soothing experience, other times it is a cause for loneliness and disorientation. Since missing home is a dominant part of being an alien, I address these emotional, psychological and physical displacements through the reminiscence of place and time. I create an alternative to the lived life, immersing dream-like elements and inventing memories, to feel more connected to my current environment. This makes up for the fact that nowhere really feels like home anymore. Whether I am on a bus, in a boarding school, or a completely different country, I try to make every place I am in a kind of home. Wherever I am, I try to recreate my roots.

Theorist Homi Bhabha describes the condition “in-betweenness” as the focus of art about displacement on the journey itself, the condition of being in transit between places with different languages, customs, material culture and ideas. My work utilizes the experience of “in-betweenness” in order to create a new hybrid identity that draws on the physical surroundings and cultural climate of the new place. By doing this, I am creating work based on my existential migration—a chosen attempt to express something fundamental about existence by leaving one’s homeland and becoming a foreigner.

The visualized stories all share two characters (a man and the nomadic narrator woman—me), and feature animated paper sculptures. However, each story reveals this nomad’s experience by emphasizing a different aspect of being a foreigner (nostalgia, strangeness, bewilderment, disorientation, confusion and absurdity) in each video. By focusing on a specific emotional effect in each piece, I hope to create a fuller picture of this invented world without being redundant. Therefore, every video will help the viewer to understand what this foreigner goes through, even though all the videos can meaningfully stand-alone.

Butcher Rules is one of a series of five videos based on a dream, ornamented with Turkish settings – such as a butcher store. It focuses on a man chasing the narrator, an elephant that throws a red ball at her, and a butcher that confiscates her brain when she asks for help.

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