Becoming Things 1 is the first edition of the puppet performance video series, which looks at the potentials of puppetry in transcending categories and imagining of alternative realities with non-normative and non-humanoid bodies. As a continuation of ‘The Autistic Turn’, a former sci-fi and research project of Burçak, including speculations on an uncanny valley in a physical sense, bringing non-neurotypicals, robots and other species together in their chosen home, this project looks further at the possibilities of the intentional self positioning between human and non-human.
Becoming Things carries traces/influenced by ‘Karagöz’ - Black Eye, an old traditional Turkish puppetry play known to be from the 16th century, which represents the diversity of Ottoman people and criticises the ruling class similar to a political satire. This puppetry play like many others is known with having roots in shamanism and animism in the geographies where Ottoman Empire ruled, before Islam was imposed in the region. In the early 1900s Karagöz was overtaken by the the newly built nationalist government and was used to promote ‘Turkishness’. In the end the puppet play loses its always-evolving identity and turns into a mere tool of the government.
Becoming Thing 1’s structure is copied from Karagöz’s play structure with 4 parts, an opening with music playing where the audience finds themselves in the details of the story, the second to gain an insight to the story, main part where the deep dialogue takes place and the closing with tambourine.
The project brings together research on contemporary puppet practices, that go beyond the re-making of abled human bodies, affects of puppets and toys on the political phenomena and public space, and old Anatolian sayings that use non-livings for describing things. Video performance series engage with the material latex visually and aurally, of which the puppets are made, and so gaining an extensible form while playing with the boundaries of a puppet.
Becoming Things series are funded by the Initial stipend of Akademie der Künste.