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Instagram Residency Wrap-Up | Istanbul Queer Art Collective

14th May 2020
Photo by Eda Sancakdar

Last month, we invited our friends Seda Ergul and Tuna Erdem from the excellent Istanbul Queer Art Collective to spend some time with our archive and our istagram account, to see what they could do to explore, lift and illustrate ours and their work in a new medium. Here, T&S give an account of how that went. 

Istanbul Queer Art Collective:

We had an amazing experience during the digital residency at performingbordersLIVE Instagram account 4-11 May 2020. Thinking about a borderless world while we were in lockdown in a world where all borders were closed, was therapeutic as well as creative. We made new videos of spokenword poetry from our backgarden, wrote poetry about the world situation, made selections from the rich archive of performingborders, choose examples of our own work that resonated with the theme of borders and shared a card with a handwritten quote on it, each day from our work Just in Bookcase.

Just in Bookcase at HOW Nottingham photo by Mike Kane

Picture: Just in Bookcase at HOW Nottingham photo by Mike Kane

Selections from the performingborders archive:

Delving into the extensive archive of performingborders was a real treasure hunt experience. Formed as a true hypertext that enlarges unexpectedly as you click on the links embedded within each page that offer sound files, pdf documents, videos, photos and links to other websites, the performingborders website is a treasure cove, which we could have happily spent months rummaging through. In the time we had, we came up with 6 gems each of which took our fancy because they resonated with our own work, in one way or another:

1) Tania El Khoury’s interactive sound installation Garden’s Speak (2014) was found in the March 2016 interview on performingborders website with Alessandra Cianetti:

2) Mengting Zhuo’s performances Before the Wall and Thesaurus came from the October 2017 interview on performingborders website with Alessandra Cianetti:

3) Abdul Abdullah’s photo series Coming to Terms, was discovered in the artists interview with Loredana Paracciani published in July 2018 on performingborders website as a guest post:

4) Filippos Tsitsopoulos, Kage-Where K for Kott (2015) came from the August 2019 interview on performingborders website with Alessandra Cianetti:

5) Alejandro Chellet and his performance series The Keys for My Citizenship was found in Burong’s interview with Chellet for “All the Tea in China: Digital Conversation 2019” published at the performingborders website in July 2019:


6) Lynn Lu’s performances Afraid only of standing still and Strawberrymilkbath was found in the July 2018 interview on performingborders website with Alessandra Cianetti:

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Poetry Reading

Throughout the residency we had daily poetry readings from our lockdown back garden in London. We chose migrant poets, who either lived in a country they were not born in or wrote in a language that was not their mother tongue or both. The final poem was one we wrote during the residency:

  • Almost Human by Ocean Vuong who was born in Vietnam and lives in the USA:

2) How Hope Became Green by Ghayath Almadhoun, a Palestinian poet born in Syria and lives in Stockholm. Translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham:

3) The War is Coming by Jazra Khaleed who was born in Chechnya and lives in Athens. Translated from the Greek by Karen Van Dyck:

4) Poems to my names III and Can you Cut my Hair? by Yas Necati, a second generation Turkish Cypriot living in London:

5) Stories of Invasion by Tuna Erdem who was born in Turkey and lives in London:

Gardens-Speak-_-Tania-El-Khoury_-Jesse-Hunniford copy

Photo from Tania El-Khouri’s Garden Speak

Selection from Istanbul Queer Art Collective Archives:

We wanted to give an impression of our own artwork by choosing examples, which have a connection with the concepts of borders and migration. But for one of these works, Just in Bookcase, which is a work that accompanied our own migration from Istanbul to London, we preferred a daily post o cards, a category of its own:

  • Evil Tongues, Evil Eyes, IQAC, 2017 performed at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club for Deep Trash in The Underworld curated by CUNTemporary:

  • SOUTH: The Border Oath Version, IQAC, 2016 performed at Athens for the SoundActs Festival:

3) Moebius Stripping, IQAC, 2019 performed to the camera at Mayday Rooms for  performingbordersLIVE2019:

The full video of this work can be seen on performingborders website:


Selection of cards and quotes from Just in Bookcase:

Just in Bookcase is a suitcase with approximately 2000 cards in it. Each card represents one of the books in our library that we had to disperse and leave forever when we moved from Istanbul to London. We choose one card for each day of our residency:

Istanbul Queer Art Collective was founded in 2012 to engage in live art, with a view that the documentation of performance is an art form in itself. The collective is currently based in London and is comprised of its two founding members Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul, who are firm believers in what Jack Halberstam calls the “queer art of failure” and what Renate Lorenz calls “radical drag”. Their performances range from the durational to the intimate and can morph towards other forms like sound art or instalation. IQAC has performed at various art events around the world among which are: House of Wisdom Exhibition in Amsterdam and Nottingham; If Independent Film Festival and Mamut Art Fair in Istanbul, Athens Sound Acts Festival in Greece, Zürcher Theatre Spektakel and Les Belles de Nuit in Zurich and Deep Trash, Queer Migrant Takeover and NSA: Queer Salon in London.   Instagram  Twitter

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