Acâibü’l-mahlûkāt is a Persian cosmology book from the 13th century, later translated into Ottoman. It includes mythological and made-up characters to explain the world. The book mentions humans, djinnis, creatures in the sky; precious stones, mountains, oceans; plants, and trees. Its images depict elephant-humans with wings, cow-reptiles and many other idiosyncratic beings. Inspired by this world, Göksu Kunak tackles the notions of camouflage and selfcensorship in relation to the politics and dictator(s) of an imaginary (!) region.
For this piece, the concept of Taqiyya in Islam is at the center of a deeper understanding of camouflage: a hypercamouflage in the sense of merging with a character; of gender as camouflage; hiding in niches and camouflage as protection. In this text-based performance, the images and movement patterns of the creatures from the book Acayip Mahlukat emerge in a sci-fi imaginary realm and are complemented by motifs from the speculative non-fiction "Cyclonopedia" by Reza Negarestani. From a speculative perspective on the Middle East, Göksu Kunak thereby makes references to Southwest Asian politics, (in)visibility and (un)veiling, pornography, time and decay.
GÖKSU KUNAK (Ankara, 1985) is an artist and writer based in Berlin. Göksu’s interest lies in chronopolitics and hybrid texts that deal with the performative lingo(s) of contemporary lifestyles. As a non-native English writer, their texts play with multilingualism and syntax. Influenced by Arabesk culture and late modernities, Göksu imagines new situations out of real encounters that point out the problematics of hetero-patriarchal structures. Orientalism, self-Orientalization (the perception of the 'Eastern', and how the Eastern sees themselves through this construction); camouflage and self-censorship are the topics Göksu researches on. Göksu was nominated for The Dieter-Ruckhaberle-Förderpreis and was one of the winners of Live Works Prize Vol. 8 at Centrale Fies with their piece Cabaret Portrait: Döner Blackout III. With the support of the Berlin Senate and Sophiensaele, they made the piece AN(A)KARA in 2021.
ISABEL GATZKE works as a dramaturg in Berlin and Zurich at the intersections of contemporary dance and performance. Her practice is characterized by a close connection of dramaturgy as research and as a method in artistic processes and is informed by her background in cultural studies and her exploration of language and movement. In this way Isabel has worked with artists including Ana Lessing Menjibar, Judith Förster and Olivia Hyunsin, as well as in the team of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel festival. Acayip Mahlukat is the third collaboration with Göksu Kunak after AN(A)KARA and PETROL.
Combining artistic disciplines, NAGI GIANNI likes to imagine and then create immersive spaces where choreography, set design, costumes and masks are one with the performers who inhabit them. Since his first creations, he has approached the mask as an extension to alter the body and its identity in relation to a given environment, to confront interiority and exteriorisation, the intimate and the public. He questions the relationship to the identification of the self in the digital age, and develops in parallel a oneiric imaginary where the animal, the cyborg, the mythological and the ghostly converge. These figures of the uncanny are for him a means of opening up other relationships to the perception of reality through an approach that questions and displaces what is already known and clearly identifiable.
FLORIAN GREß studied theatre studies, history as well as cultural and media management at the Freie Universität Berlin. As a production manager in the field of dance and performance, he currently works with Göksu Kunak, Enad Marouf, Layton Lachman and Jubal Battisti. He has also worked as a freelancer for Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022, Forecast / Skills e.V. and for several editions of Tanz im August - Internationales Festival Berlin (2018-2021).
Annegret Schalke lives and works as a dancer/choreographer and lighting designer in Berlin. She holds a degree in mathematics and completed her studies in dance, context, choreography at the HZT Berlin in 2013. As a dancer she has worked with Eva Meyer-Keller, Sheena McGrandles, Heiner Goebbels, Rose Beermann, Julian Weber, among others. She also creates lighting designs for dance/performance, for example in collaborations with Enrico Ticconi & Ginevra Panzetti, with Michelle Moura and others. Since 2014 is part of the light/sound/video artist residencies Gangplank with Bruno Pocheron and others. She is co-founder of the choreographers' collective B A G.
Concept, Performance, Text, Installation Göksu Kunak Dramaturgy Isabel Gatzke Sound Studio Labour Costume Nagi Gianni Light Design Annegret Schalke Producer Florian Greß
A production by Göksu Kunak in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE. Funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds. The research phase was supported by FREISCHWIMMEN as part of the program "Verbindungen fördern", funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media through the program of the Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste e.V. Media partner: taz.