past tense story one

with covid-19 the art scene is changing unpredictably – how do we make use of this uncertain time?

we are now moving to a digital realm – it is challenging, draining, but also very interesting, particularly as a tool to tell a complex story collaboratively, across ‘social distance’.

before the pandemic, my studio was my safe space, but now i need a digital one which I can invite my collaborators (actors, survivors, witnesses, experts and consultants) into. with the forced intimacy of these digital spaces, i need to find out what ‘safe’ and ‘creative space’ mean. especially while addressing confidentiality when working with a sensitive subject.

with past tense story one, i wanted to explore the possibilities for storytelling and intimacy in digital space by inviting actors for improvisation sessions to look at the themes, characters, stories, and how to be, and to be creative, in this digital space. 

portrait photo with pebbles seen under the half open window


photo by ck

however, these new modes of connection raise several questions: how do we take care of one another and provide mutual support in a digital setting? how will we establish trust? 

through a collaborative film-making process, this project opens up narratives around male on male sexual violence in a nuanced and non-judgemental way. with the lockdown, it was about finding new ways of working.  finding ways to collaboratively create improvisations, where we all felt safe and supported enough to go deeper into this sensitive subject. this helped me to rethink the necessity of digital communications as an artistic tool rather than a limitation.   

we intended to collaboratively create improvisations where we all felt safe and supported enough to go deeper into the sensitive subject of sexual violence. this R&D was an exploration of past tense story; therefore, we played, interacted and explored the themes, characters, and stories, and discover how to be, and be creative, in this digital space. 

there was a safeguarding enabler on hand throughout the collaboration and sharing as well as time and space for processing. 

with the emergency funding from arts council, it was interesting to engage with the characteristics of different digital platforms, and compare their relationship to specific kinds of physical space in this process. 


  • lead artist – caglar kimyoncu
  • sensitivity consultant – tanaka mhishi
  • acting consultant – rob thorpe woods
  • tech consultant – albert barbu
  • lead artist assistant – zeynep dagli
  • actor – nailah cumberbatch
  • actor – maanuv thiara
  • actor – stephen davidson



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