What makes us who we are (and what does that mean in our immediate environment; work, culture, relationship, country, family, region)? This is the question I would like to talk about with a variety of people during my residency.
Will I be seen as the visiting British artist, looking at Indonesian culture through a “Westerner’s” glasses?
This is an unusual concern for me, as I am a Turkish born, disabled person living in London. But of course, my identity is constantly shifting, depending on my surroundings or the company I am in. I am defined ‘in the eye of the beholder’. I would like to explore this line of thinking further – does ‘who we are’ tend to be in cohesion with our environment/culture/surroundings, or is it pushing boundaries? If I ask questions around this in English, will the answers be different from questions in Indonesian? (How) will this subject translate?
Asking the above question will form the basis for 3 parallel artistic journeys:
- The conversations initiated by it
- Improvisations with actors and performers exploring people’s answers (with the goal to have a better understanding of humans and human stories/conditions)
- A group of local artists will then respond to our conversations and improvisations (basically creating a mirror to how I exist in that culture/environment)
I use questions as a way to break away from assumptions and to have new conversations. In this case, the aim is to understand how we see/define/understand our own identity. Our answers will also provide a reflection of the references and vocabulary of the company I will be in. I would like to speak to and pose this question to many different people, and I am e.g. particularly interested in speaking to disabled people, displaced people (such as migrants or refugees), vulnerable people, campaigners and activists.