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Kiymet Dastan: I Am Afraid To (Not) Forget / Oblivion Stones series (2019 ) Memory Burn 1- 9 (2020)

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

I Am Afraid To (Not) Forget

2019 (Ongoing project)

Kiymet Dastan's work has been featured recently as part of the exhibition "Crystal Clear", which is taking place at the Pera Museum in Istanbul, which will end on March 20. The exhibition was curated by Elena Sorokina, and featured works from 20 artists "from different countries and generations who engage with the questions of transparency and opacity, earth and de-growth, and the extractive logic that we have to challenge. Created in the context of the pandemic, the question of sustainability in artistic and curatorial practices became central for the exhibition, affecting changes in its structure and choices of material the artists would use." (From the museum brief). The conceptual framework of "Crystal Clear" is based on the history, qualities, and uses of crystals and other minerals throughout time, and their uses in all areas of human activity, "from science and magic to technology and healing. They constitute a perfect emblem for the fluid and porous borders between animate and inanimate, organic and inorganic."

Here, we are featuring two of Kymet's projects from this exhibition, titled "I Am Afraid To (Not) Forget/Oblivion Stones Series" (2019) and "Memory Burn 1-9" (2020).

Oblivion Stones series (2019 -)

Optical media (type-7 plastic, aluminum, silver, gold)

Dimensions variable

The valuable stone-like forms used in melting the discs were obtained from the waste brought in from ancient ruins to fill Beirut’s coastline. Through those gestures of deformation and reconstruction, what is created is a new object loaded with forgotten memories, which I call Oblivion Stone. Produced in Istanbul, the new pieces (Oblivion Stones) were realized by using the forms of the stones I have collected from selected regions in Turkey so as to trace the erased and misrepresented collective memories within geological forms. In addition, as the continuation of the Memory Burn series, which documents the heat-induced deformation of the material of discs, whose smooth surface must be preserved and that should be kept away from heat as long as memory is stored on them, a video work is presented, featuring different kinds of optical disks, including archival grade disks composed of rare metals such as gold and silver.

The project uses the stone form as a guide in shaping the works and draws on the metaphor of a shell to speak about form itself. It also questions the meanings associated with creating a “precious” stone form and plays with the idea of values attached to commercial or cultural artefacts. What is left behind from destruction? In Jacques Derrida’s terms, how is the past represented by a trace in its absent presence? In other words, can a material residue become a proof of its erasure as well as a remnant of forgetting? If the lack of recollection of the forgotten affirms its absence, what kind of an aesthetic and poetic language does a form made out of remnants create?

This project constitutes part of my ongoing investigation into memory, legacy and customs in the contemporary world, even as it probes the poetic horizons of materials and time.

This project is supported by SAHA as part of the Sustainability Fund.


Memory Burn 1- 9 (2020)

Camera / Berker Ersoy

HD video

20’ 25” Loop

I Am Afraid To (Not) Forget derives from my experimentation with melting discs – archival devices that now are becoming obsolete – creating pseudo-geological, crystalline disfigurements, highlighting the material and metaphorical ties between thick geological layers and today’s speeded-up technologies. These discs include CDs, DVDs, Archival Gold CDs-DVD’s, M-Discs and others. Taking off from the evocative patterns I traced along the Beirut National Museum and the Beirut Mineral Museum, ancient sites, and disappearing pirated video stores in Beirut, this process traces the way material conditions, human societies, and media technologies shape how memory is recorded, preserved, replaced or erased.

1 - Memory Burn - CDR-Gold

2 - Memory Burn - PCRS-Platinum

3 - Memory Burn - DVDRDL-Aluminum

4 - Memory Burn - DVDR-Gold

5 - Memory Burn - CDRA-Gold

6 - Memory Burn - CDR-U.Metal

7 - Memory Burn - CDRAzo-Silver

9- Memory Burn - BR-Polycarbonate

Installation :

About the author\artist:

Kıymet Daştan (b. 1980, Turkey) is an artist based in Istanbul. She holds an MA in Design from the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, and a BA in Sculpture from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, Turkey. She recently completed the fellowship of Homework Space Program at Ashkal Alwan fine art association in Beirut, Lebanon (2019). Her experiments with form stem from conceptual projections and generate questions about memory, legacy, and conflict between systems and social roles, while exploring the poetic horizon of materials. She is looking for imageries of fragmented memory among the circulated and repeated symbols and signs of everyday life.

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