TEXT



Q is non-existent in Turkish 




Published withinthe book of

Re: [aap_2019]

 
The publication titled Re: [aap_2019], produced in conjunction with the inaugural edition of the Arter Research Programme that took place between October 2019 and July 2020, follows the trajectory of the individual researches of participants and the collective experience shared throughout the programme. 

January 2021
300 pages
16.5 x 24 cm
Turkish | English
ISBN 978-605-69490-7-4
Edited by: İz Öztat and Merve Ünsal
Translated into English by: Ekin Can Göksoy, Çağla Özbek, Aslı Seven, Merve Ünsal
Design: Okay Karadayılar and Ali Taptık (Onagöre)


                                                        



I. 


I can begin like this*:

I spent three months at the Schwules Museum* in Berlin(1). The curator of exhibitions and programmes that I was to work with had stopped coming to the office(2) as she had grown tired of the misogyny(3) at the museum. I spent the majority of my time at the museum library and the archives. A gallery nearby was in preparation for an exhibition parallel to the Christopher Street Day(4) and the curator of the exhibition wished to display a selection of queerzines from the museum archives, so I was in charge to explore queerzines from Canada, USA, Germany, Russia and France, produced mostly in the 1980s and the 1990s. In this way, I was able to remain by myself at the cold, dark, disheveled archives in the basement of the museum, among dozens of materials piled on top of one another(5).

The museum had allocated an apartment for me for the period I would be staying in Berlin. This apartment used to belong to Eric Kühn, a volunteer member of the museum and a retired mapping engineer. It was rumoured that Eric’s sudden death in this apartment approximately six months ago was due to a heart-attack triggered by an overdose of poppers(6). It also appeared that he had bequeathed the entirety of his assets to the museum, including his house. Despite the ongoing legal case due to Eric’s heirs claiming ownership over his inheritance, the museum suggested that I might stay at this house as long as I keep it on the downlow. Before I could move, we – Uta from the museum, a German man who did not speak English at all and had presumably been Eric’s partner, and I – had to carry Eric’s belongings to this German man’s house. A few African masks, Persian kilim rugs, an ivory coffee table from India, some Chinese porcelains and cardboard boxes whose content I was not privy to. What we did had not struck me as odd at the time, but when I realised that these valuable belongings had been carried out of the house with the fear that I would ruin, steal, or even sell them, I was disturbed. The fact that I was seen as a potential criminal was not a problem in itself, but I could very well interpret the way these belongings were moved away from me – meaning, to a safe space – through my own help and labour as an exercise of discipline on a micro level. Uta, who was one of the museum’s directors, occasionally spoke to me in English, providing bits of information concerning the house, Eric, and the objects: “The floor is coated with a strange material, so anything that drips will leave a mark(7), I suppose Eric had a plan to cover the entire floor with leather.” I am not surprised by this possibility, the floor clearly announces its expectation of another layer on top through its sheer rawness. Cables are springing out from the walls, waiting to be connected to somewhere(8). Eric is fond of leather. Eric is an artist, a couple of walls feature paintings made on oxidised metal sheets; I assume these are by him. Later on, when I search for his first and last name on Facebook, I see the condolences written for him on his profile, the announcement of his death, and somewhere below, the announcement of an exhibition he participated in 2015. I don’t know whether it’s because only 15 people confirmed their status as attending or due to the banality of both the exhibition text and its visual, but I get the idea that Eric’s exhibition must have been boring Eric is a retired mapping engineer and a boring artist. During the first few days of my stay at his house, I naturally daydream and romanticise this situation; I imagine that Eric’s spirit is roaming somewhere in the house, that he does not quite enjoy my taking up residence in his house and that he will haunt me. One time when I am walking around naked in the house, I remember feeling uneasy with the idea that I may not be alone, but then keeping things as it is with the thought that Eric may take a liking for me(9). I sleep in his gigantic bed that draws you in, lie on his sheets (that I did not wash and kept their dirty state, ignoring Uta’s instructions), I use his shaving machine as I have forgotten to bring mine from Istanbul. I go through his clothes piled up in a corner surrounded by the bedroom curtains to see if there’s anything good. I find giant leather shoes and high-heel platform boots. Eric is much larger than I am, and Eric likes leather.

Peter, the museum’s archive manager, is my closest contact in the institution. He gave me a lengthy tour of the archives during my first few days at the museum, and told me how the materials in the archive had been brought together. Since the museum is funded by state support, member donations, entry fees and event tickets, acquisitions for the archive are made very rarely. The museum’s archive comprises of materials received from LGBT initiatives, personal archives of many friends, along with members of the museum who bequeathed their collections to the museum, like Eric. Although this is seldom, the museum also receives donations from outside of Germany. There are books, magazines, porn films, zines, publications and brochures from various initiatives, artworks, and even furniture.


During my first tour of the archive, I was immediately piqued by cardboard boxes containing Feliz Gonzales-Torres’ Join lined up on a few shelves, and I felt a bit sad that this work, a collection of papers, had been divided, boxed up and was now waiting in the archive. Some sections of the archive had been labelled under certain titles: AIDS, porn, health, newspaper, magazine and CSD are some of the categories I can recall now. These sections generally included numbered cardboard boxes in various sizes. Peter had not told me about the difficulties of categorising materials and evaded my questions such as “What constitutes as porn or art?” or “What qualifies something as a correct match for the lesbian shelf?”. The tremendous amount of uncategorised material was all he could tell me about. Every day a different gay man over 60 from the museum’s volunteers would come, grab a box from the archive and a few black notebooks (which I assumed were registry books(10) although I could not understand their German content) from Peter’s desk, place them above the box, and move to a segregated section of the office surrounded by frosted glass(11) to examine the materials, registering and categorising them. I used to imagine the space that lies beyond the glass as an operating room(12).

The time I spent going through the queerzines was the only time I could be by myself. I prolonged this time as much as I could, feeling anxious that someone might ask why I did not take the queerzines to the office upstairs and explore them there, doing my best to avoid any communication with anyone from the museum during the days I spent at the archive.

I did not spend more than fifteen minutes exploring the zines and immediately set upon going through the other shelves. I did not have direct access to most of the materials since I did not speak German, and although the photographs, objects and costumes offered more than what mere writing would, I could not gage what date they were from, read their labels or notes. I remember masturbating at the porn magazines from the 70s and the 80s a few times. Contrary to my assumption, there was next to nothing from, or relating to Turkey in the archives. Only a single section allocated to magazines and newspapers which covered an entire wall was sorted by country, and on one of these shelves was a folder labelled as “TR”. In this folder, there were a few issues of Kaos GL, a master’s thesis from Sabancı University, and for reasons completely unknown to me, an old exhibition catalogue from Arter, which made me think “What does this have to do with fags?”.

On what I think was the second or third day I spent at the archive, I remembered Peter telling me on the first day that objects donated by Eric were also kept in here. Since Eric had left all of his belongings to the museum, I assumed that this donation must include a great variety of things. I began searching through the piles in the archive, going through the labels on the cardboard boxes, and for some reason, I was looking for anything that might remind me of Eric’s giant stature, thinking a piece of such furniture – or at least something of value from an exotic country – would be among them. I was able to find them without much effort. A painting made on oxidised metal sheets which was almost an exact replica of the ones at Eric’s house was right there at the archive; I checked the corners of the painting and spotted Eric’s signature as he was the kind of artist who signed his work.

It saddened me that the painting stood there without any protection, yet I was also glad to receive this sign from Eric so that I could find him in the archive. There were cardboard boxes, containers, a giant mirror, a lifeless male mannequin, along with nearly ten frames which had been bubblewrapped. I found a pile of documents in the first (13) box I opened, and upon seeing words such as ‘notary’ and the like in the German notes I understood that it was Eric’s handwriting. I put these documents and the box aside and opened a relatively larger box to find various sex toys, leather whips, masks and glass buttplugs in it. The third box contained German books with the initials E. K. marked on their first pages. And then… the main thing that informs this essay happened. Somewhere in this pile, I saw a lone box which was both part of this stack, and also separate from it. It had a label of some sort which I recognised to be Eric’s handwriting, but the writing seemed almost gibberish and made it impossible for me to decipher its contents. All I could make out was that it was a proper noun, since the first capital letter (which was either an O or a Q) was followed by a full stop, and another word, which I guessed was a last name.

The box seemed so old and frail compared to the others that I was worried I might damage it while trying to pry open the intertwined flaps of its lid. I moved one of the flaps gently and put my hand inside: pieces of paper, surfaces I thought were photographs, something small with pages that was bound in leather… I took it out, it was a notebook; I opened it and the first thing I saw was an old newspaper clipping.(14) “…the prisoners, who were
caught mid-intercourse, were battered heavily and then murdered with a shiv.” I realised I had been reading Turkish only when I reached the end of the sentence, at which point I remember hearing the opening of the elevator door. I tucked the notebook into my trousers excitedly and left the room. Peter was calling my name in his German accent.

II. From A to Z


At that time, I didn’t tell Peter about the box I had found or the notebook I hid between my trousers and my underwear. When I went up to the office, I headed for the bathroom, pulled down my trousers and took the notebook out. I do not remember whether my immediate reaction was to check the cover of the notebook, or to turn its pages with a hope to find other materials written in Turkish, or to make sure that the newspaper clipping from Turkey was merely a random discovery. Now that I am writing this essay, I think I would have looked into the notebook first. I see the faint drawing of a bird on the first page I turn(15). After having briefly entertained myself with the questions whether it is made by pen or pencil, when the bird is dead or alive, or whether it is the drawing of a bird in the first place, I skip to another page. There I found a sentence I was looking for. If there were any more Turkish words in this mysterious notebook, it was as if it would stop belonging to someone else.

The first thing I felt was disappointment:

‘‘It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are. The olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.”(17)

EGNILSH. Handwritten. In ink (Someone once told me that ink disappears over time – does it really disappear? When was this written? Can the corner of my eye browse the rest of the page as my iris reads the first sentence it latches onto?(18) It obviously can’t.) I close one of my eyes and read the sentence above once again, thinking for some reason that this act might place the letters where they should be. It doesn’t. I continue reading with both eyes. My eyes work in an uncanny cooperation(19). Everything seems clearer. I shut them both. Dead birds appear in my mind’s eye(20).

As I’m about to move to another sentence… someone knocks on the door. The time, however biref, I have spent sitting on the toilet seat must have signaled something to my body. I have the sudden need to poop. The knocking on the door again. I have to get out. It seems that someone else’s need is more urgent. I make haste to turn another page and look at the first word I come across. It says MART*. I think of other languages, but “Mart” is definitely TRUKISH.

TURKISH, I yell out. The person behind the door mutters something in German, it’s not hard to guess that my silence triggered an outburst of anger. I get up, cross my legs and contract my anus, as I have been doing since I was a child in situations like this. If I can keep this posture long enough, my poop will travel back to its previous spot. I place the notebook on the floor as I speedily get up and smile while seeing it from above (21). Looking at it from this new perspective, I feel as if I have made a discovery. This notebook is a piece of treasure. Its cover is made from some sort of leather. Still, this notebook could not belong to Eric, I don’t think it’s likely that Eric could speak and write Turkish, and the handwriting does not resemble his, either.

This sudden feeling I experience as an explorer does not last very long. How could I discover something that has been sitting somewhere all this time anyway?

As my poop ascends inside me like an elevator going up, I undo my legs. No one must see the notebook. This time, I tuck it inside my underwear. Another skin is touching mine now. When I turn the lock and open the door, I see someone leaning on the windowsill, waiting. They are wearing a t-shirt that says “It’s a kiss”(22) on it.

As I return to my desk in the office, the notebook is kssnig my bum.

III. Long Tune


As I stepped outside of the office, the profound interest I had in the notebook is interrupted by the streets, the sun, the booze and the music. Placed in my tote bag this time, instead of my underwear, the notebook lost its appeal the moment it was owned, like a book I bought with immense excitement yet did not turn its cover for years (23). I could only open its first page after I returned home and greeted Eric, before drowning in his gigantic bed.

The moment I took the notebook in my hand again, I began to fear that each word I was going to read would be vulgar, embarrassing somehow, or that they would be grand, ornate and boring. Owning this notebook, along with the prospect of allowing my brain to be inseminated by whoever’s jizz in word form, repulsed me. There was a full moon that night and I was already tense for no apparent reason, like a fish flipping about on receding water (my moon is in Pisces), and I was swimming in whatever water I had gulped up to then (24). More than being angry at myself (since I didn’t feel I had any control over anything), I had this deep anger towards the owner(s) of the notebook, the responsibility it evoked in me to know more and to pursue it until the end, and the feeling that I was shouldering a secret I did not want. I read the first page with this rage. And although – fuelled by this same rage – I would like to incriminate you in this breach by sharing this first page verbatim, I stop myself out of a sense of responsibility towards the writer, whoever he is, his copyright, and his ownership, and share it in the form of redacted or altered fragments:(25)

“It is 09:06 when I started writing this. There is a full moon (26).

I have been holding this notebook where I write my ideas for projects in my hand since 09:06, I start to enumerate and make a note of everything, along with this notebook (27). Not because I am not being productive in the moment and would not want to forget things later, it’s because I’m already being productive when I’m writing on these pages. The number of ideas, or projects I put down is 0, but it’s simultaneously 1, and at the same time, infinite. I enjoy keeping things around which make me forget my own mistakes and shortcomings, hence the existence of this notebook.

The other day, I took the wristwatch on my bedside table that I would always see while getting dressed and put it into my purse so that I wouldn’t forget to take it with me – although I had recently replaced the battery, it kept stopping. It still remains on the table. I will not change its battery again and it will forever be at 09:06, I will not hear its tick-tick-ticking;

it will not remind me of my aliveness, or that I have died, or that one can only step into the same river once. Because that one time will never end (28). I will be speaking all that I used to speak at this very moment. I will not forget or remember, and when everything is a moment, there will be no memories. I will not be young or old, as neither the young nor the elderly exist. Nothing in existence will point to its finitude or what does not exist, because I guess no one will assure them of their existence. No one will think of the differences between the sleeping and the dead. There will be no memories, no photograph, no photograph, no mourning, or there will always be mourning, there will always be photograph, everything will be the same photograph, and the same mourning. The fight between the two sides will be resumed until there will be no sides, and the fight will always continue. But I am sure, there will be no remembering, no forgetting, no fortune telling. There will be no strong women, no new acquaintances, and no meeting them either. No feeling, no falling, no floating. This is not relative. It’s not. It’s not going to disappear. There will be no photograph.

And there is no photograph (29).

The bird that hit the window, the bird that was stuck on the window, the bird drawing attached to the window, the bird that comes in and goes out the window, they will all be the same.”

I want to vomit photography, this is what I want, and I fall asleep.


IIII. Foot Note (30)


I got up from the bed. There is no full moon in the morning. I am under the spell of the dreams I had, I wonder why there were more than one, I do not know where one ends and the other begins. I feel like I remember seeing Nora in one of my dreams. And Belgin too, the three of us are at a funeral. Nora asks me with an angry expression, “How would you like to remember Belgin?”. “Well” I say. In truth, I do not know anyone named Belgin.

When I recount my dreams, I find myself relaying them in a different rationality than the one I experienced them in, and sometimes I realise I remember my dreams more when I tell them, and that each word I use to recall my dream to the conscious level is more revealing than the dream itself. I made coffee and the moment I sat on the leather chair, the leather stuck on my leg. I turned on my computer as I needed to send a few e-mails, I tried to remember them, I took the notebook in my hand to have a look at my to-do list. My own notebook. But the notebook I put on my lap, which was mine, reminded me again of the other notebook I left in the bedroom last night.

I tried to remember one sentence I read last night, the image of a stopped watch appeared in my mind. The vision of a time where the present stretches away to cloak the memories and their imaginings completely. This Turkish speaking person would be here right now had he achieved this ideal, along with his notebook. But they were not here, I was, and they weren’t (31). I checked the room. There is a photograph (32) on the wall that I am fairly certain is of Eric when he was young, showing someone scrawny, wearing white pants and a white shirt. His sunglasses cover his entire expression. I don’t know whether it’s the whiteness of his attire or the black and whiteness of the photograph, but it is a dark and frail figure I see on the photograph. It is too dark for a white person (33). I know that Eric is not the owner of this notebook(34), I just know this. Still, if I found that frail box among the objects that Eric had left to the museum, which were possibly there by mistake to begin with, I thought I could find a few things about the owner of the notebook (35) in this house as well.

I browsed the room without getting up, with my eyes only: cushions, the long, thin table affixed in front of the wide window, three bar stools lined up along the table, the radiator mysteriously placed in the middle of the room, the french press filled with the stale coffee I found in the house, the corkscrew on the kitchen counter. Nothing was enough to make me get up from my spot, but I continued to dream. I envisioned Eric inside the room. Eric who stands before me is no longer white, tall and of gigantic stature,he is a person around my height with a dark complexion, wearing white trousers and a white shirt, someone who insists not to take off his sunglasses… He does not see me, as if I am the ghost and not him.

He is sitting by the window, calling out to ask “Still in the shower?” with a thin voice.

It is apparent that I am not the one who is in the shower. It is at this moment that my ears could faintly discern the sound of water coming from the bathroom, someone is taking a shower.

I assume that it is Q. I’m excited to see him. Will he talk to me? Will he talk to me in Turkish? I listen to his movements, I hear the bottle cap of either a showergel or shampoo opening, the squeezing of the bottle and the sound plastic makes with air, and then I hear the the cap being closed again. The bottle slips out of his hand and falls to the ground (36).

Eric is still by the window, he never turns to face me; if he ever does, I have some questions for him. He takes his right hand behind his head, makes a subtle movement as if to pet his hair or scratch his head. He starts muttering a song – it’s more of a melody. He takes the same hand above his head this time, making circles. It’s as if he is washing his hair. But he has none.

The sound of water running in the shower stops, once more I direct my attention to the sounds coming from the bathroom, feeling a momentary need to hide but instead perching on the couch and making myself smaller. The door to the bathroom opens, he is about to come out, turn left, and then I will be able to see him. I will see what he looks like and get to ask who he is.

The door opens, but no one comes in.

“Your judgement is no good here,” Eric says, to me I assume, this time in Turkish. I get up, the bathroom door is open, there are no water drops on the floor, but I think my nose is detecting the smell of my shampoo. I pass by the bathroom and look inside the bedroom.

There is no one in there either. Q does not wish for me to have an image of him.

I see the leather-bound notebook beside the bed. Motivated as ever, I open the first page my fingernail touches.

“Things said about me:

- Troublesome

- Calculating

- No room for sadness in life

- Content with oneself but never alone

- Calm

- Good

- Bad

- Unfair

- Careless

- Vulnerable

- Beautiful

- Selfish

- Generous

- Tired”

I abide by the self-emergent rule of not reading more than one page at a time, close the notebook and return to the other room again. Eric is nowhere to be seen, the stool is empty.

I sit back in the chair, my leg sticks to the leather surface again. I grab my own notebook. My plan is to approach what I see in my notebook through the eyes of a stranger. I open the first page.

- Wondering if the meds give one realistic dreams.

It says. In the beginning, I don’t understand what this sentence is about, what the mentioned meds are, or when this note was taken, and all this makes it possible for me to read the text as if it is written by a stranger. But this sense of alienation does not last long, I immediately remember that boring context, that super banal moment. I start thinking in order to forget, to make a new memory and to squeeze this sentence in that moment. If I do this convincingly enough, the next time I turn the first page of this notebook I may be able to remember this new moment.

I keep thinking. And I insert new footnotes beside the old sentence as a reminder (37).


IIIII. There have been some 
complications...


I have a doctor’s appointment.

I step inside quickly, it’s the right building, the right level, the right room.

Male nurses and their fe- counterparts are inside, wearing scrubs in all sorts of colours. I know that I am not exactly sure why I’m here, neither the male nurses nor the fe-’s do. I think an operation might be in order.

- Has your doctor not informed you?

He hasn’t, actually. I’m here for an operation.

But… this… is a very serious operation.

Male nurses show me some samples from the drawers, (38) nails of various sizes have been grouped and lined up according to their length and girth. From small to large. Or from large to small. A colour scale following the nails on the plastic tray that houses the samples. From blue to the deepest shade of red. Or from red to blue.

– They will be implanting this inside you, this is a very risky operation.

The red one. The thickest one. And the longest.

I consent to the operation without giving it much thought.

The fe-’s hold my hands. Thank you, thank you, I mutter. But no need.

The doctor shows up as well.

He is sweaty and takes a breath as he walks in, wiping the droplets on his forehead with the sleeve of his white shirt (39).

Look, he says, we have to implant this inside you.

I am already saying fine, it’s fine.

How should I say, he says, it’s hard to elaborate.

I can’t tell him to not talk about it and just follow the procedure; he wants to elaborate.

– Your body… it does not know you are born yet, but if we implant this, we can help your body sense that you have been born.

It… is the thickest, bloodiest, and longest one.

Oh God, I say, how interesting. I am quite piqued.

– But this is a considerably risky procedure. You may never wake up from this operation. It’s your call.

I feel like I have to make a decision for the first time ever.

It’s right at this moment that a chaos erupts, whatever it is, sounds from the corridor, the male nurses are looking inside my mouth, and I seem to have made up my mind.

Alright, I say, let’s keep it as it is then.

If there’s any problem, I will come back again for you to implant it.

We shake hands and part ways.

The fe-’s smile. The male nurses seem to have found my decision to be irrational.

IIIIII. Kûğ


I had planned to go to the office that day and inform Peter of the situation. I was going to tell him about the box I had found in the archives, and if my plans went as I wanted them to, I was going to go down the archive and had access to the box again. My intent wasn’t to check out the other things in the box, it was rather to put the notebook where I had got it from and rid myself of this unstable mood that had prevailed since yesterday, and to forget about the notebook. I had not explored the notebook in its entirety, and it was not because I wasn’t curious– I was certain everything I would find in there would be 
interesting. I felt I had bonded with the notebook primarily because I had found it (40), just because it came out of a box that contained mysterious other items, from a dusty archive (41), just because it came from an uncertain history (42), because it was a private notebook (43) and not some printed matter and also because its content was in Turkish (44); reasons all of which I found banal. I had realised that I had, fuelled with a kür(45)atorial ambition, already turned the notebook into a project the moment I discovered it (46), and I assumed I would be relieved and freed from numerous questions once I got rid of it.

Peter wasn’t at his usual place.

I settled in my desk (which was riddled with the crumbs of the previous day’s sandwich) as if I had been there at the far corner of the office all morning and I just hadn’t been noticed, and as if no one would take note of how late I was. I immediately tried to grab whatever from my bag in order to appear busy. I realised I had left my laptop at home, on Eric’s leather couch, and needed to find something else to do. I only had Q’s leather-bound notebook and my own disheveled one. I took one of them out and opened a page in order to look like I’m working, I’m skipping some words due to my reading speed:

“I feel as though I am holding words.

Everything is a w… A word I am holding.

I back up away from………………..that moment.

I pluck ….. silver threads…..

…… the way they fly away with a blow. I have chalk dust left in my hand, the …..s depart. I smell it.

I pity my neck sometimes, it is too ….n to carry my head.

I cut it with an axe, with one single blow…”

As I think “what nonsense are these words again” to myself, I hear Peter’s greeting, a loaded good morning, and lift my head up. I tell him I would like to talk to him, and for some reason I start talking about Eric. Peter doesn’t know Eric well, he tells me Eric was an artist and liked leather and such; I already know these. I ask him what kind of a guy Eric was, as the person he describes sounds a little like everyone else in the world. Peter smiles when I inquire about the possibility of Eric speaking Turkish and makes a joke that I may have had some kind of a nationalistic dream, but then after my insistence, addresses the same question in German to the people who had known Eric better. From the words I am able to make out and the expressions of the people, I gather that no one thinks it possible that Eric may have spoken Turkish. Peter is curious to know the reason behind all these questions, and I mention the particular box I found among others Eric had left to the museum, the one that contained Turkish documents (47). Peters becomes interested. He shares his regret about not being able to open the boxes Eric left and mentions that there are possibly very interesting things in there, and that they will get the work done as soon as possible. I tell him that Eric may have had a Turkish boyfriend, and that the contents of the box may have belonged to him.

I don’t remember having thought these on a conscious level before, but for some reason these are the words that come out of my mouth. Peter does not find this strange, but I am surprised when I realise that all the English words I use to define kuğ are reserved to define a man. I am curious about the image in my mind, what was I imagining? A tulip bulb between the thighs? (48)

“Why don’t you take on this task?” Peter suggests, then goes over behind the frosted glass and comes back with the black registry book. He turns a page to explain how the bookkeeping works and translates some of the items noted in the German index to English for me. I nod my head to indicate all is well understood.

And suddenly I have been granted the task to register kûğ’s box. I return to my desk without anyone noticing, grab the other two notebooks and making a shield for them with the big registry book, head to the basement floor with the serious attitude of a surgeon going into the operating room.

IIIIIII. Untitled


I put on my gloves.

Contrary to my timidness the last time, I confidently stood in front of the box (49) with the authority of someone who was permitted, encouraged, and even appointed. I was excited. But it wasn’t like I didn’t know what I was going to do. I put my hand inside the box. The plastic gloves had dulled my senses, I couldn’t tell what I was touching anymore.

I open the lids wide open and I take out the two things that lie at the very top. It starts with a photograph: the staircase of a residential building with the note “morning” on it (50). I take out the second item. It is a drawing, the drawing of a headless bird that resembled the ones in the notebook (51). The framed photograph of an aluminum foil (52). And then, photographs of objects dated to a day that does not exist in February (53). And then immediately after, cards in the size and aesthetic features
of a tarot deck, each bearing a different visual and a matching word (54). And then, a sketch:



And then… my hand reaches a cone (55). I can’t quite guess what kind of tree it comes from, but its scales are closed, as if it refused to be pollinated. And then a deflated pink balloon comes out, its pieces are taped together. I smile. Deep down in the box, my hand touches a mug (56). It just sits there, exhausted. And then a yellowed photograph of Zeki Müren, cut out from a newspaper (57).

I take all the materials out of the box and line them up, making sure nothing remained inside. I look at them from afar. I cannot feel a thing. Yesterday’s excitement and curiosity is replaced by the haphazard manner of someone who is trying to complete a task. I must complete my duty, fill out the registry book, hand it to Peter, and go my own way.

I open the registry book and try to remember the categories in the German index Peter had explained to me. Title, Year, Type, Author/Artist.

Easy.

I assign numbers to everything in the box. For the space marked year, I put down “undated”, and fill out the field of author with, “Q”. Type? I pause. I note down “artwork” for each and every item. It moves me to be able to list an unidentified object as an artwork. I feel like I have put an end to a systemic injustice. Now they will all be worth what they deserve.

I notie that this feeling gradually escalates, it is like a strange drug.

Title? I can write down obvious titles like Cone, Calendar 1, Calendar 2, Zeki Müren. I do something else instead.

I open Q’s leather-bound notebook in front of me. I put down the first word that catches my eye as the title of the first item: Timeless. And so I continue, flipping pages, labelling everything I have found in the box.

Some of the titles I remember:

- The Flow Gets Stronger

- Spirals

- The Camera of a Zoologist

- Undertime

- Each Memory Triggered by Its Image

- Semantic Ambition

- Torn Days

- Photograph in the Future

- The Blind Who Cannot See the Landscape

- Photograph in a Dream

- I Cannot Place It in My View

- Time Inside Out

And so it continues. I am content with what I have done.

IIIIIIII. ?


I place each artwork back into the box. According to the order in the registry book.

When it’s time for the fortune cards, I flip and shuffle them, then select 10 out of the deck and line them up in the Tarot reading order: Current State, The Past, 
The Future or the Consequences, Hopes and Fears, Conclusion, etc. I pose a question and read my fortune.

addicted

regretful

resistant

adventurous

suffocated

brave

hurt

shrill

betrayed

worried

Bullshit, I say. I do not believe my fortune.

When I have placed everything back into the box, three things remain on the table. Q’s notebook, my notebook and the registry book.

I must register Q’s notebook in the registry book as well.

I add one more item in the bottom section of the registry book, and title it as Notebook.

I look at my own notebook, and then at Q’s notebook.

I tuck Q’s notebook back into my pants and place my own inside the box. I interlock the flaps of the box and close the box.

I take my glove off, and head back into the office to hand over the registry book to Peter.



1-Gay Museum in English. “Schwul” is a word that has historically been used to demean gay men. As the museum was being established in 1985, the transnational queer strategy was adopted and the insult was embraced. In 2009, the museum finally expanded its focus of representing mostly (white, German) gay men and began producing programmes to include other sexual minorities. The asterisk symbol marking the word Museum was added to symbolise all other unnamed sexualities. 2-
3- The museum had focused the entirety of its programmes for 2018-19 on women, but a number of board members, volunteers and contributors who were uncomfortable with this decision argued that the institution was essentially a gay museum and that it had to remain so, complaining that they were no longer represented by the museum and stating these complaints in numerous newspaper interviews.
4- Pride Parade, as it is called in Turkey and in many other countries of the world. Only Germany and Switzerland name this day as Christopher Street Day (CSD), referencing Christopher Street in New York where the Stonewall Riots took place. Contrary to the Pride Parade that has been banned for the last 5 years in Turkey, the parade in Berlin is a considerably commercial and masculine spectacle where big corporation vehicles convoy all day long.
5-
6- A legal drug generally used during sex that relaxes the smooth muscles in the body – including anal and vaginal contractive muscles – for about 1-2 minutes due to the highly inhalant nitrates it contains. It was first used during the “disco era” of the 1960s, and solidifies its place in gay culture from the 70s onwards7- 

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15- See Deniz Aktaş, ‘‘Silent’’, Re: [aap_2019]
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17-
It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are. The olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. (https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/more/articles/deos-it-mttaer-waht-oredr-the-ltteers-in-a-wrod-are)

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31 Now I can’t help but ask whether that’s really the case.

32 How can I be sure that it is him? Back then, I was sure.














33 White?
34 How do I know?







35 I will call him Q until I find out his name.































































36 “He is using my shampoo,” I think, and this bothers me.  





















































































































































































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40- I had also come to harbour some dislike towards this one part of me which couldn’t help but think that this was a divine coincidence, an invitation not to be refused, an esoteric sort of relation through time and people, as well as a libidinal bond formed with a ghost. The reason for this feeling is not because I find all the aforementioned incidents to be illogical or that I am some big fan of logic, it’s due to a reaction to the fact that the relation I formed with this object I found right after having read Object-Oriented Ontology (A) is purely of my own making. I also had no idea as to how I would come to form a relation with this object that was not rooted in my own fantasy. As such, the only solution seemed to be to get rid of the notebook.

41- I am not sure whether I would be less surprised and curious had I found this notebook on a street in Istanbul or a second-hand book shop in Berlin rather than in the archive of a museum.

42- I had not read every page in the notebook, I had scanned every part of it to see whether there’s any indication of a date or location though. So my reading experience had not gone beyond recognising a few words every once in a while. There was no information on the pages(B). This prevented me from contextualising the text, with each sentence reminding me of a different time, city and context (C). For instance, the mention of a graffiti without explaining what the writing said first reminded me of Gezi, and then 70s or 80s (D). Either Ankara or Paris or anywhere really that may have writings on its walls. It was as if Q wished to step outside the archive. But then when I browse my own notebook with the same gaze, there are no dates, names or places either.

A Harman, Graham. Object-oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything. Penguin UK, 2018.

B Although there is no information concerning the time of the notebook, I encountered drawings under the heading of “CALENDARS” across of a few pages, that I deemed to be from different times and geographies. There are numeric systems and charts here that I do not know whether they are real or fictional. I believed Q to be trying to determine his own time.

C Ezgi Tok, ‘‘Shifting Events and Possible Dilemmas’’  Re: [aap_2019]
D-



43- If this notebook had been published as the private journal of an anonymous Q, I would still be curious and buy it, though I don’t think it would particularly excite me if it were, for example, fiction.

44- I do not know why.

45- Kür, meaning “fake”, or a lie in lubunca, Turkish queer vernacular.

46- I already admit to turning this encounter into a ‘project’ by including various moments and haphazard sentences surrounding this notebook. Still, since the closest and most quizzical source I could turn to while pondering what I could contribute to this publication focusing on the concept of time during these Coronavirus days is this event that hap
pened to me as the Arter Research Programme went on, and since I did not include the content of the notebook unless I thought it was proper to do so, and since I am mainly interested in conveying my own relationship with the material, I do not think the inclusion of a few texts in this publication are particularly irresponsible towards neither Q nor the museum. I feel comfortable knowing that my main focus has been my own relationship with the notebook. As such, at the end of the day, I do not know what a kürator would do in the absence of someone else’s work.

47 I am not talking about the notebook.





49 t.n.: The word for “box” in Lubunca is koli, a euphemism for sexual relations.

50 See Ayşe İdil İdil, ‘‘Debt to Memory’’Re: [aap_2019], p. two.  

51 See Deniz Aktaş, ‘‘Silent’’ Re: [aap_2019],

52 See  Eser Özdemir, ‘‘10+2’’ Re: [aap_2019]

53 See Ezgi Tok, ‘‘Shifting Events and Possible Dilemmas’’  Re: [aap_2019]

54 See Gizem Karakaş, ‘‘Remembering the Future’’, Re: [aap_2019]

55 See Neslihan Koyuncu Bali, ‘‘Time Agent’’, Re: [aap_2019]

56 See Nora Tataryan, ‘‘Things to say at a funeral’’, Re: [aap_2019]


57 See Sarp Renk Özer, ‘‘Technopolitical Cookbook’’, Re: [aap_2019]