„To work as a journalist in the Southeast is dangerous because of the political conditions in Turkey. To be a Kurdish journalist is especially dangerous: The State recognises you as the ‘Other, the enemy, even the terrorist, if you are not a pro-state journalist and nobody from the official side trusts you. On the other side, Kurdish political groups mention you as the ‘Other’ as well.”
How does one produce images as visual proof of an ongoing war, as a document, under these conditions? What does it mean to produce, share and circulate images?
What links can we see, between the image production and its representation in the press?
Who selected this image and under what circumstances? Why is this part underexposed or this piece of film only available in a low-file quality? What can we not see in the images?
The film tells the story of journalists and fixers in the South East of Turkey, in Diyarbakir, who covered the clashes between the Turkish state and the YDG-H (later renamed into YPS-Sur), a group of Kurdish fighters when the peace process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish communities in the Southeast came to an end in 2015.
As travelling images, media cultures and landscapes form and shape the imaginations, hopes and fears that people have and create in their minds, this project looks very closely at the conditions of these “political image economies”. Starting from Ariella Azoulay’s idea of the civil contract of photography, an argument that anyone can pursue political agency and resistance through photography, even those with flawed or nonexistent citizenship, this project attempts to broaden the possible impact these photos could have. Not only acting as a tool for evidence, but rather for a reorganisation of the Social.
Visibility creates control and responsibility. The light of the public supposedly forces the people in power to produce a political narrative that can be attacked and criticised by journalists. It is an essential part of how democracy works. This mechanism does not work in Turkey. Despite the overall visibility of the conflict in the Kurdish regions through photos and videos that could act as means of evidence, fear and anger polarises and divides public opinion. How can the images they shoot yet become a tool of liberation, creating their own powerful stories outside the conventional media system. How can it crack and disturb the system from the territory of the “Outside” from a place of the “Other”?
The project was presented at the Film Market of DOK Leipzig and is currently in pre-production.