korlesme (blindness)

videography by Çağla Öztek, editing and sound design by Aras Ozgun
6:30 mins, Hi8/Betacam, Ankara, 1996

  This video is an interval between two women’s gazes. First shot is a dialogue between a woman and a man behind the camera that she looks into; “What do you see?” ”—I see you”, ”—My eyes?”, ”—Your face”, ”—All of it?” ”—Everything”, ”—Really?”, and the video gets cut off before her last word. The second gaze belongs to another woman, who paints her face by looking at her reflection on TV, by using the camera as a mirror. The two gazes confront, juxtapose and look into each other.

But, there is a bit more about this video. The first image is an accidental recording of a dialogue between me and Nur, which I discovered in a tape long after our troubled relation ended. Second shot belongs to Cagla, whom I started learning to play with video together in the early 90’s in Ankara. She recorded these images alone at home on a depressed day; she attached the camera to the TV set, sat in front of it and painted her face for hours by looking at her reflection on the screen. When she showed me the video next morning, we were both amazed with the power of images, but didn’t know what to do with the material at all. A few years later, after we separated and she moved to Istanbul, we met again and she sadly told me that there has been a theft at her apartment, her camera bag was stolen with all her tapes in it. I asked this footage, she said that tape was also gone. Two years later, I was looking for somethings in a pile of old VHS tapes, and found a copy of this footage, accidentally dubbed into VHS while copying some other stuff we shot together. The image was weary from dubbing and the passing time; the colors of the make up on her face faded away, the reflection of her eye on the screen on her iris was barely clear behind the dropouts, the overexposed picture was pulsating with the feedback of the light emitting from screen, bending, stretching, tearing. I was fascinated with the tape, I started playing with this ghostly image. I slowed it down to see every dropout, every pulse of the light, every frame of that eye looking at itself. In my own way, I made the video she didn’t have the chance to make.

This is a video about electronic dust sedimenting over layers of time.

Aras Ozgun, New York, 2009