Levent Çalıkoğlu

Extra Extramücadele – 2007

Extrastruggle penetrates us with the historical sociology of visual and political culture, as if to draw blood from our eyes and our memory. Every single item of information circulated by the devices of ideology is a ghost it may borrow. It produces from these, in its own words, "a whole, a Frankenstein": The steep path where the typology of nationalism, which has entered social life intravenously meets pictograms is eroded by it, it renders ironic the attack of popular catchphrases on the unconscious by using 'mundane' signs, it cuts, dissects the texts, surfaces, discourses, photographs and images where the glorious icons of Kemalism and the fascist ideology square up, and then sews them back together again and again. This is a huge body which sways as it walks, carries its hitch and hunch as natural parts of its body and hates the way it looks in the mirror with its skin partially covered by scabs. It suppresses its fear by launching attacks, it demands that the apologetic do not apologize, it crushes those which are caught beneath its body when it reaches out to feed its babies.

Extrastruggle does not make do with abstract theory and does not take cover in discourse. It has a side to it which sustains itself with life-experience. It occupies itself with formal gestures that may rout the gangrenous food sources of politics and culture. This mode of attack is a lot more destructive than direct acts of resistance. These visual interferences sharpened by a refined graphic language, force us not to dream up fantasies, or to desire, but to suffer the pain of an ethical and political settlement of accounts. I can not tell if Extrastruggle approaches this rigid language, which leaves its intended object defenseless with political correctness or from the position of a wounded subject. Even when it says "Look how reactionary they are, how fascist, how dictator-like", behind the coldness borne out of forms, I think it adopts a pitiful attitude towards its heroes. For example, the Turban Soray character, which presents a turban wearing urban girl trapped between the discourses of political motive and the inevitable reflection of belief, is touching enough not to be just wiped aside in a stroke. Apparently, she is a cartoon hero who has swallowed a tad more ink than her equivalents. She wanders around as a cut-out figure and all her expression is accumulated in her eyes tinged with mascara. One does not have much chance of escaping her, since she is far too sweet to be hated. This judgment might be arising from my ethical and political hypotheses. But I think that this is exactly what Extrastruggle is trying to do. To stand both within and outside of a position and to remind me, from the top of the boundary it is trying to elevate or curtail, to remind me that I am human rather than discourse. Does my wandering in this interspace make me a politically correct yet ethically contradictory individual? Perhaps. Yet such a settlement of accounts and gratification separates me from politicans who are not ashamed of switching alliances, it allows those who I have watched to touch my skin, it prevents me from getting lost among signs and colour coded maps. To put it otherwise, it saves me from being the ghost that Extrastruggle exorcises.

Translation: Nazım Dikbaş