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Rafet Arslan: Library of Babel 1- “Ziggurat Tamer”

Written by Sabine Küper on . Posted in Feed the Sense, Subversives



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  • Atrocity at Outer Space
  • Atrocity at Outer Space
  • Atrocity at Outer Space
  • Hayaka Artı Gallery, Opening at the 16th od January 2013
  • Kiss
  • Ägean Monster

Library of Babel 1 – “Ziggurat Tamer”

The reference of the “Library of Babel” evokes a couple of associations. The famous short story of Jorge Luis Borges’ (1941) describes the architecture of a universe-size Library. The discussion following the text scrolled around the infinity of knowledge regarding endless possibilities of combining knowledge and creating new relations. Several artists have worked on this motive, while Borges himself named a collection of fantastic narrations his “Library of Babel” (1974).

But what kind of profession does a “ziggurat tamer?” do?

Ziggurats were massive structures built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex which included other buildings. The precursors of the ziggurat were raised platforms that date from the Ubaid period during the fourth millennium BC.

The tamer as an image in Turkish art history refers to Osman Hamdi’s famous painting “The tortoise tamer”. It was crafted in 1906/1907 and satirized the slow attempts to reform the Ottoman Empire.

The verbal combination of a massive architectural structure with the attempts of a human drilling animals in Arslan’s title for the exhibition gives hints for the artists inner drive. The Library of Babel includes endless strings of meanings and contradictions. Paintings, objects and newly recorded music, the robotic dreams, let you enter Rafet’s world of siber gnosis. The artist, who is publishing a magazine under the same title, sees himself in the tradition of the Situationist International. The denial of the linearity of time and meaning is crucial for the Situationists, deconstruction a central method of creation.

Exhibition at Hayaka artı Istanbul, 16.01.-31.01.14



Rafet Arslan published a collection of own texts in a small booklet titled “ziggurat tamer”.

“Memory thieves” is a lyrical text expressing the spirit of this fine exhibition.

Memory Thieves

Cybernetic death is like the murder reflexes of the history of libido as the projection of a curse ….

Traumatic lust grows along geometric lines. The stripes of a crosswalk are gilded by a crown whose royalty is hidden in a forbidden city. Burning desire turns to the kiss of a Zombi, while the flowers growing on the garbage dumb are falling into an acid silence.

The streets, towers and headquarters are cluttering in confusion; it’s said the Memory thieves would be responsible.

Symmetry can get like a fetishistic obsession. The rotten smell of the Vulva of the old Queen is spreading along a worn down Byzantine quarter. Can’t letters get out of control? They did, they do get out of control. Bending in front of a Fascist German Penis, Pages are emptied from poems.

This stuff called meaning doesn’t make a penny; 15 bullets…. The Canvas at the borderlines of the Kingdom; 15 bullets… The silenced body towards the call of sin; 15 bullets…

The atlas, that is painted with children’s pictures, opens itself only by force to art brut. From far a piece of meat with a bursted eye is visible. The lizard parts filling the vacuum like a pirates eypatch are passing to my space into the junked silence of an iguana out of breath.

Memory thieves built an occult crime gang, the can cause deviations in the mementos of a cities population. There are rumors, that some mirrors can be turned to their gates. Some tentative fugues can freeze humans and animals; some cyberspace database of the past. The queen will sentence the guilty ones to livelong existence as galley slaves, if they are captured.

While the Narthex of time turns into a transmitter for the Apocalypse, communications is whirling inside of an enormous crater of chaos.

Can you talk, when you are silenced by a growing vacuum of communication frozen in the stuttering of hesitation? Questions interrogating sins, do you have the courage or not to translate them into the language of the Middle East?

The question is maybe the answer itself though.

Written 2009-2010 by Rafet Arslan, published in: rafet arslan, ziggurat tamer, Kült Nesriyat- Istanbul 2014

also read about: Library of Babel 2- “Successive Totems and other stories”  http://senseoftime.inenart.eu/?p=5298

related post: Periferi Kolektif: http://www.inenart.eu/?p=1163 

and: Hayaka Artı: discarted      http://www.inenart.eu/?p=8769

and: Periferi. The terror of reality:   http://senseoftime.inenart.eu/?p=2236


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