What Khidr Says to Moses: Turn Around Me
Violence and Spirituality at the Turkish-Syrian Borderland.
What influence do faith and experiences of violence have? In this conversation, the anthropologist Yael Navaro and the artist Emrah Gökdemir focus on the zone of conflict between Turkey and Syria. Through the history of the southern Turkish city of Antakya, they trace how spirituality as its own power has survived and surmounted historical events and disasters. In Roman times under the name Antioch on the Orontes, the city was known as an important centre for trade and thus subject of numerous armed conflicts. After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and before the region was annexed by Turkey in 1939, the city was administered from Damascus.
At the heart of Navaro's research and Gökdemir's film is Khidr, a figure from pre-Islamic times revered in Islam. It is believed that God extended Khidr's life until the end of time. The Alawites in the Antakya region worship him in prayers and portraits. Navaro examines this mythical figure against the backdrop of the ongoing Syrian war and Turkey's involvement in it. The appearance of Khidr in unusual shapes and surprising moments in times of crisis is the starting point for an ethnographic-inspired criticism of political theory.
Emrah Gökdemir,painter, video and performance artist from Antakya, will present his movie »What Khidr Says to Moses: Turn Around Me« (8'34", 2015), which artistically illuminates the cult of Khidr. This event takes place in the context of the current exhibition »Terra Mediterranea: In Action«.