I. Soldier, 2006 (video still), video, single channel projection (split screen), 7:14 minutes, sound, courtesy of the artist
Köken Ergun examines the rhetoric of government by means of a speech filmed at the Istanbul stadium on Turkey's national holiday. In the work I. Soldier (2006), Ergun uses documentary excerpts from this official event, which he filmed with the assistance of others. This disassociation between the artist and the documentary art, and its duplication and diffusion, are designed to undermine the power of images produced by a single camera, which is wielded by a single person. The documentary materials were then reedited in a manner that produces a different image of the filmed reality. Ergun presents the same event in two parallel frames. In one frame, an ode to the "Soldier" is read in a pathos-infused voice, while lyrical music plays in the background. The second frame features, in slow motion, the figure of an actual soldier standing beside the person reading the poem. This double frame produces an alternative reading of the ode as a homoerotic love poem. Ergun contrasts these two images with a range of insignificant details, such as the uncomfortable smiles of audience members and empty plastic chairs. The pathos-infused soundtrack stands out in contrast to this visual montage, which undermines the coherence of the official performance and offers alternate interpretations of it. By reordering various fragments of reality, Ergun i exposes and deconstructs the mythical basis of this national ceremony.
Born in Turkey, in 1976; lives and works in Berlin