with Zişan I Heidelberger Kunstverein
“ Conducted in depth and projected at length” is an untimely collaboration between Iz Öztat and Zisan that attends to the coincidence between the imaginary potential of a river island and the destiny of Adakale, an actual submerged island in the Danube River within the borders of present-day Romania. Drifting between various courses of time – the time it takes for the river to claim its bed and for an island to emerge, the time required for an island to become a territory, the time one devotes to being possessed, the time invested in taming and interrupting the flow of water until an island is flooded, the movement of articulating a drifting island in the present, the vision of a future which reconstructs the island as a tourist attraction, the linguistic time dedicated to imagining otherwise – Iz and Zisan search for something missing.
Upon encountering Adakale in 1915 as a de jure Ottoman exclave in the Balkans and a site of projected imperial longings, Zisan was inspired to write her utopian fiction titled Cennet/Cinnet (Paradise/Possessed) Island. Located on a river that acts as a border between two nation states, the autonomous Cennet/Cinnet commune relates to time as being possessed, to gender as shades of blue, to resources as commons and to family as a meandering passage. Zisan’s text, sketches for Cennet/Cinnet (Paradise/Possessed) Island and selected documents relating to Adakale from Zisan’s Utopie Folder are exhibited.
Iz Öztat’s journey leads to an absent island, since Adakale was submerged in 1968 due to the construction of Iron Gates Dam. Iz engages with the present that surrounds its absence and depicts a drifting river island articulated collectively. The channeling séance held somewhere between the absent island of Adakale and Zisan’s Cennet/Cinnet (Paradise/Possessed) Island is a manifestation of the dialogue between Iz and Zisan, which accompanies the exhibition in the form of a publication.
Iz Öztat (1981) has been collaborating with Zişan, who appears to her as a historical figure, a channeled spirit and an alter ego. Zişan (1894-1970) left Istanbul in 1915, fleeing from the Armenian Genocide. She crossed paths with the European avant-garde as she drifted with political commitments, coincidences and obscure obsessions.