Ateş Alpar’s performance titled ”The Universal History of Stone’’ will spread out in the Istanbul streets. The performance will last 24 hours on September 9, Friday from 00:00 to 23:59. Focusing on the the potency and frailty of the stone, the role it played in mass movements throughout the ages, and the conflicting memory it left behind, ”The Universal History of Stone’’ will be one of the longest performances that takes place in public space in Turkey.
Ateş Alpar who has been working on video and photography since 2012, has added performance art in their practice for the last two years. In ”The Universal History of Stone’’, the artist seeks for an answer to a question following collective memory: “What can be done with a stone?’’ The side where the stone starts moving and where it reaches, how it constructs and destroys a building, its uniqueness and ordinariness form the ends of a dilemma in Alpar’s performance.
The Universal History of Stone
“We are made of star stuff.” – Carl Sagan
The universe and nature is a basin of currents and accumulations. What is fluid at one scale becomes solid at another. Hydrogen gas released from an exploded star accumulates in the heart of another star as fuel for a new furnace of light and heat. High-energy photons released from the star turn into carbohydrates, which store energy in the tissue of plants that can trap them on a planet’s surface. Star dust accumulates primarily as stones. Nature is above all the eternal dance and memory of these flow-accumulation cycles.
A planet is often a gigantic stone and thus a stellar memory. Likewise, the stones on earth are also cosmic, geological and geographical memories. The memory of the stone encompasses different powers in its physicochemical structure. What can be done with a stone? A house can be built. Then we would have included a cosmic-geological memory in our home. Granite or marble makes the stardust shine again with the radiance of a statue in the hands of the artist, who activates the powers they hide.
A hard enough stone that fits in the palm of the hand can become part of the agency of a mass movement. There it allies with bodies, with emotions, with the forces of struggle and retreat, freedom and tyranny. The hand that holds and throws the stone is the intersection of cosmic forces with the mass desires of the bodies that guide the hand. At this point, the responsibility of holding the stone comes into play: With what desire and for what purposes will the cosmic forces enveloped by the stone be allied? How aware is the hand holding the stone of the power and memory it holds? Which formation of a social memory and how will this cosmic memory, which opens to the social, participate in? How will we build our house and our future with these stones? Questions of stone for the hand holding it, begin with these. Stone, perhaps, is primarily a question: What will you do with me? – Ateş Alpar
Special thank you for Protocinema and Versus Art Project for their support.
Thanks to Ahmet Öğüt, Banu Cennetoğlu, Begüm Özden Fırat, Cengiz Tekin, Dilan Alataş, Erkan Özgen, Mehmet Said Aydın, Melih Aydemir, Merve Şen, Oğuz Karayemiş.
Information on Performance
“The Universal History of Stone”
9 September 2022 | 00:00 – 23:59
(Photography: Ateş Alpar, Stone, 2022)