My name is Fatih Gençkal, I am a performing artist and founding co-artistic director of A Corner in the World, a festival for performing arts and an independent collective for curatorial practice focusing on performing arts and related fields in Turkey. Today, I want to start sharing with you a series of conversations I had with some of my artist and art worker friends from around the world during the Covid-19 lockdown. I am writing this to talk about why and how I want to do this.

My first month into Covid-19 lockdown, amid the explosion of content and discussions in almost all fields, I started to feel lonely in my head. I started these conversations with a curiosity about what some of my friends around the world, artists that I feel lucky to know, are doing in conditions of lockdown. The artists I was particularly curios to hear from originated from different corners of the world: Tehran to Casablanca, Ramallah to Athens, Bucharest to Beirut.

At a time when most communication takes place through visual and aural media at such great speed, I wanted to have a conversation in the form of letters, in this situation emails, over a period of time. Deep down, I longed to cultivate the patience of correspondence, the time to let what the other says sit in for a bit and the freedom to drive the conversation together to where it needs to go.

I wanted, through these conversations, to reflect on my process and that of the other and hoped to have my friends do the same. Quite quickly, this became my main occupation during lockdown, hard to maintain and deal with at times and wonderful to explore at others.

These conversations took place over a period of time in which, I believe, we have changed. In a time we felt insecure, unsure, vulnerable and maybe anxious. I wanted to throw each other questions to practice articulation, of our confusion if not anything else.

Each conversation starts with the same question ‘What do you see happening with you and around you since the beginning of home confinement?’ and takes a different shape and touches upon different topics. Some continued well into the post-lockdown processes, some didn’t even proceed for more than one question and some still continue. I started out with some rules and ideas but in time they got bent and broken. I will share with you the conversations that continued, one every Sunday.

I am grateful to all my friends, all the wonderful artists who have been so kind to open up and share this process with me.

I hope you enjoy reading these conversations.

Fatih Gençkal
July 20, 2020, İzmir

Conversations is produced by A Corner in the World, 2020
It is realized with the support of The Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.