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The Interpellated Subject Speaks

Berin Gölönü »

The articles compiled here grapple with questions pertaining to spatial politics, the digital commons, non-representational politics, information inequality, and censorship. Placing these questions together in the journal offers an opportunity to examine the points where these topics start to intersect. Reading these nodes of convergence can shed light on the interconnectedness of systems of power, their abuses, and the limitations they place on the public’s rights and freedoms. Restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of information became openly apparent when the public started to push back against the systems of power operating within the state and the economy. Protests and uprisings such as the Occupy Movement, the Gezi Park resistance and the Ferguson unrest are just a few examples of recent protest movements around the world, but these are the events that some of the contributors to this issue witnessed in person or closely tracked on social media. Their participation in these events serves as a lens through which they examine the topics addressed in this issue.

Many of these articles highlight creative projects that articulate a language of dissent. Duygu Demir’s text on Anita Di Bianco’s publication “Corrections and Clarifications” pinpoints the climate of fear initiated by the September 11th attacks in the United States as the crucial moment in which Di Bianco launched her publication. It is also the moment when mechanisms of state surveillance across the world ramped up their efforts to more closely monitor and track our communications and movements. Media censorship certainly played a key role in controlling public access to information, or in prioritizing the information it wanted the public to receive, even while states were gathering more and more information about members of their publics. Some of the articles in this issue, such as the interview with the initiator of the project “Networks of Dispossession” (Mülksüzleştirme Ağları) and work by the activist group “Siyah Bant” (“Black Band”) track the ways in which censorship operates within Turkey, and profiles grass roots efforts to gather and disseminate information to the public. While grass roots modes of gathering and communicating information online and through social media hold promise, there are also many entities that stand to profit from restricting such access or in exploiting Internet users’ data rights. The texts by Betty Yu and Zeynep Tüfekçi focus on information inequality, particularly its relationship to economic and social inequality. Süreyyya Evren’s text on the range of political possibilities that were brought to light during the Gezi resistance highlights the public’s right to difference, whether that’s that is a difference of political opinion, differences in the way we act in urban space, or the myriad ways in which we attempt to make our urban spaces public, to try and counteract the homogenizing effects of a privatized development on of our environment.

Self-censorship may be one of the most chilling results of the curtailments of these liberties, while it is the only response effect that any one individual can directly change. Perhaps reading and thinking about different ways in which dissent is articulated can inspire us to recognize the systems of control that operate outside of us, without directly internalizing them.

Supported by:

ERSTE Foundation
MA 7 - Interkulturelle und Internationale Aktivitäten
Stadt Wien - Kulturabteilung MA 7

Collaboration with:

Istanbul Bilgi University

grafisches Element