reviews

“Surprise me, give me something extraordinary, make the form important, challenge me, make me learn something new. This Turkish film, 45 minutes long, fulfilled the wishes of this old documentary addict.”


Tue Steen Müller, Review Araf


After meeting Didem at the Venice Biennale in 2015, I watched the second of her three completed films to date, Of Dice and Men (2011–2016). What a marvelous work! With tremendous intelligence and a light touch, she explored the condition of the dual citizen, focusing on the quotidian experience of two cities: Istanbul and London. Not only did Of Dice and Men evoke for me the kind of sublime synthesis of material that Chris Marker achieved in his epochal Sans Soleil, it also reminded me of my own highest aspirations as an artist: formal daring, a trust in judicious fragmentation, and a fidelity both to the demands of art and the responsibilities of collective memory.


Teju Cole


“As the artist sees it, engagement equates to accepting collective responsibility. The screen’s potential for gathering audiences time after time and sharing this collective responsibility is epitomized in Pekün’s research. While the world is inclined to fast-forward humanitarian crimes and the misery they cause, Pekün’s black and white images use time to question time and make us all share the suffering as they shift deliberately between the river, the bridge, the road, the military headquarters, the burial ground and the city. As the graininess of the images intensifies and expands in this process of sharing, every movement of the bodies incorporated in the camera frame evokes a both familiar and new grammar.”


Övül Ö Durmuşoğlu, I want to Feel: The Emotionality Threshold of POlitics  (2018)


“The film’s delicacy lies in the tautness of the contradictory energies at work and the notion of ‘araf’ (the Turkish word for limbo, or purgatory) is manifested throughout. Always alert to the sensory experiences of the viewer, its visual and sonic patterns are quietly perturbing, the simplicity of the images belying a highly-crafted work. It is both gentle and jarring, serene and perplexing; the sinuous curves of roads and railways disrupted by sharp transitions in speed, sound and thematic mode. These oppositions are what wins the film a lyric intensity that sustains its questing ethical imperative.”


- Clara Dawson, Review of Araf (2018)

- Barbara London, 50 Years of Video Art, Phaidon (upcoming)

Merve Kurt, PhD thesis, Les images mouvantes, le temps et la technique, 2018


- Elif Akçalı, “Essayistic documentary as an artistic practice in contemporary audiovisual works from Turkey” (upcoming, 2020)

- Didem Pekün’s haunting elegy film


“To live in the moment or to document the moment? A strange seamlessness foams up in between the truly cinematic and the more intimate descriptions of the everyday: a tram in London, or a window view from Istanbul. As cosmic background waves, the grandeur of the temporal ruptures; the intoxication of the future breaks through the sewn patches of the here-and-now. Passing through a number of different adopted positions, Pekün doubles and triples into persons and voices, into moments and eras, into histories and telltales. But Of Dice and Men is not a filmic essay about a protest movement somewhere, which sounds very ubiquitous today and not particularly incisive. The anxious loop between the everyday and the sublime and the artist’s question of whether we are able to move back and forth between them, and how, is not something specific to Gezi or Istanbul or Turkey but related to a profound moment of change and global transition of which Gezi is only a late symptom.”

- Arie Akkermans , SFAQ, Unfinished Centuries, 2016

Kirsten O'Regan, In Two Istanbul Galleries, Artists Piece Together Memories of Gezi, in Hyperallergic, 2010

November Paynter and Didem Pekun in conversation with basak Senova, Ibraaz

Of dice and men, Didem Pekun, in Art Asia Pacific by AMBIKA RAJGOPAL

Didem Pekün & Barış Doğrusöz Bianet interview

Murat Meriç “Yıldızımın Belgeseli” Radikal

Zeynep Oral, Ses ve yürek yüceliği



 

“Surprise me, give me something extraordinary, make the form important, challenge me, make me learn something new. This Turkish film, 45 minutes long, fulfilled the wishes of this old documentary addict.”

Tue Steen Müller, Review Araf

After meeting Didem at the Venice Biennale in 2015, I watched the second of her three completed films to date, Of Dice and Men (2011–2016). What a marvelous work! With tremendous intelligence and a light touch, she explored the condition of the dual citizen, focusing on the quotidian experience of two cities: Istanbul and London. Not only did Of Dice and Men evoke for me the kind of sublime synthesis of material that Chris Marker achieved in his epochal Sans Soleil, it also reminded me of my own highest aspirations as an artist: formal daring, a trust in judicious fragmentation, and a fidelity both to the demands of art and the responsibilities of collective memory.

Teju Cole

“As the artist sees it, engagement equates to accepting collective responsibility. The screen’s potential for gathering audiences time after time and sharing this collective responsibility is epitomized in Pekün’s research. While the world is inclined to fast-forward humanitarian crimes and the misery they cause, Pekün’s black and white images use time to question time and make us all share the suffering as they shift deliberately between the river, the bridge, the road, the military headquarters, the burial ground and the city. As the graininess of the images intensifies and expands in this process of sharing, every movement of the bodies incorporated in the camera frame evokes a both familiar and new grammar.”

Övül Ö Durmuşoğlu, I want to Feel: The Emotionality Threshold of POlitics  (2018)

“The film’s delicacy lies in the tautness of the contradictory energies at work and the notion of ‘araf’ (the Turkish word for limbo, or purgatory) is manifested throughout. Always alert to the sensory experiences of the viewer, its visual and sonic patterns are quietly perturbing, the simplicity of the images belying a highly-crafted work. It is both gentle and jarring, serene and perplexing; the sinuous curves of roads and railways disrupted by sharp transitions in speed, sound and thematic mode. These oppositions are what wins the film a lyric intensity that sustains its questing ethical imperative.”

Clara Dawson, Review of Araf (2018)

Barbara London, 50 Years of Video Art, Phaidon (upcoming)

Merve Kurt, PhD thesis, Les images mouvantes, le temps et la technique, 2018

Elif Akçalı, “Essayistic documentary as an artistic practice in contemporary audiovisual works from Turkey” (upcoming, 2020)

Didem Pekün’s haunting elegy film

“To live in the moment or to document the moment? A strange seamlessness foams up in between the truly cinematic and the more intimate descriptions of the everyday: a tram in London, or a window view from Istanbul. As cosmic background waves, the grandeur of the temporal ruptures; the intoxication of the future breaks through the sewn patches of the here-and-now. Passing through a number of different adopted positions, Pekün doubles and triples into persons and voices, into moments and eras, into histories and telltales. But Of Dice and Men is not a filmic essay about a protest movement somewhere, which sounds very ubiquitous today and not particularly incisive. The anxious loop between the everyday and the sublime and the artist’s question of whether we are able to move back and forth between them, and how, is not something specific to Gezi or Istanbul or Turkey but related to a profound moment of change and global transition of which Gezi is only a late symptom.”

Arie Akkermans , SFAQ, Unfinished Centuries, 2016

Kirsten O'Regan, In Two Istanbul Galleries, Artists Piece Together Memories of Gezi, in Hyperallergic, 2010

November Paynter and Didem Pekun in conversation with basak Senova, Ibraaz

Of dice and men, Didem Pekun, in Art Asia Pacific by AMBIKA RAJGOPAL

Didem Pekün & Barış Doğrusöz Bianet interview

Murat Meriç “Yıldızımın Belgeseli” Radikal

Zeynep Oral, Ses ve yürek yüceliği