Fantasies of care: relating to Armenian remains in Eastern Anatolia
Alice von Bieberstein
(Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Paper short abstract:
This presentations inquires into expressions of care for Armenian historical remains in Anatolia by Islamised descendants of survivors in the context of dispossession and denial.
Paper long abstract:
In the mid-2010s, the descendants of Islamised and kurdified survivors of the Armenian genocide came together in the provincial town of Mus to form an association. One of the stated objectives, or rather dreams, of this coming-together, was to map, assess and in some tentative and tender way claim responsibility for Armenian communal material remains in the city and its surroundings. No practical step or action was ever taken, as the state soon took a turn towards authoritarianism and rekindled the war with the Kurdish movement, throwing the region once again into a state of conflict, tension and insecurity, particularly for an already marginalised community. Indeed, according to the logic of this nation-state, these people, the descendants of survivors of a genocide, should not exist, should not even be. Against the background of murder, dispossession and radical denial, I want to think about the absurdity, frank ridiculousness, but also utopian beauty of such fantasised gestures of care for the material remains of Armenians, across a great distance of loss and unknowability.
Shadows of the present: generative ambivalences across art, heritage, and materiality