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Accepted Contribution:

Bits and Bytes of Archives: Video Records from the Troubled 1990s in Turkey  
Sidar Bayram (Koç University)

Contribution short abstract:

Drawing upon ethnographic and archival research, this paper examines the video records of the violence and violations of the 1990s in Turkey, in terms of their archival potentials to testify to historical injustices and communicate the hope and resilience for justice to come.

Contribution long abstract:

Following the coup d’état in 1980, the 1990s in Turkey witnessed both the visualization of public culture thanks to the rise of television and video technologies and massive human rights violations resulting from the counterinsurgency measures of the state. While television channels communicated public reality predominantly within the official frames of the state, video as technology and collective practice became the primary relay for producing and archiving the unofficial visual documents that depict rights violations, protests, fact-finding missions, trials, testimonies, alternative public gatherings, etc. of the decade. These video records mostly reside in a dispersed and uncatalogued manner in the depositories of institutions or personal collections, in the lack of a nongovernmental archival institution.

This paper considers the video records of the 1990s, that I collected during my PhD research, as counter-archival materials and ethnographically examines their spatial and temporal transmission from their contested fields of production to our contemporary digital present. Interrogating the political dynamics, media-technological forces, and everyday practices involved in the archival preservation and erasure of video records, it emphasizes their double articulation: alongside what they portray in their contents, the conditions of production and archiving of video records also inform their political, testimonial, historical, and epistemological potentials. Therefore, I question how bringing ethnographic and archival work together can address not only the remnants of unavenged historical injustices but also the hope for a future justice to come and the collective resilience materialized into these video records.

Roundtable RT06
Ethnography of and Ethnography in the Archive: A Creative Rethinking in the Context of Hope and Uncertainty
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -