Ata Doğruel's performance, during which the artist lives in a pitch dark room for 40 days / 960 hours and sees the light only when a visitor with a candle comes in, provides an opportunity to observe social life and relations, as well as physical and mental boundaries and shifts.
Curated by Simge Burhanoğlu, realized in collaboration with Performistanbul, and sponsored by TEPTA, “Light Source” can be experienced at OMM 24/7 between 7 November - 17 December 2022.
Composed of different, continuous, 40-day performances undertaken by Ata Doğruel between 2019 and 2031, '40' takes its name from references to the ancient history of the number 40 in various cultures. With an emphasis on the mystical nature of 40, the series reconstructs the story of the number 40 within the scope of the discipline of performance art. '40', a 12-year long-term inquiry reflecting the transformative nature of performance, contains many predictable or unpredictable performances intertwined with mental and physical challenges that take place over long periods of time. The '40' series will end in 2031, when the artist turns 40.
The first performance within the '40' series, "Light Source" is born out of the thought that “we are each other’s light", which the artist repeated in his mind during the three-year period in which he lived in isolation, pre-pandemic. As part of the performance, the artist will live in a dark room for 40 days, and this room will only be illuminated by candles brought inside by the audience.
Testing the limits of museums and going beyond traditional exhibition methods, the performance offers a vital experience. The fact that the museum will keep its doors open for 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for 40 days is an important initiative in the global stage of performance art, and aims to bring newness into the development and future of the discipline.
When explaining his perspective on performance art, Ata says, “The life I lead between performances is just a waiting and preparation period until my next performance. My life is made up of the moments in which I perform - when I am in a performance.”
Note to the audience:
Welcome to my home.
Please make yourself at home. You can walk around, sit, examine and touch your surroundings, and behave as you wish in accordance with the rules. Rest assured, you will be welcome.
I will stay here in this pitch dark room for 40 uninterrupted days and nights. Only you will be able to light up the room with the candle you bring along.
More than one person can light a candle in the room at the same time, however, one person cannot light more than one candle.
I will take a photo of the people who bring candles and hang them on the wall. After taking the photo, I will write the name of the person who brought the candle, and the number of candles that illuminate the room.
I ask you to be careful during the time you spend with the candle, and if possible, not to leave your candle unattended. If there is a candle that looks unattended, I will put it out. Without you, it cannot give light.
That's why you should blow out your candle yourself when you leave the room. You can leave the extinguished candle in the box at the exit.
You can visit the room throughout all of the 960 hours during the 40-day period, including nights. If I'm asleep when you come and it's daytime outside, you can try to wake me up by calling out to me.
I'm not just waiting for you to light up the room. You can enter the room without a candle and share the darkness with me. However, if I can make it to the 40th day, I will share December 17th, the last day of the performance, only with those who have a candle.
I will not be talking during this process, and will communicate only in writing.
Beyond illuminating a room, you will actually illuminate a life with your presence for 40 days. This process is yours.
I am in this room until December 17, waiting for you day and night.
Things to know before entering the performance venue:
We remind you that the performance venue is completely dark. The responsibility of experiencing the performance belongs to you.
Entry is not recommended for people with fear of darkness and claustrophobia - fear of closed/confined spaces, pregnant women, people suffering from panic attacks, epilepsy and heart diseases.
Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to enter the venue.
Visitors are not allowed to bring items such as a phone, camera, video recorder, bag etc. into the performance venue. All items must be left in the safety deposit box.
No light source (lighter, matches, flashlight, etc.) other than candles can be used, only candles are allowed during entry.
It is not allowed to enter the venue with clothes and accessories that are reflective and can be seen in the dark.
Please make sure to blow out your candle before leaving the room if you brought one.