“Redefining notions and creating parallel dimensions of regularities and irregularities of life…What about it?”
Kainz, Yuti. “Genius at Work”. 2016, Performance, approx. 6 hours
Kunstuniversität Linz, Austria, Fatma Nur Ozogul, WordPress https://fatmanurozogul.wordpress.com/portfolio/genius-at-work/
A nice Saturday morning, I got to meet with a valuable person from the past and had a conversation regarding her professional life which had a major plot twist due to the given unfortunate circumstances we are all facing currently. The matter of person is a Cypriot artist, Fatma Nur Ozogul, also goes with Dado, born in 1990 and had spent most of her life abroad being involved in many diverse contexts, pursuing her career. She has always been into the artistic field, from her early childhood times; which eventually led her to bachelor studies of Plastic Arts in Nicosia, Cyprus and then a master’s degree in Sculptural Conceptions in Linz, Austria. She has been actively involved in many workshops and exhibitions, often in collaboration with other artists, pursuing her career in multiple art forms and concepts. Filled with adventure and a strong fire leading her to inspire through art in many complex environments, she continued her professional career as an Art & Design lecturer in China, Jianghan University, Wuhan simultaneously giving part-time lectures also in the field of Fine Arts in the American University of Cyprus. Given the recent unfortunate events caused by the novel Coronavirus, she is currently stuck in Cyprus, continuing her profession through online means, like the rest of the world.
I, personally, was quite intrigued by her ever-lasting motivation and determination to go on with her works, not only as a lecturer but also as an artist even in such circumstances, where the majority of the world is struggling to find the motive to be productive and endure the heavy psychological pressure caused by the new dynamics.
Esra: “Starting off, what is the story behind your nickname “Dado”?”
Dado: “My little sister could not pronounce my name as “Fatma” and was calling me “Dado”. Loving the sentimental connection and anonymity it created; I started using my nickname more than I do “Fatma”.
Esra: “Normally, before the whole Coronavirus incident, what was/is your speculation and inspiration to create and produce your art?”
Dado: “There are many things, but essentially I find art as a way of reflecting my inner virtues, interests and disturbances as a way of communication and expression. I am not a huge talker, therefore I have always found it more comfortable to speak through creation. At this point, it is more of a lifestyle. I often find myself getting inspired by daily routines or changes and creating my works by redefining notions and creating parallel dimensions of regularities and irregularities of life… Thus, I form an indefinite space for my feelings, experiences, and thoughts beyond limitations.”
Ozogul, Fatma Nur. “The Kid”. Plaster Sculpture 96x36x69 / Life-size, Linz, Austria, 2014, WordPress. https://fatmanurozogul.wordpress.com/portfolio/the-kid/
Esra: “How would you describe the change in your professional life as a lecturer considering the present situation of online classes?”
Dado: “From a professional perspective, regarding my lecturer title and online classes; even though hypothetically the whole system is bound to work, in reality, it is often not the case. I perceive teaching, especially when it comes down to practical and abstract classes like art; as a profession highly linked to observation and physical existence of both students and the teacher in order to ensure constant interaction of feelings, ideas and thoughts within the class. I do not even mention studio lectures which are often material or skill-related and need physical intervention while exchanging information. The skills required to pursue in these dynamics are not the same with online classes. As I observe, it is a great challenge both for students and teachers to fulfil the new online experience. For students, on top of all the worldly chaos, the stress of thinking about their life, future and classes can be pretty overwhelming; ending up affecting their will to continue efficiently, compared to their life of being physically involved in classes. Us teachers are aware of this current distress and we try to ease it as much as possible; as well as ensure the academic life of our students not being hindered by any means. Trying to motivate students despite understanding their mental distress, has been especially a major challenge I personally faced, since the Coronavirus outbreak.”
Ozogul, Fatma Nur. “Safe-O-Mat”. Installation. Safe lockers, Keys and Clocks
Fitnessoase Parkbad – Linz AG, Austria. 2017. https://fatmanurozogul.wordpress.com/portfolio/safe-o-mat/
Esra: “What about the changes in your artistic drive? Are you still able to be motivated to continue creating things and maintain your muse?”
Dado: “Absolutely not. I think this has been even a greater challenge for me than my lecturer career because eventually a method effective enough to conduct online classes was found, and had to be found for the sake of education. However, when it comes to art, every artist has their own requirements of space to be able to create. For me, it is having an isolated and reorganised space belonging solely to me wherever I go and live; in this case, it was reshaped in China as I was living there. Expectedly, when I came back to Cyprus for semester break and got stuck here, I struggled to create my own space. However, I failed obviously. It didn’t work as it happened in the former locations I have lived; as I lost my working space, as well as my regular rhythm of daily routines due to pandemic regulations. This caused me a week of a motionless time period when I was only focused on giving online lectures and anxious to cultivate my art. Being trapped in very same repetition was like repeating the same word over and over again and trying to find a new meaning which does not exist.
Stimmeder Daniel, Fatma Nur Özogul, Matthias Tremmel, Sylvie Leiner, Hanna Escoba and Simone Einfalt. “Überforderung 2.0”. Sound Performance, Visual Projections and Room Installation
Raum Mit Aussicht, Kunstuniversität, Linz, Austria. 2018. https://fatmanurozogul.wordpress.com/portfolio/uberforderung-2-0/
After a month of confusion and vagueness, one of my first act was to take part in a virtual exhibition organized by Eastern Mediterranean Art Associaton (EMAA), Association of Cyprus Paper Artists (ACPA) and Queer Cyprus Association, for the Pride Month, with two sound installations: “Angst” and “Comet”. (see https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.artsteps.com%2Fview%2F5eb06f6f5dd3a401a953314e%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0RZgpFHGfzehI14oqSfF-gn87rWpCNn7BWw6gTgMCHjbJVSiAnIbcQ8C8&h=AT2wGrrt99_QP5sRHPx__8V-l8Yt8PbKTqa9fxEhcTs9gVjvTbjy-cu-ISpVzxFE7lcslKhUhArGXsdrK1AYdKdD8H2BS6WUmhBvakukOGG15MOuaODumOn0oPqZFrB1wMqu ) This exhibition was quite important for me because it could be finalized; unlike those numerous projects, I have been currently working on. This gave me a sense of “push”. Currently, I managed to get out of that sense of “being stuck” as an artist.”
Esra: “How do you imagine the “new normal” to be in a post-corona virus scenario world?”
Dado: “Frankly, I am extremely unsatisfied with the current “digitalized” world. Everything is done in front of a screen is not the same as physically being present in any of the events we are currently involved in; online lectures, visiting a museum, talking with a friend, saying “I love you’s”, asking a friend for a piece of advice, those little things that we would not even consider as vital if we were never forced to bottle up them. I want to imagine a post-coronavirus world scenario essentially to be full of mindful people, having gone through this out-of-touch / out-of-sense period eventually prioritizing their feelings and virtues rather than the hassles of everyday life that drive them to act mechanically like a robot programmed to survive but not live. As an artist, I enjoy moving with senses and feelings; so personally, I do not think it is possible to enjoy art or live music performances through online platforms. I miss the intensity, the touch, the sinking feeling of intimacy for people, for art, for nature. I hope we all reconsider the composition of our lives and think a little more carefully for what we want to spend our limited time on earth.”
Esra: “There are many young people struggling to find their light and/or motive to create something, especially during these hard times, so as an experienced artist, what would your advice be for them?”
Dado: “In a world, in which the individuality is praised and in some sense forced upon everyone, it is very important to make up some space for collective action and collaboration. As in everything else in society, too much individualism can easily transform and embody as selfishness and/or pride which is destructive in their nature. Our actions as individuals determine the community we live in. Therefore, the more we shift our focus on consensus ideals, the society formed by those people is very much likely to be in peace.”
After we had 3 more cups of coffee with dear Dado, we decided it was time to call it a day, noticing how minor events in disguise as misfortunes lead every one of us to a completely different state in our lives. That is exactly when we realized as fellow human beings, that coincidences are just connections unseen, eventually, that roots meet underground.
- Ozogul, Fatma Nur. Personal Interview. 23 May 2020
Another wandering soul currently located in and studying in Rome, from a little island Cyprus. Music always has to be on while I am trying to catch up on the colours of life I like the most, in the light of always being hungry for knowledge, hoping the share as much as I can with other earthlings and spreading the love. Philosophy and sociology have been the areas I dwell on the most, simply because the answer to many things are usually multiple and all of them are correct. P.S. There is a slight chance I drink more coffee than I drink water.