Now everyone is like you.

Şener Soysal
About More

Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be blocked in writing about the block. For this reason, I let myself go to the stream of consciousness rather than giving up. 

Everyday life has been in a different routine for some time now. Those who have a chance to stay at home (because the exploitative system does not let many people stay at home) and live their lives without social contacts. On the other hand, there are a bunch of Zoom meetings, conversations with families, meetings with friends, news/coverage/analysis that constantly confuse people in the online world... In short, we live in a state where we physically lock ourselves at home and are mentally open to all sorts of winds. This state can also muddy the clear waters needed to research and write. 

It is safe to say that while staying at home does not bring equality, it does unsettle some points of reference. For example, the desire to stay at home is no longer a symptom of depression. In fact, leaving home for no reason can be a symptom of depression. We are not in a position to say for someone, "I think he is in depression, he is not leaving the house" or "She is very anti-social, she doesn't want to communicate with anyone. She just watches something, plays something at home," or "He never makes physical contact, he never hugs or even touches anyone! He is a bit, cold person." In our new normal, we are all depressed, all anti-social, and all cold people. In other words, you not like everyone else anymore, and everyone is like you. Of course, if we still think with those reference points.




Looking at this new level, where the ground changes with an elevation, it's safe to say that as an art producer or audience, you don't miss anything anymore. There are no venues, halls, galleries or fairs. So there are no enviable after-parties, the art pieces to be called "I wish I had done that" nor networks to build to be part of a gallery show. 

Currently, photography projects cannot be produced, critiqued or developed on the street, in studios and or residencies. Producing at home is the only option that remains. Naturally, it is possible and nice to see the new expressive seekers proceed on their own without a scene or object dominating the work. We can follow the pieces produced individually or under a single roof on our screens. The part we called exhibition, however, seems a bit complicated. Some of the invented "online exhibition" on 3D walls on the digital screens is just a clumsy adaptation to today's art habits. Like the dog-eared Internet magazines that were popular ten years ago. Wasn't it the experience of the site anyway, walking around a work of art, smelling it, seeing it in detail, that created the experience? So how accurate is it to call this online effort an exhibition? Or we have been curating exhibitions with our own websites and Instagram accounts for many years without even realizing it.




The above points make the word block ironic to me. Because I think in a state where everyone is blocked, we cannot talk about the block. At least not in the way we know it. Yes, I am aware that this essay is part of a series on the theme of "block". However, sometimes it is useful to look from the inside out to make sense of it. That's why we can also talk about non-blocking. Who do we refer to as non-blocked? Can we consider producing work on social distance or performing concerts with poor sound quality as non-blocking? Stories and Instagram live talks that constantly flirt with the same artists are just repetition, right? Don't many conversations fizzle out without conveying the pain of the process we going through? What about the efforts of galleries supported by corporations to sustain their essence? Unfortunately, barring some circumstances/efforts, all of these situations drive me to despair. Because, as I've said before, the efforts are a very small part of the overall picture; they are the exceptions that do not break the rule (Thank goodness they exist!).

We do not talk about how collectives, organizations, independent venues can survive. We do not talk about how many venues and events funded by capital will lose their support after the expected economic recession. Nor are we thinking about the situation of publishers or art critics. Let's ignore these parts, we don't even care about the situation of the artists who create what we call art. When I look at our new point of reference, these things stand out. I say to myself, "Obviously our art world is totally blocked." On the other hand, if I had written this article a year ago today, I'd probably write the same thing: "Our art world is blocked." When did rose-coloured glasses come into existence? So let's call this situation "blocking of block" or "the same old same old." 




Where was the reference point for block for me, and where is it now? I have trouble distinguishing the two. My photographic work hasn't been part of an exhibition for a long time. I also haven't had any clearly defined photographic works for a long time. 

I continue to produce, but there is no frame around it. Even if there is a frame, it hasn't been hung in a space associated with art. Perhaps being overproductive on social media has blocked me from time to time. Lots of live broadcasts, lots of free books, art movies, exhibitions... But hasn't that always been the case? Constant events and the feeling of missing out... Wasn't it like that in the old, normal days too? After all, eating a lot and having a big belly can also cause a kind of block. 

Now does that mean I was blocked, I had blocked, I am blocked? Or am I full from the inside out? Should I check according to the normalities of our art world to see if I am blocked? Or should I do so according to our new normals, whose references are unsettling? 

It is best for me to finish this text, which contains the word block twenty-one times, without being blocked.