10TH OF NOVEMBER | 09:05

Every year on 10th of November | 09:05 in the morning, individuals across Turkey cease all activities - cars pull over, pedestrians stop and stand still - in remembrance of the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey), which occurred on this day and time in 1938.

In 2007 Els Opsomer witnessed this strange collective happening, which she has made the subject of a new film for the 7th Gwangju Biennale. The Turks’ reverence for Ataturk, the charismatic leader who modernized and secularized Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, is an astonishing national phenomenon that reveals much about the ideological constructions binding - some would say too tightly - the country together.

Opsomer’s film, like much of her previous work, is informed by her experiences in the places she visits. It begins with photographic slides taken on site and added to her ongoing “urban archive”. Concerned with how we maneuver through what she considers to be an increasingly aggressive world, she often trains her gaze on urban phenomena that reveal the ways we engage with our surroundings. (Source: Tara Mc Dowell)