Winternachten İstanbul


Bu yıl ilk defa düzenlenen İstanbul Tanpınar Edebiyat Festivali'nin uluslararası etkinliklerinden biri Winternachten adıyla Hollanda Konsolosluğu'nda yapıldı. 1995'ten bu yana Hollandalı yazarlarla Batı dışı ülkelerin yazarlarını ocak ayında bir hafta boyunca Lahey'de bir araya getiren, daha önce Alain de Botton, Jonathan Safran Foer gibi ünlü yazarların katıldığı festival ayrıca müzisyenlere ve filozoflara da yer veriyor. Pazartesi ve salı günleri İstiklâl Caddesi'ndeki Hollanda Konsolosluğu'nda, iki gün boyunca izleyicilere kapalı olarak gerçekleşen Winternachten toplantısının moderatörlüğünü Gündüz Vassaf yaptı. Faslı siyaset bilimci Profesör Abdelhay Moudden, Güney Afrikalı feminist şair Diana Ferrus, Hollanda'nın Avrupa'da en çok tanınan yazarlarından Frank Westerman, Karayip adalarından şair Lasana Sekou etkinliğin yabancı yazarlarıydı. Türkiye'den ise yönetmen Enis Rıza, yazar Karin Karakaşlı, romancı Kaya Genç, şair Gonca Özmen, yayıncı Ragıp Zarakolu ve çevirmen Anna Maria Aslanoğlu'nun katıldığı etkinlikte yazarların ana tartışma konusu, bugün Jean-Paul Sartre tarzı bir 'angaje yazarlığın' mümkün olup olamayacağıydı. Yazarlar edebiyatın politik olduğu noktada faydalı mı tehlikeli mi olduğunu da iki gün boyunca tartıştılar.



Gonca Özmen, Muzaffer Gülsen, Diana Ferrus, Abdelhay Moudden, Karin Karakaşlı, Lasana M. Sekou, Kaya Genç, Enis Rıza, Gündüz Vassaf ve Anna Maria Aslanoglu, Palais de Hollande'ın önünde

Below is Kaya Genç's essay written for the Winternachten/Istanbul meeting:


Being in writing, the engagement
What is the most fundamental aspect of writing? The hieroglyph, the writing on the wall, the warning on the small paper left on a table, a poem in a book -they are there, first of all. Perhaps no one will see them, perhaps their reader will never know who have written them and yet they shall go on existing inexplicably. In their mere existence lies a question perhaps, an opportunity for action, a demand for engagement. This intermediary third actor exists whether there is a receptor or not; its existence is implied, it exists by implication -similar to what the literary theorist Wayne C. Booth calls 'the implied writer'. So, the text should engage the other by an implied intermediary, a point of intersection between the text and the receptor and chronologically it exists before that very intersection because the text and the receptor are historical entities, they are historically existent. Engagement is necessary and mandatory, it is the fundamental relationship between historical subjects and engagement itself is a historical category.

These occasional observations presuppose an abstract existence. Therefore the relationship is doomed to be an idealistic one; particulars are out of the picture, the talk of ontology points to ideal valleys in the ideal country. How else can the philosophical analysis of this relationship work? Reflecting upon the Marxist subversion of Hegel's dialectics, one can not help admiring the complex process of historicising abstract qualities and in our question, the question of the writer's engagement, the Marxist subversion may be of immense help. What do we talk about when we talk about a text? Today's text, a text of the present is a complex tissue of present discourses, politically and historically it is a reflection of our idea of what a text should be. The receptor's engagement and the writer's engagement therefore are historically constructed in the given now, intermingled with the notion of what a text should be.

I am here in this room as a historically determined and constructed subject, in every moment I am redetermining and reconstructing myself therefore the historical meaning of being a subject and as I, the determined-determining subject write a few black words on paper, I am engaging my subjectivity with a historical kind of relationship between my subjectivity and a determined mode of receptivity. Why engage at all? It has to be, the word has to come out, it is mandatory that the word should inscribe itself on the wide horizon of possibilities that is the white paper; it has to pass on to historical subjects by way of the of reading. Here I put words together and construct similitudes -these are perfect copies, echoes of sentences and expressions of distant times and lands and as if for the first time I put them on paper and while doing so I am engaging myself in discoursivity, in a certain mode of relationship between my implied presence in text and the implied yet soon to be concrete existence of the future receptor.

And yet I engage myself in this relationship for my idea of being is profoundly interconnected with the notion of relating to things, as the first movement of existence is forming a relation. Things in texts are historically and politically related to each other -by engaging in making a text I am agreeing with terms of language, politically constructed. The engagement with the formation of a text is engagement with the hierarchical grammar of language and in fact the composition of an non-hierarchical text would require one to create a non-text.

The Sartrean question here would be whether one collaborates with the crimes of the dominant power while using its language. Imperialism requires submission to its grand ambitions, colonialism seeks for imperial settlers who are utterly convinced of the meaning of their existence. Language-discourse is the perfect medium to engage the subject for colonial ambitions. And yet Sartre was able to employ language as a tool to engage people in the war against French colonialism. In novels and essays and books on phenomenology, existentialism and Marxism, Sartre's grammar served undoing the oppressive discourse. In a sense, in these texts we had witnessed, all of us, the negative-engagement.

The positive engagement would be a constructive relationship with language. Words would form things, new relationships between things would be established in the horizon of language. As for the negative engagement, one would be engaged to destroy the very mechanism of language that creates bondage and oppression and forms and establishes new constellations in the order of things. In the positive engagement, embracing the language, one internalises the word of the lord and in Hegelian terms, has the deathly encounter with the word of lord which creates the hierarchy of the now; in a relation of the positive engagement the internalised discourse is fought against and gradually the superior position of the word of the lord gives way to the now rising power of the word of the slave. The slaves takes over, employs his internalised dialectics of discourse for creating a new binary system that again develops a hierarchical valuation of things. As opposed to that the negative engagement would nullify the fabric, the texture of language, would commit attacks on the musicality and harmony of language, interpreting them as metronomes of the harmonious dominant system.

So now, what would that look like?

November 2009, İstanbul

1 comment:

julia maxwell said...

I like your post ,now I must complete my research for my paper.


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