OYABORA, Kismet Projects an Interview with Deniz Unal

East London, a normal summer evening.
Tuesday, maybe a Wednesday, 7.30 maybe 8 pm.
Can you come Atti? Yes I can.
Please be on time, Oh my God on time, Yes, I’ll try.
But where is that? My house, actually my backyard garden.
Have you ever been Atti?
Yes, I guess so, or maybe not.. Don’t worry I’ll figure it out.
I arrived surprisingly in time, bringing a new friend from New York apparently interested in art.
Where are we going? he asked me. I don’t know I’ve answered him, it is like a performance. Oh wow is that in a gallery? No, it is in my friend house, actually in her garden, should be interesting.
The reality is that is not clear either to me what will happen, but I am curios.
At my arrival the house was already full of a mixed audience of friends, art appreciators and curios neighbours. The garden, the main setting of the spectacle, was prepared with pillows, fabrics and a projector, yellow roses appearing and disappearing while the evening flies where questioning what was going on in that corner of London life.

Suddenly a blonde lady sat down in the center and started to perform a conversation, hard and sexy, violent and provocative. At the shout “ “Hei there are some children leaving here!” she had to stop and the audience will never know what happen to that pervert narrator.

That was the first of 5 performances.

 A video installation was set up behind the stairs, various video where showed on the projector while the audience in mortal silence was just enjoying that different setting, that different time, friendly and artistic at the same time, familiar and inspiring like watching a Fellini’s movie for the first time.

Behind all this there is a collective called Kismet Project, we interviewed artist and co-founder Deniz Unal to understand a bit more about the idea behind it.

How the idea of Kismet Project started?
The idea originally began when I started organising group crits where a changing group of artists would come together to show and discuss new work. From there I wanted to make a publication which would bring together new work and ideas from artists that was suited to the printed medium.
Who are the people behind it?
I run the project, there are 5 artists on the website which I see more as the core members, they are involved in decision-making process and I will promote on the website but amongst this there are other artists we have worked with. It is very much an open platform to work with other artists and people.

How international is the collective? Events and art works are created collectively or individually? How much London and its multicultural environment influence your work?
I wouldn’t really describe it as a collective, it’s more of an open project, which is flexible and permeable. We work individually as artists but within this we have worked together in various different collaborations, I have collaborated with all the artists that are on the website on different projects and Kirsty and Grace have worked together before. It is International, the artists are from all different places in the world, the Zine we made is currently in an exhibition in La Casa Encendida in Madrid.

What are the collective sources of inspiration? What are your objectives?
I don’t think there are any particular collectivesources of inspiration…hovever I am friends with all the artists and I think we are all influenced by our peers from the clothes we where , the way we speak to the art we make, so it is unavoidable there are similarities between us.
My personal objectives for this project is very simple; to provide an opportunities to make and show new work through varies different platforms; the Internet, publications, exhibitions and events. To create dialogue and collaboration between artists and to promote the artists on the website.

How would you define your practice as an artist? Does your Turkish background influence it?
I find it really difficult to define my practice in words, though making work I try to discover what I'm into and what I'm about, and this constantly changes. This is what I'm using to describe my practice at the moment

Current relevant words:


The gaze

Claiming the space

Transcending the mundane to the fantastical

Subversion of Islam



I wouldn’t say there is specific Turkish influence in my work, I don’t think I have to make work about Turkishness just because I am Turkish but of course our back round and histories have an underlying influence on the work we make and it does come through on different pieces more than others.

OYABORA was a really peculiar event because was set in a charming back yard garden(of your house), can you explain us this choice?-
I think the recession has a part to play in this, I spend a lot of time at home; I work from home, we eat in and hang out at home so it was only natural that we show work in the home as well. The garden in particular worked well for the show as a lot of the work shown had a direct relation to outdoor domestic space, my piece You Just Don’t Know What You Do To Me Part 1 was filmed there. That garden has a magical feel and reminds me of the garden performances we would do as children. By showing in my own space we were not bound to any space or institution and it was completely free!

OYABORA was made by videos, video installation and performances where the main protagonists, artists and practitioners were female with a focus on female sexual experience and attributes. How is important the gender distinction in your practice? Do identify your work with the topics Third wave of Feminism? Do u believe there is still a feminist practice?
I would not identify my work as specifically feminist; I am a female artist, using my body with work that does address sexual politics and therefore it is unavoidable to describe it in terms of issues of femininity.
Feminism has become a dirty word, people often associate it with men hating and bra burning but feminism to me is essentially striving for equality between men and women and all women should want that.

A lot of the thread in the night had work that dealt with constructs of gender and identity, not all the artists we show would describe their work as feminist. All of the artists on the website are female, Its just the way things have turned out I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I think its great.

Curiouser and curiouser!Random questions:

* If you would have the possibility to invent something, what would you invent?
Something that could freeze time.
Something to cure major illnesses like AIDs.
Something to get rid of cables between all the gadjets we have everything needs to be wireless and cableless.
When I was little I used to wish that there was a portal in my living room so I could take food over to starving countries, I think I used to watch too much comic relief (aid fundraiser programmes) but a portal would be cool

* if would have the possibility to reborn a random historical time and place, where and when would it be?
I’m really into ancient history, at the moment Ancient Near Eastern history such as Sumerian and Akkadian civilisations that would be interesting to see. Equally interesting would be to living in the late 60’s early 70’s as it seems like an exciting time for changes in art, music and fashion. Or the 20’s just for style I can see myself fitting in there.

* if you could be a contemporary famous artist who would you be? I don’t know but I really admire Louise Bourgeois for her work, longevity and prolificacy
* what affects you most: time or space?
Time time time! I have no sense of time it is one of my biggest problems this is why I am always late, can never meet deadlines, I have no clue why I am running a small organisation and trying to organize events, I guess that is part of the challenge.

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