Asure

1998 Performance and installation
food, table, chairs
Developed for ACC Galerie, Weimar, Germany


 

In 1998, Ersen started her tour between a series of artist-in-residence programmes in several European countries. The shift in geography generated visible transformation in her work. Her first piece in that frame was produced for the “Society and Community” exhibition attached to the residency programme in the city of Weimar.

 

The peculiar proximity of the artist residences offered to some other institutions kept at the city margins such as psychiatry clinic, asylum house, rest home and graveyard attracted Ersen’s attention. In a town that came to symbolise the spirit of German culture (via its famous residents Goethe and Schiller) and served once as the cultural capital of Europe, social groups judged to be obstacles to the speed of capital circulation and urbanisation, as aged people, people under mental treatment, the dead and the artists, were purged out from the city centre.

 

Ersen, who wanted to make use of this heterotopic human constellation, cooked *aşure*, a sweet dish from the Near Eastern cuisine, which is believed to be the last supper on Noah’s ark, made out of the fruits and cereals remaining in the ship, and traditionally exchanged between neighbours as a sociable gesture. Bowls of aşure freely given to the people at a communal gathering operated in Ersen’s performance as a vehicle of "being together".