How Did We Get Here


How did we get here gives an interesting insight into the recent past of Turkey, with main focus on
Istanbul. The exhibition, presented by SALT Istanbul, shows in a comprehensive way the social movements and elements of popular culture which came up after the coup d’état on September the 12th in 1980. Therefore lots of different archival materials are shown including photographs and magazines, advertisements, video recordings, films as well as time-based reconstructions. The different works deal with critical movements popping up out of various surroundings and contexts such as urbanization, human rights,
women’s movement, gay rights or media decentralization. In addition to the aim of giving a broader understanding of the social dynamics of this period, there is another aspect that might be interesting for each visitor who’s following the Turkey of here and now: The exhibition reflects nowadays by showing the development of the past and hence might can help to get a better comprehension of current activities and movements in the country.


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It is SALT’s first project on the 1980s and the exhibition this year comprises just one out of two parts. It’s a continuous project and moreover directly linked to the L’internationale. According to this the exhibition’s idea can be find in various countries – due to this focusing on the country’s own developments and movements emerging since 1980’s. It also shows in this context that the chosen time period is not only important in Turkey but in the international context. The exhibition’s artists – Halil Altındere, Serdar Ateşer, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Barış Doğrusöz, Ayşe Erkmen, Esra Ersen, and Hale Tenger – deal with the political and cultural climate of the 1980s in different ways and therefore create a complex image of the considered period. Life is running so fast nowadays, things are changing from one moment to another and therefore make it hard to understand all these complicated interlacing. Due to that a closer look into the past seems to be inevitable to get more comprehension of the present time and its developments.

How Did We Get Here is a line from the song Once in a Life by Talking Heads and ask what made the coup d’etat in Turkey on September 12th 1980 possible. The military junta called as reasons for the coup: protect the unity of the country, securing the national unity and togetherness, prevention of a civil war and the restoration of State authority. The exhibition How Did We Get Here also ask how the State in Turkey in 2015 are taking over the repression of the past; in a country where nobody knows what will happen in the next two months.

SALT Beyoğlu and SALT Galata

September 3 – November 29, 2015


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