A Possible History I: When Thinking Some Play with the Mustache, Others Cross Arms


Video installation, 31’09”, German
Developed for Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, Germany

In this story, E goes to Sofia on a quest to search for traces of the Ottoman travelers and literary figures who travelled to the Balkans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the style of a PowerPoint presentation, the film mixes diverse visual material, including Ersen’s drawings, texts and collected photographs. We are confronted with the uncertainties and oddities in the way the Ottoman past has been treated in Bulgaria over the last century. While during the communist regime Bulgarian historiography entirely ignored this part of history, after the changes in 1989 there is a renewed scientific and cultural interest, which is explicable in the context of strong geo-political considerations related to concepts of a supranational Europe or to categories such as the Global South. Yet these are also times of rising nationalisms that seek to build narratives to manipulate the readings of the past. Ersen’s filmic narratives resonate with such attempts to make sense of the past; at the same time, they defy any objective reading precisely because they are so openly subjective. Thus, it seems their main aim is to mediate between politically manipulated, researched-based and personally experienced subjective history-making. (Viktoria Draganova)

A Possible History I, 2013, 31′ 09″, excerpt
balkans, bulgaria, communism, nationalism, history