“Could it be that emotions performed with the force of a habit are ways of effacing ourselves from the unsettling field of affects?
Yasemin Özcan’s video, Run, approaches this question from a different angle. As we watch the artist herself run next to the empty tribunes of Atatürk Olympic Stadium, what at first appears to be a competitive race against a smoothly dressed woman leaves its place to a performance of running “together-apart.” As she runs, moving through a series of uncanny obstacles—a female hand (the mother?) extending to offer a sugar cube, a flower pot of geranium, finishing line, and a cup—references to the practice of psychoanalytical therapy are implied.
One can read, for instance, the overcoming of obstacles in terms of a certain release from familial investments, or, more broadly, as a disidentification from approved answers. Similarly, the dream-like presence of the obstacles, of the disappearance and re-appearance of the woman (a therapist?), and of the empty stadium all make allusions to the fact that change, according to analysis, concerns the transformation of one’s investments and not an adaptation to the desire of the other, be it, concrete people, such as the mother, the therapist, or the symbolic authority as embodied by the grandeur scale of the stadium. Moreover, the physical effort the artist exerts in running connotes that such transformation comes not only as a result of linguistic articulation of one’s history but also involves a simultaneous corporeal experience of affects.
If one, however, slightly steps away from the metaphor of therapy, the act of running itself offers a model to contemplate an alternative way of relating to the world. The runners in Özcan’s video are present to one another even though they seem to carry distinct identifications, have different internal temporalities, and are not in constant physical and emotional togetherness. What instead connects them is an enjoyment of a means without an end. Maybe we can also think of running in parallel to art and the distance it creates within the artist, allowing the expansion of her singularity towards unknown receptions?”*
* From Ceren Özselçuk’s published text on the It’s In My Nature! exhibition