On December 19, 2009 the Economic Development Foundation of Turkey (IKV) opened a “Visa Hotline Project”. Two phone lines, email and an office were established to collect complaints by Turkish citizens regarding obtaining Visas. The hotline was the first official avenue opened to voice a complaint and was historic for Turkish citizens. It remains active today.
In early 2011, artist Devrim Kadirbeyoğlu began a series of Public Art Installations titled, “Who Draws the Line?”, in association with Zeynep Özler and Melih Özsöz, senior researchers at the IKV. Ms Kadirbeyoğlu requested access to the Visa Hotline complaint letters received from November 2009 through January of 2010. During these two months, the hotline received 1177 letters from Turkish citizens all over the world.
Who Draws the Line? is a site specific series, where Kadirbeyoğlu places selections of 160 direct (yet anonymous) quotes onto large, public floor spaces in cities around the world. The sentences the artist uses in these public art installations were each submitted by a different citizen of Turkey to their government’s official Visa Hotline. The quotes are laboriously hand stenciled by the artist in light colored earth. The words made of earth are erased with each viewer’s footstep and gust of wind – reflecting personal stories that have not formally been recorded for generations.
“Who Draws the Line?”. Installation: Earth. Dimensions variable. © Devrim Kadirbeyoğlu 2011.
The video below was filmed during the opening, from the task of transmitting the contents from Turkish complaints for the Italian audience, with a performance by Lorenzo Perosi chorus directed by Sergio Barone performed at the exhibition space with music composed by Gianluca De Rubertis and Alberto Piccinni at the spaces of Archiviazioni and Laboratory of Art and Architecture in Lecce. An edited version of the chorus by Alberto Piccinni may be found at Soundcloud.