ANIMAFEST PRO | ANIMAFEST SCANNER VII | SYMPOSIUM FOR CONTEMPORARY ANIMATION STUDIES | Panel 1 - HEAVY LIKE THE WORLD: ANIMATION IN THE WORLD OF CHAOS
Cinema Emek, Cinema Labour, Cinema Travail: The Revitalization of Istanbul’s Urban Past and the Emek Theatre as a Lieu de Mémoire - Cansu van Gageldonk (Kaboom Animation Festival / Bread University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, Netherlands)
Built in 1884 as part of the building complex called Cercle d’Orient, the Emek theater (Emek Sineması in Turkish) was the oldest cinema in the history of the Turkish Republic. Located in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, the building, which was designed by the Levantine architect Alexandre Vallaury, was used for various functions, before being converted into a movie theatre in 1924. In 2009, the Emek theater was shut down and emptied due to gentrification plans called Grand Pera project and demolished completely in May 2013.
In her 2016 animation film "Cinema Emek, Cinema Labour, Cinema Travail," Turkish visual artist Özlem Sulak reconstructs the famous interior design of the Emek theater by using 3D computer animation. With her project, Sulak does not just use animation as a mimetic substitution – since it is no longer possible to document the Emek theater through live-action cinema – she also uses the site as a metonym to revitalize the collective memory of the recent protests against the gentrification projects in Istanbul.
In this talk, I will offer an ontological analysis of Sulak’s film and its particular techniques by using Anabelle Honess Roe’s ideas on animation as a mimetic substitution. Secondly, I will focus on Sulak’s intention to remind her audience of the symbolic status of the Emek theater as a lieu de mémoire by grounding the analysis in Pierre Nora’s theories, as well as in Mark Crinson’s concept of posturbanism.
Cansu van Gageldonk completed her Research Master’s cum laude in the Literary Studies department at Leiden University (2017). Her Master’s thesis explored the textual, paratextual and semantic differences of various Turkish translations of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl.” Her recent research projects include studies of urban transformation projects in Istanbul and animation studies with a special focus on memory studies and materiality. She is currently working as the academic coordinator of Kaboom Animation Festival and teaching at Breda University of Applied Science.