EA 1498
Journée d'études

Reviving previous times and expanding horizons: Islam and Modernity in global historical perspective

Self-writing processes today: the case of graffiti (wall writing) and self-media (posting, tweeting)
Research Center for Anatolian Civilization (RCAC) Koç University İstiklal Caddesi, 181 Merkez Han Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Institut français d’études anatoliennes (IFEA) IFEA - Palais de France Nur-i Ziya Sokak 10 Beyoğlu - Istanbul

Self-writing processes today: the case of graffiti (wall writing) and self-media (posting, tweeting)

To what extent is it possible to write your own history? Furthermore, is the writing practice accessible for everyone? And does it respond to a certain need of self- expressing or a will of leaving a trace? After 18th-19th century, through the European modernity, writing spaces and devices are estranged from individuals, and overwhelmed by institutional authorities and the orientations of technocrats promoted by those intuitions themselves. This crucial division between history writers and individuals as history subjects designate also the new type of ‘modern’ citizen who doesn’t attempt to write, but desire to be written about, watching for opportu- nities to do something remarkable in order to take part in the history, to be heard and known by others. This presentation aims to discuss the ‘ordinary’ mass who doesn’t have necessarily the intention of being written about, but who dares to write itself, who leaves its own traces instead of being traces left by institutions.

During the history of writing, those ‘ordinary’ individuals found several alternative, ‘other spaces’ which juxtapose several experiences, times, places and representations on their sites. By rethinking those ‘other spaces’, heterotopias, the presentation proposes a brief lecture on current self-writing processes, such as graffiti (wall writing) and self-media (posting, tweeting). Those two contemporary modes of self-narration and self-representation of ‘ordinary’ mass concurrently promotes the idea of anonymous, pseudonymous and collective identities. By their words said by no one and everyone, we will try to understand how narrative identities are created and how they can take part in the history not through its institutions but through a daily operation of writing. Through the examples from current event based cases where those two writing practices increase, such as Occupy Movements (Occupy Gezi, Arab Uprising, etc.), the collective identities formed by new media practices and their potential heterotopic structures will be analyzed in order to arouse curiosity about alternative forms of self-narration.