Mesopotamian Dramaturgies / Mayhem


Brighton Festival, UK, 2011

Commissioned by:
Brighton Festival, United Kingdom
Vehbi Koc Foundation, Turkey

Mayhem, Kutluğ Ataman wrote in April 2011 "is about the destruction of old structures in order to create new ones.  I used water as my main actor not only for its cleansing symbolism, but also for its destructive force. It is a direct response to the political uprisings and revolutions that are taking place in my region."

The work is a video sculpture, filmed at the Devil's Throat, the largest and most magnificent part of Las Cataratas del Iguazú, the Iguazu Falls, in the Mesopotamia region of Argentina.

Installed as a multi-screen sculptural video that can be viewed from both outside and from within, details of the water in the falls are projected on the walls and the ceilings of the installation.

One of the reasons the piece was shot in Argentina instead of the old world Mesopotamia was to highlight the cut-and-paste nature of geography. Geography, like history, is a man-made narrative. Mesopotamia also exists in Argentina, with an equally valid narrative written for it as the alternative promised land.