Ani—the ancient city of 1001 churches—is located in Eastern Turkey on a plateau above the Akhurian river, the closed border between Turkey and Armenia. It is a site that looks back to the past and also refers to the impasse of Turkish and Armenian views of their shared history. Ani’s dramatic and violent history of success, decline and then destruction by bloody invasion and catastrophic earthquake seems to exemplify ideas of dystopia. After its depopulation around 1600, neglected ruins remain in the empty mountain landscape. Today’s national flags flutter on opposite sides of the river ravine.
Such places invite reflections on the administration of space and the creation of territory. Do ideas of dystopia help to understand real places or are they a distraction from other, more necessary insights? Perhaps they should only be applied generally. Ruins offer both a utopic and a dystopic vision of a past culture. Societies oscillate between utopic and dystopic states: remembering and imagining, progress and regress, construction and destruction. Maybe today, dystopia and utopia are replaced by dysutopia, a mixed form, where the two are increasingly the same.
Katharina Bévand (DE) creates both site- or object-specific atmospheric sound installations which explore the resonances of objects and rooms, and their relation to the human body. katharinabevand.com
Peter Cusack (UK) is a field recording, musician and sound artist with a long term interest in the environment. In 2011/12 he was a guest of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. www.petercusack.com