Tugba Tirpan – I am not T/here
I am a Turkish born Turkish/British artist working in photography, video and performance. My practice is almost always born from a desire to understand the complicated human condition and look for meaning & context in the fast changing world. I like to challenge our pre-set thought patterns and structural forces that shape our cultural practices.
What is your relationship with your own mind?
In our modern societies we are very much reduced to our overly glorified minds. It is almost like as our bodies are there just to host our perfect minds. While there is such an emphasis on our minds; how much of what I think is my own? Has my mind been conditioned in a certain way to function better in the society and the economic system? Have I become my own prison guard in my own mind? The big question; has my mind been highjacked?
How does your work relate to the theme the mind?
I am not t/here is a self portrait attempting to translate and freeze my own one-off experience with depersonalisation and derealisation into visual imagery. Language can be inefficient to express the total map of a mind related experience and photography can perhaps come to aid. We associate mind with language, concepts and intellect but you only realise that there is much more to it when words can not express half of what you have just experienced. My work aims to fill that void in the language.
What is depersonalisation and derealisation?
Depersonalization and derealization are severe symptoms of anxiety. Individuals who experience depersonalization and derealization feel divorced from their own personal self by sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions and behaviours as not belonging to the same person or identity. Borders of the body blur, one can feel like as if they are ‘melting’ into their surrounds.
How has your work helped to open up dialogue in the taboos surrounding mental health?
My work has been exhibited in various cities and countries which always lead to positive discussion and expression in the gallery space. However, I think we desperately and aggressively need to expand the dialogue beyond the art circuits. I believe rethinking the clear cut separation in binary constructions we use and operate in our everyday lives is a good place to start. ‘Mind (logic) vs heart (emotions)’ which traditionally lead to a (mis)belief of ‘logic (strength) vs emotions (weakness)’ in patriarchal societies.
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. The history of western psychology has also been obsessed with the binary construction of sanity and insanity which is a flawed system that -i think- contributed massively to the taboos around mental health. What makes a mind healthy or unhealthy can not be hermetically sealed and it is merely a concept of the society and the period the individual lives in.
What has creativity / art taught you about your own mind?
I think creativity is one of those rare states that can close the systematically created gap between our minds and everything else. I had a period where I felt creative but hadn’t created anything for years. The distance between my mind, my body and self felt like it was drifting away at a light speed.
By creating I am not only referring to a piece of art. Creativity and art -to me- is merely a capitalised product but the vast universe of experiencing to feel with your mind, think with your heart and talk with your body. The fluidity and flux that makes us a whole human that thinks, feels and lives fully. You can look at the stars and experience the most euphoric creative moment that perhaps once enjoyed by Da Vinci or Rembrandt.
Find Tugba here: tugbatirpan.com