Personal installation shot of ğ – Queer Forms Migrate
ğ – Queer Forms Migrate at the Schwules Museum in Berlin provides a critical examination stemming from an insightful yet, whimsical premise. “ğ – the soft g” is a letter that was added to the Turkish alphabet in the early twentieth century and has no counterpart in the Latin alphabet. Its only purpose is to lengthen the vowel in front of it. As explained by the curators on the museum’s website, “ğ is an oriental sound-letter that migrated to a western body of sorts.”
This exhibition takes its inspiration from the migration of the ğ and has given it a reputation as the queerest letter. A large Turkish population exists in Germany from a long period of migration between the countries. This exhibition is specifically attuned to examining the exchange of the LGBTQ+ community through a transcultural lens. The curatorial proposition asks the question, “What if ğ left Turkey to migrate to Germany?” The queer letter becomes a symbol for the integration not only of migrants but more specifically of queer migrants, into the German context.
The concept of this exhibition is best encompassed in the standout piece, İnci Pasajı by Viron Erol Vert. This piece hangs just off-center in the gallery from heavy chains bolted to the ceiling. The piece presents a levitating, traditional Turkish rug suspended atop a bed of shiny, studded leather. The piece implies the exitance of bodies and its own use by two partners, engaged on a kinky sex swing that doubles as a magic carpet ride. (There is a pun there somewhere.) The colorful rug in combination with German Leder is a marriage of cultural symbolism with a sexy, queer twist.
Upon visiting ğ – Queer Forms Migrate, the viewer will be stimulated. Not only by the sometimes provocative imagery, but also by the call to deeply consider the particular experience of this example of queer migration. This point of consideration is extremely relevant to German/Turkish culture and take a leap further down the rabbit hole by calling forth further reflection on what this cultural fusion signifies for the LGBTQ+ community.
A closer look at İnci Pasajı by Viron Erol Vert (personal photo)