Aykan Safoğlu, Germany/Turkey, 2013, 24 Min.
Aykan Safoğlu, Germany, 2019, 12 Min.
Ming Wong, Germany, 2008, 27 Min.
Ming Wong, Germany/Turkey, 2011, 33 Min.
Aykan Safoğlu takes his friendship with Nihad Nino Pušija as the point of departure for Touching Feeling. Pušija has been recording the world around him for years with his camera: queer life in Kreuzberg, the life of the Romani in the former Yugoslavia and in German refugee shelters; everyday occurrences, but also scenes of flight and migration. Pušija’s photographs form the basis for the film; mark by mark, Safoğlu uncovers them on the black screen, prompting his reflection on his role as an observer, the defiant beauty of everyday life, and the terrible rupture that war and destruction left in their trail in the 1990s across the Balkans. Off-White Tulips is a fictional dialogue with James Baldwin. Documenting the writer’s visits to Istanbul, it is a subtle critique of racism, transnational discourse, and LGBTIQ politics. Angst Essen is a reconstruction of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1973 film Angst essen Seele auf. Ming Wong plays all the roles himself, constantly changing between different genders, nationalities and ages. By speaking the dialogues in German, a language unfamiliar to him, he reflects on the distancing effect of Fassbinder’s language stereotypes, marking all protagonists as the “Other”. Biji Diva! is a homage to the transsexual Turkish pop singer Bülent Ersoy. Together with his mother May Wong, Ming Wong performed a live concert in 2011, taking on the role of the well-known pop diva.
Ming Wong explores the gray space of current debates, such as the construction of gender, language and identity. Drawing inspiration from feature films and pop culture, Wong recontextualizes well-known quotes and tropes. He blends eastern and western mythological ideals, often reflecting his own experiences of having grown up in Singapore, studying in London and now living in Berlin.
Aykan Safoğlu received his MFA in Photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, NY. Between 2014-2018, Safoğlu was an artist-in-residence at institutions such as Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ashkal Alwan, and Rijkakademie van beeldende kunsten. Recipient of the Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen at the 59th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2013), Safoğlu is currently a PhD-Candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.