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UZUN  INCE  BIR  YOLDAYIM _ I ' M  ON  A  LONG  NARROW  ROAD

_ RITUALS  OF  THE  TEMPLE _

This performance is a series of performances _ new rituals drafted

on my knowledge of ancient rites transmitted by my ancestors.

In the town of Giswil,

in the middle of Switzerland,

at the base of a mountain,

there is a waterfall.

For this performance,

I transmuted this geological stage into my travelling temple and its ever-growing foundations.

There, I experimented and executed my own translations of rituals into new rituals.

Each rite reflects a past but evolves within a new history and symbolism.

As an evolutive piece of my personal mythology, I'm building a sanctuary,

a laboratory for healing rituals, perhaps a remedy for immortality.

video credits _ Iris Ganz 

STORY_TELLING _  DOCUMENTATION _ ARCHIVE _ GLOSSARY

I _ The Echo  [ Walking _ Spreading ]

This first rite was the beginning of

the performance, a procession,

a walk towards the next rituals. 

First to join the walk was

the artist Murat_Mevlana_Temel.

Transitioning from his performance

and with a bell I gave him [family heirloom]

he shepherded the audience to me.

We then started our walk,

reciting together the poem 

Uzun ince bir yoldayım 

in Turkish and English while

guiding the audience on the road to

the sanctuary, the temple I settled

near a waterfall.

Coming from it, you can hear  

an echo of female voices

chanting that same rune.

Uzun ince bir yoldayım _ I'm on a long narrow road

Âşık Veysel (1984-1973) is one of the most renowned representatives of

the âşık tradition in 20th century Turkiye, which dates back to the 15th century in Anatolia.

The Âşık is a wandering troubadour, singing poetry of their own composition,

accompanied by the saz, a stringed instrument.

Âşıks became the voice of common people, expressing their relationship with their land, their loves,

inner conflicts, and expectations, generally depicting all aspects of rural life.

One of the most beloved songs of the entire Turkish folklore canon

is his song Uzun ince bir yoldayım.

In which, Veysel compares the journey of life to a han

[ a long building often using small work areas for various crafts and professions ] 

with two doors, a door at each end.

We enter life through one door, travel the length of it, and exit through the far door.

As in all Türkü of this type, Veysel applies the song to himself in the concluding stanza. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that most Turks can sing it by heart,

and it has been interpreted by many musicians and singers of all eras.

Def . Türkü  [Turkish folk music]

 

It is a type of song whose lyrics are usually in the form of folk poetry, whose author and composer are unknown.

In folk poetry, written in syllabic meter, usually with a conjunction, the pain, joy, etc,

of the individual or society.

It is a type of rune that is sung with a unique melody.

 photo credits _ Claudia Bath _ Eliane Rutishauser 

II _ From Lead to Gold  [ Transforming _ Transmuting ]

This next rite was in two parts:

First _

I executed my own version of

the ancient rite called Molybdomancy.

I melted lead into a ladle

then poured it into a bowl of water.

[ ceramic bowl by artist _Nida Şafak ]

Second _

With family heirlooms used as tools,

I started a make up routine

by covering parts of my face with

golden leaves on a charcoal based glue.

Then I covered the rest of my visible skin

with blue pigment as a preparation

for the next rituals.

Divination by molten lead, called molybdomancy,

is an ancient practice predating ancient Egypt, which consisted of dropping drops in water and

making predictions based on the noises, hisses and shapes that molten lead produces in cooling.

In the latin world, lead dedicated to Cronus (Saturn) and the infernal gods, was the “magical metal par excellence”.

Throughout the history of mankind and according to the regions, the lead ritual evolves in different forms and divinatory readings.

More than 5000 years later, these prophetesses, pourers of lead, still practice these rites shamanism in our modern society.

From the latin Aurum, meaning Shining dawn, gold has shaped and destroyed civilisations.

Since ancient times, gold has been endowed with innate value due to qualities including its resistance to corrosion and tarnishing.

Despite the variance in culture, religion, or race, gold has always been attributed to deities

and was conferred specific deities properties as embodied by the metal themselves.

Gold has a significant role in legend, symbolism and folklore.

In mediterranean culture the myths and legends have survived, they have been adapted to the general superstitions of today.

In ancient Greece gold was the metal that was precious to the gods to the extent that they were dressed in gold.

The colour and lustre of gold continues to be associated with the Sun and the sacred masculine.

Mythological and legendary mentions of gold cover are referenced in all ancient literature. 

Gold has always been associated with the eternal, the unending, incorruptible and embracing powers of the divine.

 photo credits _ Claudia Bath _ Eliane Rutishauser 

III _ The Olive tree  [ Planting ]

After the rituals of transforming

comes the ritual of Planting.

To symbolise peace and immortality,

I planted an olive tree on the dry road of

a river that connects to the waterfall.

Among rocks, in the mud,

the tree cannot grow

like an individual trans_planted far from

its natural and cultural roots,

it tries to adapt to a new environment.

Once the tree planted,

I went to get the amphora,

collected water at the waterfall 

then poured it onto the olive tree.

 

Thereby setting off the next ritual, the water.

Olea prima omnium arborum est -

The Olive tree is the first of all trees 

Roman agricultural writer and theorist columella (4 - C. 70 AD) 

The Olive plant is an evergreen tree,

is omnipresent in mythology and lore, particularly in the Mediterranean regions.

The cultivation of wild olive trees first occurred approximatively

6000-8000 years ago but its origins are believed to date from the Oligocene period, about 20 to 40 million years ago.

The olive oil was related to rituals and considered a sacred liquid in Antiquity. 

The olive branch has been accepted as a symbol of peace for centuries

since a dove returned to Noah’s ark with an olive branch as a sign of vitality after the Great Flood.

The olive tree has been a source of many legends in history and

has taken place in inscriptions and holy books of ancient civilisations.

It grows slowly but has a very long life.

The average lifespan of an olive tree is 300-400 years but olive trees are also found at 3000 years old.

For this reason, the name of the olive tree is the “immortal tree” in mythology and botany.

It symbolises peace, purity, strength, longevity and prosperity.

 photo credits _ Claudia Bath _ Eliane Rutishauser 

IV _ The Water  [ Pouring ]

The next ritual, the water.

After I watered the olive tree,
I went back to the waterfall and poured

again water into the amphora.

I then started to bathe myself head to toe

until I was soaking wet.

Moving on to the next and final ritual,

the Shroud.

Water not only gives us life, it is the origin of life.

Since, the dawn of human consciousness our relationship

with water has been profound and enriching.

 

Throughout history,

water has been used as a symbol of wisdom, power, grace, music

and the undifferentiated chaos that gave rise to the material world.

Many ancient cultures and religions confirm it:

in all of them, water is a symbol of life and hope,

a ground for recreation, an element of cleansing, purification,

and initiation in cultural ceremonies.

Water is a sacred being that holds life on earth,

a seed in the soil does not germinate until it receives water,

which demonstrates that it is the spirit of water that ignites the production of life.

Def . Amphora  

 

Descending at least as early as the Neolithic period, an amphora is a two-handled jar mostly in ceramic that held oil, wine, milk or grain.

 

Amphoras were sometimes used as grave markers or as containers for funeral offerings or human remains.