Artist
Simla Civelek

© Simla Civelek, White Open, 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, 2014. Photo by Henry Chan.

Turkey / Canada
www.simlacivelek.com

Simla Civelek is a performance artist based in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been presented at FADO Performance Art Centre, 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, SAVAC, and Nuit Blanche in Toronto; Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops; Circa in Montréal; Art Nomade in Chicoutimi; Regart in Lévis; Glasshouse Art Life Lab in Brooklyn and Experimental Action Performance Art Festival in Houston, USA; and OPEN Performance Art Festival in China, among other venues.

“I don’t want realism, I want magic.” I came across this quote recently, once again, years after reading A Streetcar Named Desire for the first time. Things feel inherently different now. An outside world in turmoil and an inner world with angst, fear, and weariness. Blanche makes more sense, or rather, I understand her need. When I have the cynical question of “why make performance,” I also have the inclination to start from the present moment to find an answer, or rather, to look for an answer. As realism can never be a match for magic.

Simla Civelek
Performance
Performance Home: from Toronto to Turkey by Simla Civelek

In a sense, the idea for my residency formed in the summer of 2019 in Turkey before the pandemic and before I even knew about the possibility of a residency. While I visited my home city of Istanbul after a 13-year hiatus, I unknowingly germinated the urge to move back there for a year.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic put a hold on my half-realized plans. My urge, fortified by powerlessness, transformed into a craving, an itch, a determination to explore the hunger I felt for Turkey.

This year, 2021, started with a concept of making a video in my childhood home in Istanbul. The apartment is uninhabited, complete with old furniture from 80s and 90s, covered with dusty white sheets, with shutdown old windows and blinds, dull musty air and perhaps old spirits. A time capsule from the last lived day of 1994 before our Canadian emigration.

What would be like to go back and record a walk-through of this space, like an audience-less performance, like a home movie of a ghost of a home? The camera as all-seeing eye, from my apartment in Toronto to our apartment in Istanbul, through a distance of 8,196.58 kms?

While I am creating this video in my mind (for now,) walking through the space in my memory, I am also creating actual videos for my day job of auditioning for commercials, film, and TV. Countless of takes for a 30-second footage of pretending to eat a salad or some chips while scolding my imaginary children, acting like a senator or a Middle Eastern engineer, suggesting organic rice to my neighbour, gardening with a surprised look on my face, reading a bowl of cereal like a crystal ball, drinking from a river, thanking the public for being vaccinated and waking up happy in bed…

So now I’m thinking about the absurdity of the correlation of these two notions in video. The manufactured actions of commercial acting and the archival footage of home, stacked together like a building.

There is a video somewhere.

Like the end of Covid, it is unhurried, throbbing, reluctant and eager.

Series
Performance Home

FADO’s on-going residency series, launched in 2020 in direct response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Participating artists in 2020–2022
Simla Civelek
Louise Liliefeldt
Irene Loughlin

Series Purple

An ode to FADO's history, Series Purple is composed of a collection of purple fragrance materials dating back to the Roman Empire. Dense, intense, and meandering, this fragrance tells us non-linear stories.

Top Notes

huckleberry, violet

Middle Notes

cassis, lilac, heliotrope

Base Notes

orris root, purple sage, labdanum