BENEATH CROWDED SKIES
2 Channel Video-Installation
Commissioned by SURSOCK MUSEUM
Beneath crowded skies is a video installation that summon the ancient city of Dura-Europos situated on the Euphrates river in Syria. Founded in 303 BC, this multicultural civilisation was known for its economic power, strong trade connections, military prowess and rich cultural heritage. Over the years, the strategically located Dura-Europos was transformed and occupied by the Parthians and Romans. Abandoned after the Persian assault of 256 AD – one of the first known instances of underground warfare using chemical weapons – Dura-Europos was soon covered by sand and disappeared from sight. It was rediscovered by American archaeologists in 1885, only to be
destroyed during the Syrian Civil War and looted by the Islamic State.
Beneath Crowded Skies explores the relationship between graffiti culture and the ongoing armed operations in the land of ‘The Fortress’. The archeological reports show how the residents of this ancient city purposefully left marks to be recuperated by future generations; however, excavations also reveal other findings. The fluctuation of long-term and temporary residents of Dura-Europos, the comings and goings of invaders, looters and armed militias, also resulted in inscriptions on the walls of private homes, temples, and religious places. Every individual who either helped to enrich or destroy this ancient land scratched their intimate thoughts or their political and social concerns onto the walls. By exposing and layering this multitude of voices, Doğrusöz intertwines the history and the present, and further locates visual traces as a site of political strategizing and disobedience.