Timo Schuster

Interview Leman Sevda Daricioğlu, Queer performance artist /// they/them, Istanbul-Coronadays

Photo: Gülbin Eriş

Where are you living?

I’m based in Istanbul.

How old you are? (if you don’t mind answering)

Almost 35.



What inspires you?

Philosophy; notions and concepts.

Thinking about ethics, ontology of being, “the order of the things” (on Foucauldian way), the body, theself and relationships.

Corporal researches: Using the body as a laboratory of fears, limits and feelings, investigating new relationships beyond normativity between “me and the other”, people’s survival and resisting strategies under oppressive systems, queer feminism, rituals, non-hegemonic religious cults/belief systems, the nature…

Photo: Lorenza Cini

Tell me about what you do?

I’m a performance artist, mainly into live performances and mainly work long-durational. I’m interested to investigate the limits and boundaries of the physical and emotional body. To me, working long-durational means to use time as a tool to explore how the body inhabits in time and it’s also an invitation to people to slow down, to feel, to sense in this high-speed age which never gives time to feel and to connect with ourselves, with the others or whatever surrounds us.

Regardless what the topic I work on, performance art always gives me an opportunity to explore the potentials and limits of the body, from that point I define my practice as making corporal researches in order to build the images of my urgencies. The body is my main tool and material; object and subject at the same time. Throughout the history of civilization, our societies have leaned on a denial of the body. In capitalistic time we live in, the body has only been valued with its meta production potential and the body, itself has only perceived as a field of medicine. In fact, we’ve never owned our own bodies; before it was owned by god and today, it’s owned by doctors and psychologists. Our knowledge and our only possible relation has been defined and enclosed by them. For sure, I’m not denying these studies, in contrary I find many things nourishing me on a certain level about the body. But what I say is that there are other levels too. My choice of making my body my exploration field has stemmed from standing this point of view against. To me, working on the body it’s a reclamation.

When I say the body, I comprehend it as a substance consisting of its anatomy and physicality; feelings and emotions and the mind. That’s where my corporal researches takes place. By its nature, creating live images by my own body and with time adds an emotional and mental state into the work.

I follow two routes while designing my performances: I either design them according to where I would perform: The place’s relations with its surroundings, its rhythms, dynamics and sociopolitical states become my sources to create my work or I start to design them on the basis of the concepts I want to question and give its final shape where I would perform depending on the characteristics I mentioned above.

I’m interested with the concept of “homo sacer” referred to Giorgio Agamben, to address the conditions in which life is biologically continues while being unbearable. In my work, I try to give space to what is erased form public space by the powers, oppression systems and whiteness as a sociocultural category.

Photo: Gülbin Eriş

What’s the structure of a typical day like for you?

It’s hard to remember how my typical day was in these weird times under the pandemic. So I’ll talk about my current days. I came to Berlin on 1st of March for a new residency project which has no name yet and I was supposed to go back to Istanbul on 31st of March. My flight is cancelled like as all the flights and I’m stuck here until an uncertain time as there’s no flight to Turkey who knows until when. In this bizarre time of isolation, I usually do some workouts or yoga, prepare and eat some healthy foods, have a little walk around the Canal or in the parks nearby, watch movies, listen music, read book, spend time with my partner, make video calls with my friends and try to understand what we’re passing through -For sure not all of these in one day 🙂 – In the first weeks because of shock, panic and sadness I was not able to do so much things. Still it’s hard to concentrate and focus but as I feel a bit calmer, I gradually turn back to think about the projects I want to work on. As these days have brought me, I think about care and the touch, contact and contingence.

What are some of your favourite sources for information?

Everyday life. Even right now as there’s no way to been in contact with what usually everyday life has meant, it still contains a lot of information. There are also some websites that I follow, mainly focused on social justice issues.

How does social media influence your life?

I use it mainly to connect with my friends living in different countries and to follow the artists I like. I didn’t mention in the previous question but it also helps me to follow what’s going on in the globe.