“While the war was tormenting the whole world, daily newspapers of Rio de Janeiro announced London’s bombing Bangú Club’s field.” *
Monitor, supported by Spaces of Culture, gathers together artists Francis Alÿs and Ege Berensel in the exhibition entitled “Behind the Curtain”. The exhibition focuses on the close relationship of footbal with politics since the emergence of football. The exhibition can be visited in Darağaç, İzmir on Saturday, 22nd of December.Umurbey District (Darağaç) hosting the exhibition, is one of the oldest settlements of İzmir and also one of the first industrial regions of the city. The first time football games were played in Turkey was through the end of 19th century in Bornova, İzmir. Construction of Alsancak Stadium by Panionios Football Club in early 20th century carried football to Darağaç region. In years, Darağaç became an industrial zone hosting factories and workers, and as the factories started to close down, the settlers left the region gradually.
In early years of its emergence, people were banned to play football which further developed people’s attraction. In years to follow, football was used to calm down masses owing to its challenging character. Although football became an entertainment for aristocratic class after its acceptance in Great Britain, it was not long that capitalism started to use it as an instrument to prevent the working class from seeking their rights and as a tranquilizer of the working class. Exported from Great Britain, football’s great impact on masses was used to reduce tension caused by social problems, but contrary to the capitalist system’s expectations, football’s becoming a form of resistance could not be prevented.
Ege Berensel’s research work Dinamo Mesken about a football club in a leftist district of Bursa, was supported by SALT Research Funds in 2013. The club was established in Mesken district of Bursa in 1975 and following the military coup of 12 September 1980, some executives and football players of the football club were detained, tortured and received penalties on claims of “clear attack to national values”. Settlers of the region that was kept under command, were forced to leave the region. The club still fights for its name today. In 2008, the club was re-established as Meskenspor and continues to work for disadvantaged groups and for uniting rather than discriminating people.
Francis Alÿs produced his work Paradox of Praxis 5 in Juarez, Mexico, where crime rate increased due to the impact of post-1980 neo-liberal economic politics. While Juarez is not considered to be an ideal place for development of football, the city’s football team Indios’ success brought enthusiasm and happiness to the city. Nevertheless, violence showed up here as well. In Francis Alÿs’ work dated 2013, people hiding in dark starts to appear as Alÿs drives a burning football in the streets of the city where crime and violence prevails. Alÿs moves among ruined and abandoned buildings and passes through crime scenes as siren sound mixes up with the sound of night clubs and street musicians. The fire, which is the union of controversies, becomes complicated looking from a close distance and its devastating power is added to its side that enlightens our way. It continues to move on towards the dark side of the night and city leaving sparkles behind.
The exhibition can be considered as a stand in silence for life stories of those who dare to blow the dust on all those hidden behind curtains for years, at the cost of remaining breathless. The exhibition can be visited in Darağaç on 22nd December.
Eduardo Galeano, Gölgede ve Güneşte Futbol, translation by Önalp E. – Kutlu M. N., Can Sanat Yayınları, 1998, İstanbul, p. 132