Dispatch Feminist Moving Image Magazine,

Dispatch Feminist Moving Image Magazine, interview, September 2017

Fatoş Üstek is a name that is becoming increasingly prevalent in galleries across London. Working as an independent curator Üstek has developed an impressive CV, having curated projects such as fig-2, Art Night 2017, an opera in five acts at DRAF, and a variety of high profile international projects. Late last month we spoke with the Art Night 2017 curator about feminism, curatorial practice, interdisciplinary approaches, and the importance of being ‘on the beach’.

Jennifer Shearman: So, I wanted to know more about how you ended up in curation. Particularly after your first degree in mathematics. What was it that led you to where you are now?

Fatoş Üstek: I was a very keen maths student in High School, with much interest in the logic of maths. I used to play chess as well – actually a lot. For me maths is a form of expression. When I started at University what happened was that I needed to expand my domain of possibilities of expressing ideas, feelings, sensitivities and gestures and then I was introduced to arts…I enrolled to Bogazici University, in Istanbul, formerly named as Roberts College and all the education is conducted in English, and moreover the whole educational and social structure is inherently American. So there were many social or cultural clubs. I signed up to eight of them in the first year of my studies, and it was more about seeing the possibility of expressing myself through different means, which kind of lead me to thinking in art. I studied photography and darkroom as I began making photographs. I think for me it was about seeking ways of self-realisation, or means of expressing my ideas and my quest of understanding the world around us. That was my driving force. I’m a very curious person so what happened was that maths kind of degraded its significance for me in time in a way because it’s a very specific science and if you really want to specialise then the number of people you can communicate with across the world gets really small. During the college years, I found out that I am a bit more social than what I thought of myself through my teens. I like talking to people from different backgrounds or walks of life and sharing systems of thinking and exploring the vastness of multifarious ways of perceiving the world.

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