Damla Ekin Tokel was born in Turkey, in 1985. After graduating from Acting Program at Bilkent University in Ankara/Turkey in 2006, in pursuit of alternative potentialities of expression within performing arts studied modern dance at Yıldız Technical University in İstanbul/Turkey. Her questions and pursuit led her to Graduate Program on Critical and Cultural Studies at Boğaziçi University (İstanbul). Side by side with her educational process, she worked as actor and performer in various theatre, film and television projects. She created public space performances within a duo project called AA+A. She contributes to works of contemporary choreography for dramaturgical support and artistic assistance since 2011. She actively participates in establishment process and in several projects of İstanbul-based interdisciplinary arts collective Ray Performance Collective, for administrations, project development, artistic laboring. Since September 2013 she lives in Brussels and questions and experiments on her own performing arts project in the framework of post-master artistic-research program a.pass.
FRAME OF RESEARCH
Birds of Brussels, is a part of the travel inside one’s own – this time particularly following her bird phobia and dead pigeons perishing on the roads of Brussels. A travel, while telling the intimate story of one, maybe somehow reveals the despair of the contemporary individual, stuck in a life mostly dead itself.
Birds of Brussels is just one stop of the larger research project, namely Public Disengagement Clinic, Damla Ekin Tokel has been constructing over the last year. The clinic is barely an institution, with its single patient, doctor and administrator, the disengaged, mostly practicing disengagement instead of counter-acting the general state of alienation from the processes governing our daily lives, withdrawal from their responsibility (response-ability), the lack of belief in or imagination about possible alternatives in the contemporary society, namely public disengagement. Planning, projecting, abandoning the plans and replacing them with “better” ones; yet conscientiously avoid actualising any of them constitutes the daily, even hourly cycle of the clinic.
Yet, the disengaged, lately decided to deal with her paralyzing bird phobia by following the bodies of dead pigeons abundant in the streets of Brussels. It’s hard to say if it helped her at all, but at least now she wants to give them a presence, though in discourse, an existence to their bodies, though lifeless and fragile, maybe to give herself a moment to share all these with strangers. … and now she is building this intimate story to be able to make it, to make herself public.