September 1955 by Cagri HAKAN Zaman, Nil Tuzcu, and Deniz Tortum
September 1955 is a 10-minute virtual-reality documentary of the Istanbul Pogrom, a government-initiated organized attack on the minorities of Istanbul on September6-7, 1955. This interactive installation places the viewer in a reconstructed photography studio in the midst of the pogrom, allowing one to witness the events from the perspective of a local shop-owner.
Drawing on the photographic archive of Maryam Sahinyan (1911-1996) and Osep Minasoglu (1929-2013), Armenian photographers who lived in Istanbul at the time, the installation materializes an extinct space. The wall in the virtual studio that exhibits Sahinyan’s photos is transformed into a documentation of the raids and their aftermath in the physical space; by overlapping the layouts of the two spaces the project experiments with the transition from a virtual to physical experience.
The experience of the space induced by participating in the mundane activities of the photography studio aims to generate unique historical narratives that are reproduced and enacted by the viewer.