The Land of The Disappeared is a multimedia installation work recreating the atmosphere of enforced disappearances in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey. These began after the military coup d’état in Turkey in 1980, and as trouble grew in the 90’s cases surged. Most of the disappeared were either politicians, local community leaders, or people with left-wing political views, although in truth anyone could go missing, and no-one was safe.

Objects and places which are directly associated with the enforced disappearances are presented in a 3D world, where the audiences are transported to an unsettling, somber and otherworldly setting. At the center of the room stands a prominent white Renault 12 car, notorious for its role in abductions, and instantly recognisable as a symbol of terror for the the Kurds. Anyone forced into this vehicle could be certain they would not emerge alive.

On the walls, there are photographs of landscapes which are directly associated with the enforced disappearances of Turkey’s Kurds. These are the places where the bodies of some of the disappeared were found. They are printed onto a metal plate, and from this they are printed onto white paper using repeated layers of varnish. This creates an effect where the prints appear white from a distance, however when viewed closely different parts of the photographs become visible and invisible as the light falls on them from different angles. The old phone equipped with a motion sensor begins to ring whenever someone is near, and if they answer they hear an audio.  

This space is designed in the hope it can one day be created in real life, and some images show exhibitions in England where I have attempted to create this space on a very small scale.

No precise and final figure has emerged for the number of people that were forcibly disappeared in Turkey, but according to the Truth and Justice Foundation the total number of the disappeared is 1,353. To this day families continue to search for their loved ones.