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Exhibitions as Conflict Zones: Memory and Identity Building in İstanbul and Budapest

Dr. İlkay Yilmaz

This project  tries to explore the memory politics through exhibitions and memorials by comparing exhibitions referring to the Armenian genocide in İstanbul and memorials about the Holocaust in Budapest. Against denialism, the project tries to examine how different artists and institutions try to create an alternative narrative on these tragic events and how these exhibitions differ from more “formal” exhibitions. In the Hungarian case the state does not deny that the Holocaust took place, but is not ready to accept responsibility for Hungarian collaboration in it. This policy triggers a discussion about memory politics especially in relation to mentioned exhibitions and memorials. In Turkey, the events of 1915 were not formally recognized as a genocide by the state. Comparing these two cases opens a discussion on processes of identity formation in Erdoğan’s Turkey and Orban’s Hungary through memory politics.