Ayşegül Dinççağ Kahveci (Berlin): Among the Ruins of Imbros — with Barba Nikos

My contribution to the conference is a photo-documentary of the walk with a local Imbriot, Barba Nikos, among the ruins of an abandoned village on the island of Imbros / Gökçeada. The study aims to highlight the contrast between the local’s and the outsider’s perspectives on the landscape and to reflect on the local sense-making of the lived past in relation to the discursive nature of ruins (material culture in presence and absence). The presentation consists of three parts; each exploring a different approach to the local perspective on a/the landscape of ruins. The first part focuses on the path-making and walking of Barba Nikos and reflects on how the habitual experience of space offers a way to evoke re-experiences of the past. Through on-site encounters and sensory and physical engagement with the material culture of the past, the abandoned village becomes a Proustian landscape (Riley 1992, Jones 2007), forming an active memory landscape wherein the human meaning of material culture is generated based on lived (experienced) place. The second part deals with Barba Nikos’ narrative production and shows that his associations derive from a personal engagement with the original object in the direction of a social milieu. His narratives about past acts of violence and experiences of loss are represented as markers of the collective memory of the Imbrian community, and the ruins and residuals are seen as material evidence of this. The third part of the presentation takes a critical look at the process of ruination and considers “ruins as processes” — as living things rather than stable entities with a permanent physical form (objects). This rather radical approach addresses some of the other-than-human related aspects of material culture and questions their role in the heritage-making.