Shadows of the Empire
Installation, Light and Shadow, Politics, Interactivity

The piece, Shadows of the Empire, has been shown at the 6th Contemporary Art Biennial of Çanakkale, Turkey.
Inspired by the traditional Turkish shadow theatre karagöz, it consists of 41 shadow puppets and a projection screen. At first sight abstract black figures, they show the maps, outlines of the countries conquered partially or totally by the Ottoman empire, and its allied countries. They cover the time from the end of the 13th century untill the fall of the empire at the end of the First World War.
These countries still inhabit history books and/or participate in present news. Certain countries have changed their name or size, but all of them were part of the great game of History : Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaidjan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Crimea, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungaria, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuweit, Lebanon, Lybia, Macedonia, Morocco, Moldavia, Monte Negro, Palestine (West Bank and Gaza), Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.
They lie on a long table, as taken in negotiations, like a political mikado. All the countries/ puppets are the same size, about 27 cm long, independent of their real geographic scale.
Ideally made out of camel leather by a karagöz player, I produced this actual version with translucent painted synthetic material.
They can be manipulated by the visitors, as if they were new “masters of the world”, the great sultans and kings from ancient times or today’s heads of state, holding in their hands the destiny of people, playing with frontiers and wars. A dangerous shadow play.