The video piece "Don't Do It Wrong" suggests how social rituals build and promote the sense of belonging and creation of 'we-ness'. It is filmed in a primary school in Istanbul and traces this daily morning ritual in which the director of the school and teachers choreograph entire event. To hold a flag is a special task, but it is too heavy for a boy and a girl has a panic attack. But, once in their positions, pupils sing the Turkish National Anthem, recite an oath by which they pledge to Ataturk, promising to keep his legacy alive, to love their country more even then themselves. Then, a girl reads a poem, which she wrote herself, on bad effect of using drugs. This work investigates how the process of bonding and binding to one collective body occurs. It focuses on the way the power is imposed and exercised. It makes visible the mechanism and invested effort of implementing the sense of national cohesion. This ritual occurs every day for five years in all Turkish primary schools and in the army. There is no a single person in Turkey who could avoid it, except during the ritual itself, by being late for the classes or by just pretending to obey the ritual while being physically there. Maybe by opening his/her mouth but not producing a single sound one can refrain form it? Or it maybe already happens by the nature of the ritual- children are too young to understand what they are singing and saying and are unable to do it on their own, but just as a part of group, together with others. Or the utter words lose their weight and meaning because of being repeated so often and become just an empty sign.
Don't do it wrong
Artist: Katarina Zdjelar
Production year: 2007
Catalogued as: SOCIAL/POLITICAL, CULTURE/IDENTITY, GENDER/SEXUALITY