While I was disappointed to be delayed in my travel to Kosovo, I have to admit that it was nice to have some down time. The airline put me up at the airport hotel, and I took advantage of the opportunity to take a break from my “performance” and relax by the pool.
I spent much of the next day in transit, with a seven-hour layover in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. I later learned that while I was wandering around the airport, waiting, and sitting in lounges, another man across town was standing, enacting his own silent performance of defiance. Erdem Gunduz, now known as the “Standing Man” drew on the power of performance art’s use of the body and live action (or inaction, and presence) to compel viewers to take notice, reflect, and even participate. The power of his performance drew 300 other silent standing standing men to join the peaceful protest.
While Erdem certainly didn’t intend to create a work of art, it is hard to deny that that is what he has done. I finally made it to Kosovo by the end of the day, and I was happy to have spent some time in the presence of the Standing Man, albeit from across town, miles away.