Göksu Kunak. Acâibü’l-mahlûkāt | Photo by Spyros Rennt

Göksu Kunak

In AJAIB MAHLUQAT (ACAYIP MAHLUKAT), Göksu Kunak will present a live performance that tackles the notions of camouflage and self–censorship in relation to the politics and dictator(s) of an imaginary region.

Göksu Kunak, AJAIB MAHLUQAT (ACAYIP MAHLUKAT) | Photo credit: Spyros Rennt



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Göksu Kunak. Credit Spyros Rennt.


__Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event is now postponed to Sunday, Nov. 19th, at 7pm. __

Acâibü’l-mahlûkāt is a Persian cosmology book from the 13th century, first translated into Ottoman and later into Turkish, with a foreword written by the current Turkish President. The book contains a series of mythological and fictional characters who explain the world. The book describes humans, djinnis, and creatures in the sky; precious stones, mountains, oceans, plants, and trees. Its images depict fantastical creatures, such as elephant-humans with wings, cow-reptiles, and many other idiosyncratic beings. 

Inspired by this world, Göksu Kunak will present a live performance that tackles the notions of camouflage and self–censorship in relation to the politics and dictator(s) of an imaginary region. In this work, the concept of Taqiyya in Islam is at the center of a deeper exploration of camouflage: a hyper-camouflage in the sense of merging with a character; gender as a form of camouflage; and camouflage as protection. In this text-based performance, the images and movement patterns of the creatures from the book Acâibü’l-mahlûkāt emerge in a sci-fi imaginary realm and are complemented by motifs from the speculative non-fiction Cyclonopedia by Reza Negarestani. From a speculative perspective on the Middle East, Kunak makes references to Southwest Asian politics, (in)visibility and (un)veiling, pornography, time and decay.

Please note this performance will contain live nudity.

About Göksu Kunak

Göksu Kunak (Ankara, 1985) is an artist, researcher and writer based in Berlin. Göksu’s interest lies in queer methodologies, especially chronopolitics, and hybrid texts that deal with the performative lingo(s) of contemporary lifestyles as well as non-western/unorthodox dramaturgies. As a non-native English writer, their texts are playing with multilingualism and syntax. Influenced by Arabesk culture and late modernities, Göksu imagines new situations out of real encounters that point out the problematics of hetero-patriarchal structures. Moreover, Göksu is interested in Orientalism, Self-Orientalization (the perception of the 'Eastern', and how the Eastern sees themselves through this construction), as well as camouflage, self-censorship and science fiction.


A production by Göksu Kunak in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE. Funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds. The research phase was supported by FREISCHWIMMEN as part of the program “Verbindungen fördern”, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media through the program of the Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste e.V.


Protest and Performance: A Way of Life is supported by the Ford Foundation, SAHA, and as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.


Göksu Kunak

Performa Team

Senior Program Advisor and Curator at Large: Defne Ayas

Senior Curator: Kathy Noble

Hartwig Art Foundation Curatorial Fellow: Sakhi Gcina

Performa Biennial 2023 Baltic Fellow: Tina Petersone