Passport/Reisepass: Road to Other Lands

On Paper II Ahmet ÖğütPassport/Reisepass: Road to Other Lands


The second part of On Paper, A Prior's contribution to the 5th Berlin Biennial, consists of six separate publications and limited editions conceived by Ahmet Öğüt , Kristina Norman, Manon de Boer, Susanne Kriemann, Cezary Bodzianowski and Paulina Olowska. Each of these editions forms a unique ‘object’ that, as paper, is tied to the dematerialized realm of conceptual art, but that also cannot be thought of outside its object status. As such they may be the quintessential ‘things that cast no shadow’, thus sounding a tangible echo of certain works at the biennial.

In collaboration with the 5th berlin biennial for contemporary art, A Prior Magazine has developed a two-fold project entitled On Paper.
‘Zuhandenheit’ [ready-to-hand]—a Heideggerian term used to explore the meaning and functionality of objects in relation toman/human beings—is activated throughout On Paper by making readable objects available to the visitors of the biennale; and by creating a tangible echo of the biennale works on paper. This ‘Zuhandenheit’ is not only grounded in the form of the project, but also in the content of the first part of On Paper: A Prior #17 (David Maljkovic, Daniel Knorr, Kristina Norman).

Ahmet Öğüt's artist's book Passport/Reisepass is part of an installation entitled On The Road to Other Lands.

On the Road to Other Lands is an installation including the original material used for the artist book, the signed artist book itself and a wall drawing. While preparing this artist book that looks like a German passport (only the eagle on the cover replaced with a tiger motif which is my own design), I used photographs and old banknotes collected from my own family album, the flea markets and second hand book stores in Kadikoy/Istanbul, Kallio/Helsinki and Waterlooplain/Amsterdam. These original materials arenow on display in the cupboard as main part of the installation. The cupboard is an antique, perhaps it was used for years at someone’s living room. The book is in fact about the State Printing House (BundesDruckerei) in Berlin that has been active since 130 years. There they print the passports for Germany, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, Moldova, Albania and Romania with a very sophisticated technology. They also printed banknotes for countries like Turkey, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Israel. And for countries like Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Southern Cypress and Lithuania they print identity cards. For the book I made up catchphrases for this State Printing House such as: “Legality for all countries”, “See the world through our colours” and “BundesDruckerei is working for your country since 1879”. In my research I found out that all the countries that they print passports for, have an “eagle” as their national symbol. I used this coincidence as a given in the map of BundesDruckerei Eagles and I chose to use an eagle form as a backround of the installation . So I mixed and matched facts and fictional visuals in the book. My intention was to illustrate and open discussion on how this printing house was actually merging the economy of power and the economy of paper (banknotes, passports, identity cards), and yet this was slipping out of attention.