Deniz Sözen is of mixed Turkish-Austrian heritage and grew up between Turkey and Austria. She studied Fine Art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and at Goldsmiths, University of London, followed by a practice-based PhD at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), the University of Westminster. Her works have been shown in various contexts internationally. Recent exhibitions include ‘Hyphen’ at Ambika P3 in London (2019), ‘The Art of Un-belonging’ (solo) at London Gallery West (2018) and ‘ResponseABILITY’ at < rotor > center for contemporary art in Graz (2018). She has presented and performed her work at Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna, VbKÖ Vienna, Ars Electronica Center Linz, MAK Center for Art and Architecture LA, Landesgalerie Eisenstadt, x:hibit Vienna, Lust Gallery Vienna and at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London.
Deniz has received numerous awards and residencies, including, ‘West Balkan Calling’, Public ROOM Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (2016), the MAK Schindler scholarship Los Angeles (2013/14), Cité des arts in Paris (2014), the CREAM research scholarship (2014-2017) and the Marianne.von.Willemer.Prize for digital media (Ars Electronica Center, 2014).
Her video installation Surya Namaz was awarded the runner-up prize in the 2019 BAFTSS (The British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies) Practice Awards, Best Practice Research Portfolio (Audio visual and installation). Deniz has been invited to take part at the 4thiteration of InDialogue UK (2019), curated by Dr Rhiannon Jones and Dr Heather Connelly. She has presented her research in numerous conferences and her writings have been published in print and online. Her visual essay Trans Plantations will be published as part of Sharpening the Haze: Visual Essays on Imperial History and Memory by Ubiquity Press (peer-reviewed; forthcoming).
Deniz has taught and held workshops at art colleges internationally, including the University of Westminster, the University of Reading, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the University of Art and Design Linz and UCA Farnham. She is currently an associate lecturer in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, UAL.
My work explores themes of culture and language questioning the notion of identity and belonging through opacity and multilingualism. Experimenting with the notion of the untranslatable and partial translation, my practice aims to destabilise the Eurocentric imaginary,that has been shaped by dualisms, such as self and Other, mind and body, culture and nature, etc. which constitute the colonial legacy of modernity. My practice moves across various media and art forms, including video, performance, ceramics, (sound) installation and interventions in public space. Moving image, objects and sound are placed in relation to each other within exhibitions and beyond. The audio-visual elements of my work shift in the shapes of documentary-style recording, multilingual narration and lecture-performances.
I engage with the representation(s) of self and Other through the lens of my experience of living in and between different spaces, cultures and languages to create and produce work that presents a multiplicity of viewpoints and voices, proposing a more pluralist perspective on being and becoming.
Departing from my mixed Turkish-and-Austrian heritage and hybrid subject position, the autobiographical and fictional narratives in my multi-disciplinary projects explore infinite and unforeseen possibilities for our entanglement with each other – including the earth and non-human others, such as plants, objects and plant-based matter. Experimenting with multilingual storytelling and collaborative processes of writing, thinking, learning and art making, my research-based practice presents a multiplicity of viewpoints and voices that question dualistic thought and aim to re-imagine the notion of belonging – ultimately beyond the human.