Benera and Estefan
Demesvar, 2014
site specific sound installation (mp3 player, loudspeakers) 2 min. 30 sec.
11-14 sept. 2014 - Piata Unirii, Piata Libertatii, Timisoara, Romania

For more than 162 years, Timisoara (Demesvar) was one of the most important strategic points in the Ottoman Empire’s expansion into Europe. Recent archaeological excavations conducted while the city was being renovated have shed light on the city’s Ottoman past, as well as the aggressive policy of the Habsburg Empire of rebuilding TimiÈ™oara according to new planning and architectural criteria, eradicating all remaining traces of its Ottoman legacy in the process.
Similar practices continue to this day, with the ruins of former mosques now on the brink of being covered over. Demesvar is based on the idea that history is always an instrument of power, while the act of legitimising the present is closely related to archaeology used as a means to reiterate imagological constructs.
The intervention by the artists in Timisoara’s urban space reproduces the Muslim ritual of the call to prayer, amplified and repeated five times a day in keeping with the custom of the Muslim community. The sound equipment is installed below ground level, in the trenches of the archaeological sites set up to search for traces of the old mosques. Demesvar investigates the legacy of Ottoman culture and the reactions this is capable of producing in the present-day context of widespread Islamophobia.