Ahmet Öğüt, Across the Slope, 2008, modified Fiat 131, constructed floor. Installation view, SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul, 2011.

IN 1961, President Cemal Gürsel of Turkey commissioned engineers to design an automobile that could be produced entirely in that country. The first prototypes of the car, grandiloquently called the “Devrim” (“revolution”), were duly developed, and their unveiling scheduled to coincide with the annual Republic Day parade in Ankara. The day having arrived, the president climbed aboard one of the prototypes and joined the procession—but the car ran out of gas after about a hundred yards, as no one had remembered to fill the tank. The incident, which made the president and his car the laughingstock of the nation, forever ended all hopes of manufacturing the Devrim. But it did give rise to Ahmet Öğüt’s Devrim (Revolution), 2007, a wall drawing with an extended caption that relates the whole tragicomic episode.

I cite this work first not because it bears my own name but because it

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