A GROUP OF WOMEN:

The Atina Collective brings together a group of women. Women it is, for while we do not stay limited to a biological definition of women we recognize nonetheless that in today’s society women as a category is present, and socialization within this category defines one’s ways of feeling and acting. Hence a women’s collective, to explore how things could be done within this category. 

The collective does not want to clearly define who these women are that make the collective, since they feel that doing so would lead to the creation of borders and identities. The collective realizes itself through practices, and one is expected to be in or out through practices. It has come to being through reunions and hopes to expand through reunions. 

SOME DAY, AT SOME POINT:

Everybody might have different answers to the question of when the collective has started. June 2017 however is the date when the collective has come together for the first time. 

It was an idea that Esra had come up with in the early spring days of 2017 – the idea to have a reunion as a group only of women, where we would practice our arts or interests side by side, teaching to and learning from each other. The dream was to meet somewhere a little bit secluded, somewhere in the provinces, by the sea or up on a mountain, at a place that would allow us to only pay attention to ourselves and to whatever art or craft or interest we like to practice – and with no objective whatsoever of attaining an outcome or obtaining a product from the reunion. 

She told this to Sanem, whom she had ran into many years later in Ankara. Sanem told this to Burcu, someone she had met only a year ago in Paris and didn’t know so well, but knew that she would love the idea. Burcu talked about the idea to Céline, Céline told about it to Claire. Esra said it Çiğdem, and then to Perihan. In the meantime Burcu and Céline met Güli as they were travelling to Diyarbakır for work, and convinced her to also come to the reunion that was by that time at the stage of being organized, already dubbed “the modest feminist festival”, or “the free/unbound productive reunion”.  

The first reunion took place in Güre in Balıkesir, in Burcu’s aunt’s house by the sea, at a time when the weather was still a bit chilly and the holiday crowds had not yet arrived to the town. What made the space a meeting point was also the practices: limited and shared contact with the outside world, going shopping altogether with a common budget, or picking fruits. Social media and phones restricted to certain timesof the day, making sure that we are present body and mind. We are where we are, together, working together on the matters that this living together brings about. 

But the meeting did not make a collective, it is only in retrospect that we know that it started during that meeting. Towards the end of the reunion we knew that we had loved it, that it had made us all feel very good and that we wanted to continue with it, but didn’t know how to continue. For some time after the meeting we kept on discussing the question: what are we now? Eventually we decided that we were a collective. But we don’t remember when we decided that, and we also don’t remember how. 

WHY A COLLECTIVE

Nobody really remembers why or how it was decided that this is a collective. We didn’t go over all other possible ways of organizing and decide that this was not this or that but a collective. We chose the word because we liked it and now we are trying to be it. Collective is one of those emotionally charged words that attract you, that you want to stick to even if you are not sure what it entails. This is the case for us and the collective. We like it and we do it. We believe in performativity. 

WHY ATİNA

A part of the collective is now based in Athens. But the collective was named Atina long before this decision had been made, before the city of Athens was even considered as a destination for those of us who are now living there. Esra, Céline and Sanem had come together to Athens towards the end of April 2017, a few weeks after they had met each other, to join the Queer,Feminist Spring Festival organised in the now inexistent Cyklopi Squat. They had created a group on one of these messaging apps, which was called Atina. This is how the city of Athens, as well as the goddess Athena, are called in Turkish. While preparing for the meeting in Güre in June 2017 this group was extended to include the people who would be coming to the reunion. It was proposed a few times that the name be changed to something else, but it was always just a proposal to check how the others were feeling about it. Nobody really seemed to want to change it. So Atina remained Atina. Sometimes when we have to differentiate between the city and the collective we call one of them Atinuş, though it is never entirely certain which name signifies the city and which name the group. 

TOGETHER

It is very much about being together: The Atina Collective aims to encourage and to make possible coming together, learning to and from each other, sharing and working together, creating and recreating, producing and reproducing together. It creates in this state of being together.

Nonetheless, the Collective is against the fetishization of creativity and productivity. It recognizes that only a part of what we do is creative, that we often just need recreation, and that most of the work we do is reproductive. Cleaning and cooking – among others – are two of the main activities that are regularly and frequently realized with the Atina Collective. We do not believe that in this world there are some genius minds whose mess needs to be cleaned by the non-genius so that they can create in peace. We believe that reproduction and production, recreation and creation go hand in hand. 

Our world is tremendously competitive and individualistic – the world of artistic creation is even more so. The myth of individual genius reigns. We often believe that art is a specific area of activity, best practiced by some special individuals and even better when these special individuals are free from worldly concerns. But this mentality that separates production from reproduction – and gives the latter a lot less value than the former – in many ways resembles the binary thinking that divides many things into two and systematically devalues reproduction, recreation, sustenance and care, devalues the work that makes the world go round. The Atina Collective resists this division, and tries to create an area where production and reproduction go hand in hand. No cleaner will sweep away part of the artwork thinking it is rubbish – because the people who produce the artwork are also the people who take care of it, and who take care of each other at the same time. 

The Collective has come together over the observation that often it is very difficult for women to show presence in a certain domain of activity simply because they are afraid to use the tools, or to try the skills, that it takes to show presence. She is often scared of making mistakes and of being judged as insufficient or lacking. But there is always somebody else present that has more confidence and less fear while trying something new – very often somebody that has been socialized as a man. The Atina Collective tries to enable spaces where this fear and lack of confidence in women is dissipated. It tries to create spaces where everyone feels encouraged to try and to experiment outside of their usual domain of activity. 

But the Collective also tries to stay away from idealizing itself. Enabling spaces where everyone – and especially the normally discouraged – feels encouraged entails that you have to accept that one has to maintain a critical distance also to oneself. It means to accept that there are other, very diverse, ways of being and working that are legitimate. It does not claim that it knows what is right. It shares its experience and thoughts, and learns from what others have to share with it. It tries to recognize other ways of being and acting as well, even if this means distancing itself to its own ideal. 

And in parallel to all of this, the Atina Collective is never targeted on the outcome. It is process-oriented. What is important is not only what we do but also how we do what we do. As essential as production is the ability to reproduce ourselves – to care for each other and to be able to stay together in solidarity. Before all else this is meant to be a creative family, for that is what we need, a loving and caring family. But it is also a lot more than a family, since it is one that constantly reflects on how to be one. It retains no constant division of labor and no essential hierarchy between different kinds of work. And it has no clearly defined boundaries. Everyone who participates in the process of the making of a work has the right to participate is by definition included in the “we” of the Collective. Those who participate are those who make the decisions. Belonging to the Collective therefore is not a status, but it is practice. 

What is the Atina Kolektifi?
The Atina Kolektifi is an art collective.
It is the endeavor of a group of women* who have come together* some day* at some point* to continue with their togetherness, to give a name to the desire to stay together, and to build a praxis and an ethics of doing things together.
“The things” is art.
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Bu websitesi Avrupa Birliği Sivil Düşün Programı kapsamında Avrupa Birliği desteği ile hazırlanmıştır. İçeriğin sorumluluğu tamamıyla Atina Kolektifi’ne aittir ve AB’nin görüşlerini yansıtmamaktadır.

What is the Atina Kolektifi?
The Atina Kolektifi is an art collective.
It is the endeavor of a group of women* who have come together* some day* at some point* to continue with their togetherness, to give a name to the desire to stay together, and to build a praxis and an ethics of doing things together.
“The things” is art.

A GROUP OF WOMEN:

The Atina Collective brings together a group of women. Women it is, for while we do not stay limited to a biological definition of women we recognize nonetheless that in today’s society women as a category is present, and socialization within this category defines one’s ways of feeling and acting. Hence a women’s collective, to explore how things could be done within this category. 

The collective does not want to clearly define who these women are that make the collective, since they feel that doing so would lead to the creation of borders and identities. The collective realizes itself through practices, and one is expected to be in or out through practices. It has come to being through reunions and hopes to expand through reunions. 

SOME DAY, AT SOME POINT:

Everybody might have different answers to the question of when the collective has started. June 2017 however is the date when the collective has come together for the first time. 

It was an idea that Esra had come up with in the early spring days of 2017 – the idea to have a reunion as a group only of women, where we would practice our arts or interests side by side, teaching to and learning from each other. The dream was to meet somewhere a little bit secluded, somewhere in the provinces, by the sea or up on a mountain, at a place that would allow us to only pay attention to ourselves and to whatever art or craft or interest we like to practice – and with no objective whatsoever of attaining an outcome or obtaining a product from the reunion. 

She told this to Sanem, whom she had ran into many years later in Ankara. Sanem told this to Burcu, someone she had met only a year ago in Paris and didn’t know so well, but knew that she would love the idea. Burcu talked about the idea to Céline, Céline told about it to Claire. Esra said it Çiğdem, and then to Perihan. In the meantime Burcu and Céline met Güli as they were travelling to Diyarbakır for work, and convinced her to also come to the reunion that was by that time at the stage of being organized, already dubbed “the modest feminist festival”, or “the free/unbound productive reunion”.  

The first reunion took place in Güre in Balıkesir, in Burcu’s aunt’s house by the sea, at a time when the weather was still a bit chilly and the holiday crowds had not yet arrived to the town. What made the space a meeting point was also the practices: limited and shared contact with the outside world, going shopping altogether with a common budget, or picking fruits. Social media and phones restricted to certain timesof the day, making sure that we are present body and mind. We are where we are, together, working together on the matters that this living together brings about. 

But the meeting did not make a collective, it is only in retrospect that we know that it started during that meeting. Towards the end of the reunion we knew that we had loved it, that it had made us all feel very good and that we wanted to continue with it, but didn’t know how to continue. For some time after the meeting we kept on discussing the question: what are we now? Eventually we decided that we were a collective. But we don’t remember when we decided that, and we also don’t remember how. 

WHY A COLLECTIVE

Nobody really remembers why or how it was decided that this is a collective. We didn’t go over all other possible ways of organizing and decide that this was not this or that but a collective. We chose the word because we liked it and now we are trying to be it. Collective is one of those emotionally charged words that attract you, that you want to stick to even if you are not sure what it entails. This is the case for us and the collective. We like it and we do it. We believe in performativity. 

WHY ATİNA

A part of the collective is now based in Athens. But the collective was named Atina long before this decision had been made, before the city of Athens was even considered as a destination for those of us who are now living there. Esra, Céline and Sanem had come together to Athens towards the end of April 2017, a few weeks after they had met each other, to join the Queer,Feminist Spring Festival organised in the now inexistent Cyklopi Squat. They had created a group on one of these messaging apps, which was called Atina. This is how the city of Athens, as well as the goddess Athena, are called in Turkish. While preparing for the meeting in Güre in June 2017 this group was extended to include the people who would be coming to the reunion. It was proposed a few times that the name be changed to something else, but it was always just a proposal to check how the others were feeling about it. Nobody really seemed to want to change it. So Atina remained Atina. Sometimes when we have to differentiate between the city and the collective we call one of them Atinuş, though it is never entirely certain which name signifies the city and which name the group. 

TOGETHER

It is very much about being together: The Atina Collective aims to encourage and to make possible coming together, learning to and from each other, sharing and working together, creating and recreating, producing and reproducing together. It creates in this state of being together.

Nonetheless, the Collective is against the fetishization of creativity and productivity. It recognizes that only a part of what we do is creative, that we often just need recreation, and that most of the work we do is reproductive. Cleaning and cooking – among others – are two of the main activities that are regularly and frequently realized with the Atina Collective. We do not believe that in this world there are some genius minds whose mess needs to be cleaned by the non-genius so that they can create in peace. We believe that reproduction and production, recreation and creation go hand in hand. 

Our world is tremendously competitive and individualistic – the world of artistic creation is even more so. The myth of individual genius reigns. We often believe that art is a specific area of activity, best practiced by some special individuals and even better when these special individuals are free from worldly concerns. But this mentality that separates production from reproduction – and gives the latter a lot less value than the former – in many ways resembles the binary thinking that divides many things into two and systematically devalues reproduction, recreation, sustenance and care, devalues the work that makes the world go round. The Atina Collective resists this division, and tries to create an area where production and reproduction go hand in hand. No cleaner will sweep away part of the artwork thinking it is rubbish – because the people who produce the artwork are also the people who take care of it, and who take care of each other at the same time. 

The Collective has come together over the observation that often it is very difficult for women to show presence in a certain domain of activity simply because they are afraid to use the tools, or to try the skills, that it takes to show presence. She is often scared of making mistakes and of being judged as insufficient or lacking. But there is always somebody else present that has more confidence and less fear while trying something new – very often somebody that has been socialized as a man. The Atina Collective tries to enable spaces where this fear and lack of confidence in women is dissipated. It tries to create spaces where everyone feels encouraged to try and to experiment outside of their usual domain of activity. 

But the Collective also tries to stay away from idealizing itself. Enabling spaces where everyone – and especially the normally discouraged – feels encouraged entails that you have to accept that one has to maintain a critical distance also to oneself. It means to accept that there are other, very diverse, ways of being and working that are legitimate. It does not claim that it knows what is right. It shares its experience and thoughts, and learns from what others have to share with it. It tries to recognize other ways of being and acting as well, even if this means distancing itself to its own ideal. 

And in parallel to all of this, the Atina Collective is never targeted on the outcome. It is process-oriented. What is important is not only what we do but also how we do what we do. As essential as production is the ability to reproduce ourselves – to care for each other and to be able to stay together in solidarity. Before all else this is meant to be a creative family, for that is what we need, a loving and caring family. But it is also a lot more than a family, since it is one that constantly reflects on how to be one. It retains no constant division of labor and no essential hierarchy between different kinds of work. And it has no clearly defined boundaries. Everyone who participates in the process of the making of a work has the right to participate is by definition included in the “we” of the Collective. Those who participate are those who make the decisions. Belonging to the Collective therefore is not a status, but it is practice. 

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