COnscription is a multimedia installation, by Caglar Kimyoncu, inspired by stories from Turkey exploring the call-up to military service for people who don’t 'fit the mould'.

A Latin proverb used to send a clear warning: 'If you want peace, prepare for war' (Si vis pacem, para bellum). Its power hasn't subsided. In the name of this 'peace', seemingly liberal and tolerant societies perpetuate a state of coercion through compulsory military service. Judgements are made about 'fitness' and 'suitability' for an ultimate - still undefined - goal. Where do human rights, individual choice, freedom and dignity fit into this picture?

COnscription comes to East London in May, aiming to encourage people from all sections of society to search for answers: Four individuals meet at a military hospital – three subjects under assessment, and their doctor. A four-channel film follows their characters and stories, as these emerge through the imposed intimacy of the hospital ward to create a compelling, thought-provoking and dramatic multimedia installation at the Old Truman Brewery. A military hospital room is reconstructed at the exhibition space, making the visitor feel like an unseen protagonist. Avoiding a judgemental or prescriptive approach, the visitor is prompted to explore the position of the individual within the social system, and what it means for the two to be at odds.

Building on first-hand research and interviews with people who have direct experience of conscription and conscientious objection, the narrative is based on circumstances in Turkey but deals with the subject in a universal, global manner.

COnscription is the first project in 'Conscientious Objectors', a series of collaborative research-based focusing on countries which use conscription and national service. COnscription is funded by the Arts Council England www.artscouncil.org.uk

Exhibition: 2 – 18 May 2013

  • Old Truman Brewery, 4 Wilkes Street, E1 6QF
  • Tues – Sun, 11am – 6pm / Fri 11am – 8pm
  • 2 May: Part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ‘First Thursdays’


  • 15 May: panel discussion (International Day of Conscientious Objection)
  • Further info about events and the project: caglark.com/conscription

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