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The Aesthetics and Publics of Testimony

Participation and Agency in Architectural Memorializations of the 1993 Solingen Arson Attack

Eray Çaylı

Abstract

Physical environments and their images feature increasingly prominently today in efforts to contend publicly with political violence, making aesthetics ever-significant to discourses and practices of testimony. Critics have shown that the publicness of the platforms and practices used in these efforts is marked by disparate levels and types of participation and agency. Relatively underexplored, however, is how those disadvantaged by this disparity navigate it and what role aesthetics may play therein. I explore these questions through fieldwork on architectural memorializations of the 1993 Solingen arson attack where a family with Turkish background were targeted at home in their sleep. I argue that the arson attack has featured in these memorializations not simply as the subject of testimony but also as a force structuring its aesthetics.