Barış Doğrusöz: Lamenting the Ruins
By HG Masters
“Until the time is right, the only way to preserve what we discover is to bury it under the sand,” a computerized voice intones over a vividly orange-saturated aerial view of desert sands at the opening of Barış Doğrusöz’s multichannel video installation Sandstorm and the Oblivion (2017). This paradoxical proposal runs counter to the archeological method—the unearthing of sites and objects to reconstitute their peoples’ history and culture into an authoritative narrative of the past. Yet, ever since British colonial troops in the 1920s inadvertently uncovered the murals of millennia-old temple at the bend in the Euphrates river near the present day border between Syria and Iraq, the ancient hilltop city of Dura-Europos embarked on a new era, one of archaeological rediscovery and destruction that continues today, with its looting during the regional conflicts of the past decade.