Donkey Work


The research project focuses on using animals as workers in Mardin. Since 2009 Mardin Municipality has been using donkeys to collect refuse in certain streets that large vehicles cannot pass through. During our research we planned to interview the main actors on this subject, from the Municipality to the owners and workers who take care of the donkeys as well as filming the daily life and observing the living and working conditions of the donkeys.
With regard to the animals as workers, this research project tries to look at the relationship between human institutions and animals from the perspective of labour.


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  • The Shadow of The Donkey

    19 May 2016 15:36 by ACTOPOLIS

    The project entitled “DONKEY WORK” refers to field research undertaken by Onder Ozengi about the garbage-carrier donkeys in Mardin. It was presented on 12th May 2016 at the renovated library of the Goethe-Institut Ankara as part of the Actopolis projects in Ankara/Mardin. The main focus of the project was the use of animal labour and its relationship with human labour in the economy within a cultural-economic framework of animal/human labour practices in public and private spaces, and it formed part of Ozengi’s studies on the subject of labour: “While studying the history of labour, the question as to whether the animals formed part of the working class offered an interesting start to this project.”


Önder Özengi

Önder Özengi

Actopolis-City: Ankara / Mardin

Önder Özengi (1978) is a curator, researcher and critic based in Istanbul. He studied Anthropology at Ankara University from 1996 to 2000 and Art Management at the Yıldız Technical University (İstanbul) from 2003 to 2008. He wrote his MA thesis about institutional critique after the 1960s and alternative institutional practices.

Önder Özengi has curated various exhibitions including “Relative Position and Conclusions”, Suriye Arcade, Istanbul, 2009; “There is Nothing to Lose”, Stærekassen, Copenhagen, 2010; “Between Imaginaries & Encounters”, Hamursuz Fırını, Istanbul, 2012; “Never Again” Depo, Istanbul, 2013. He co-runs a research project on labour in contemporary art. He also writes critical reviews for various magazines, exhibition catalogues and books.