Gezi park and the woman in the red dress
The relationship between protesters and the media was in focus when Turkish activist and writer Gürkan Ozturan shared his experience of the 2013 Gezi Park occupation at the Screening Protest Seminar on October 23rd. His presentation, replete with rich imagery, emphasized that the occupation was a celebration of diversity, both in terms of the variety of groups from different parts of Turkish society that participated in the protests, and in terms of the outpouring of creativity involved in defying a massive police presence. This cultural creativity was evident in the many forms of expression and interpretations of events that circulated among protesters and members of the wider public. There was also a lively discussion about the few “iconic” images that dominated media coverage of Gezi Park worldwide, such as the ‘woman in the red dress’. Ceyda Sungur was caught on screen being sprayed with tear gas by riot police. The moment was interpreted and reproduced in numerous ways in mainstream and social media and in the cultural expressions coming out of Turkey. It was a reminder of the power of images, and their potential to lay bare the space and issues that fail to translate in the frames and routine practices employed to represent protest in news. As researchers we are thus inclined to remain sensitive to when such images penetrate the news feed. How can we recognise them, and how do they change news narratives?
Screening Protest — "Gezi park and the woman in the red dress," in The Screening Protest Project, October 26, 2015