Law of Delusion / Performative Lecture


hukuk_sunum1_900x600 Hukuk-u Hayal (Law of Delusion), performative lecture; Co-action Device: A Study, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Galata Greek School, 2013

The narrator performs the following text reading it on stage. The translator who steps in upon hearing the first Latin words (“Leges Duodecim Tabularum”) accompanies the text by improvising in a language he has made up that sounds like Latin; translates the text into this concocted language. The presence of the translator and his spontaneous contribution turns into a performance on its own as an absurd layer added to the prewritten presentation text.


Religious law, civil law, law of delusion
Article 62, paragraph 5, clause 1
Article in the Systematics of Law

When the entire city is fast asleep,
Fatties desk-bound,
Slackers in the moonlight,
Inspecting married mice
At a reputable shelter,
As accords the laws of engagement,
Holding unsanctioned meetings
With null and void boards

Where did these articles come from, when the nature of matter and memory are so different?

Once upon a time, as they were put into writing, laws started to undergo a change. Laws which were rhymed, simple and poetic in oral tradition primarily so that they would be easier to memorize became complicated once put into writing. Sentences grew longer and became passive. Scores of sub-clauses were added into single sentences. Texts gradually became more abstract. As details multiplied a broader, more inclusive language was adopted. For instance the acts of killing a person with a knife, pistol or by strangulation or overdose are all covered in a single article: Murder.

Aggravated Homicide

Article 82.- (1) In cases where murder with intent is perpetrated;
a) By plan,
b) Savagely or through infliction of torment,
c) With fire, flood, destruction, sinking or bombing or by use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons,
d) Against any one of the antecedents or descendants, or spouse or siblings,
e) Against a child or a person who cannot protect himself due to corporal or spiritual disability,
f) Against a pregnant woman,
g) By virtue of public office,
h) With the intention of concealing or facilitating commission of an offense, or destroying the evidences,
i) (ADD: 29/6/2005 – 5377/9 art.) With the rage of not having committed a crime,
j) Blood feud,
k) By motivation of custom,
the offender is sentenced to heavy life imprisonment.

Rules of law were put in writing upon the people’s demand for transparency. The first written legislation of the Roman Republic era namely The Law of the Twelve Tables (“Leges Duodecim Tabularum”, 451- 449 BC) was prepared as a result of the Roman people’s (plebian) demand for access to law.

- Sumumi u sumumi del manta. Sumum cus sum mai danka. Sum pukika. Saylent les intoraryum sivis pakem pare moskito. Summitu sun carianta – sie sie paradita.

Until then the Roman people were governed by the nobility (patricians) according to the rules of customs and traditions which were kept like a secret. In order to learn these rules people used to consult individuals deemed knowledgeable by the society who would make explanations if they felt like it. Moreover these individuals did not hold any authority or responsibility regarding the explanations they made. Finally in order to bring an end to the arbitrary practices the public demanded the unwritten flexible rules of customs and traditions to be transformed into a written system accessible to everyone.

- Sapia dominus arthur. Dominus may go nutus.

However, in a manner contrary to this demand for transparency, the language of law put in writing started to become complicated over time and lose its transparency.

- Sapia meskotanta. Kaos strade.

But why – why?

- So homi insekale?

- Who knows?… To boast, to establish power, to monopolize classified information, to make people dependent on one’s self, etc…

- Radiks malaryum eskapilas. Eskapitas malaryum la barbare…

- Well, to me these sound like human weaknesses.

- Kue kapito non se te tio.

- Wonder if laws are human?

- Kuepta latina ditto homina huminis big appetitetus?

- It is yet unknown but is being researched. Rumor has it that they’ve been seen sparkling and moving in the sky on certain nights.

- Kuyido huyimon petta, astra.

- I would not know, no need, don’t want to be put down as a witness.

- Kuali zartifos, ta reo, no ma pare!

… Then in the presence of witnesses I declare these two people man and wife.

- Nimu varitti prodram, la va bandi, la me huerte.

You may kiss the bride.

- Kue sarte, puero.

So you see; when the need arose to kiss the bride there emerged a demand for a right.

- Neo bisita neo bici tamba onli bit quaste.

This claim was regulated by laws and a family was started.

- Luptes piribus, quare, home. Home totalli.

Is that what happened? Let’s see…

- Homo… Homo quik…

The anatomy of a relationship:

Needs – rights – laws

- Homo su human naniante aliante punto – punto della tempra

Needs – laws – rights

- Lestudo el humus loreyne il vertel macistreto

Rights – needs – laws

- Luptus tribus la viba obvimus

Rights – laws – needs

- Hora figistlet homi humuni lupus

Laws – needs – rights

- Lupus hummuni mumo

Laws – rights – needs

- Humusi humadi mila aliyenti punto

The combination

- Luptu minibus lirayi tribus e lustiya omnibus homo homini lupus

While human needs are in individual persons (and generally the needs are in all sorts of living beings),

- Homo water porti min il ravioli,

human rights are between these individuals.

- Luptis viribus humuni trubus.

Between us
there are
rows of rights
sometimes separating us
or bringing us closer
or even gluing us together
every second

Anglo-Saxon law is based on cases, the judge looks at earlier decrees given in similar cases. Let’s take a look at that famous case of “Loving Law”: Mildred Loving, black woman; Richard Loving, white man. Year 1967. Place Virginia. The law of love was rewritten. America is on fire. At least two people. There must be at least two people to make a demand for a right. When the common needs warming up in hearts are cooked with the demand for a right, they are served before the law. At the end of a long struggle the law that prohibits interracial marriage is annulled by the American supreme court.

- Dura lez lets sex, do senta distur, do sente dustur skribente cogito. Desiperi um cestrum gestribum. İl gestriuim de juri, de facto. De facto, occupy.

When word and action come together, when my word becomes the law, a hayloft becomes a dream castle. I say therefore I do. I salute Austin and pronounce you all man and wife.

- Se sentre le regime iniyotis butcher ipse ipse les repetita klasse irresete nor no narbeila, kesanta torto le ges masita barbarian.

What does norm mean?

- Bi subeta presa norm?

What is normal?

- Bis repetite klase bis repeta “la normal”?

Are norms static or dynamic?

- Simus ea static, simus ea dinamic?

If norms change constantly, can normal remain constant?

- Siges lege interalma interalma le siges paçen provakemistiker?

Norms can change.

- Simo suis, in inkrebende.

There are normative acts.

- Simus e sim kuade normale.

These don’t have to be the norm.

- Sim sirius sima injuria – sim puika.

They are not defined as normal and abnormal.

- Sivis paçen parabinnup.

An example:

- Sis pacye:

The sign that was used for the bicycle lane in Philadelphia used to be like this (Figure 1A) whereas in the new figure the cyclist is wearing a helmet (Figure 1B). This addition is a normative act: It proposes cyclists should wear helmets. Wearing a helmet may or may not become the norm, and it absolutely cannot be qualified as normal or abnormal. However, in any case by encouraging wearing a helmet a normative act is undertaken.

- Diem perdide dies erdid i diyes semper irade, vittirius e quas, vi quas a dixi, disketti disco. Scrabenti cogito. Cogito, cogito el bossum.

A normative act is undertaken.

- Doktus kon libro, domestus vi.

An act is undertaken.

- Doktus vubius, doktum libro, ilberati libre librimo.

Act is undertaken.

- Dİes libro deguel la si sental.


- Vittirius.

- Why are you speaking in the passive voice?

- İve koras kua temporaryos?

- Because the laws speak like this.
- Where is the subject?

- Biks, co sinto?

- The subject is in effect, it will come.

- Do sento kon libru.

The norm receivers are the states and the norm sender is the community or organization of states, today generally interpreted as the United Nations General Assembly convening for universal human rights; and the norm objects are individuals. (J. Galtung)

- Draku komnients, nante tragablus, trablus do cento libido domini.

… An animal, a tree, a celestial object or structure may be the cause of evil, but it can’t be a norm sender and/or norm receiver. Or we assume so as per the rules of modernity.

- Erare humani eprense e perseviye dia de kul. El die di kul, kuetempre filaro del tempre o das humanas mendas.

(here an animal, tree, objects can be used)

- El frutto, el hu, cogne satur, emim tablus, cigarre, mondi…

Who is this LEGAL ENTITY?

- Ecco hommo?

If not in reality, at least in theory a legal entity is active agent who can receive the relevant norms in two ways.

- Ex abstrato, abstratos quan videli.

*Fâilâtün / Fâilün /
Mefâilün / Feûlün!

Legal Entity 1:

- İli tebum prince:

- Please let us not take it personally…

- İl fakito ilemi piers…

Legal Entity 2:

- il dento ibse i dente:

- Hah, you are not the one I answer to.

- İe gus tedelse que, ade!

- A. Legal entity

- Bikura opus.

- A-aaa! Legal entity

- Bikorun quartos.

Article 50. -

- Fraktatum les melli.

The will of the legal entity is expressed through its organs.

- Ortis et lieber, diagonal, de spleen.

The organs may put the legal entity under obligation by legal transactions and all other acts.

- Homosu humano mimenti alimenta puku, puku bonus tadıki, la visa.

The organs of legal entity are also individually responsible from their defaults.

- İbide minez, enis hominu, iris noche.

… and the legal entity who gets diarrhea leaves the room in a hurry.

- İn medio stap brütüs, ol partibus, partibu slibus, konsettu solicis, tibi tibi turbo.

10 breaths, intermittent.

- İn vino, vitru viva, intro viva, de isto, de isto, de histo.

The perpetrator centered approach appears in many places in this legal paradigm.

- İros so soleil froid de best, ire et dona best.

First, the fundamental unit is the perpetrator. (J. Galtung)

- Aytego artini, dela batto.

Second, the legal perspective tries to use three methods under the heading of “dealing with wrongdoing”

- Luvari in verbe magistruano, verteko, vertemuti:

1. Reforming the perpetrators

- İriverte traleybus

2. Enfeebling the perpetrators

- Jivestati kamso veylo, macente

3. Pacifying the perpetrators

- Maglevenu genelo simto itur, astragata ittur


Heaven and Hell
Reward and Punishment
Concrete perpetrators

- Maraganu, obvious praise, malamanus, obvious ridicule

The legal system defends itself in face of situations not pertaining to norms.

- Makte o amito cenerasum quer sikritum. Sikritum non linere rebetika.

The legal system re-finds itself with the volition of law.

- Magreti sente karbus, magreta katrium nesesitas.

E. Dissolution of personality

- Vidi quare kibirut

F. Reserved provisions

- Kuegna natura saba

The rest of the story is reserved under various provisions.

- Memento ori resemble, memento mori.

Limited continuation has been regulated with additional articles and is optional with the purpose of liquidation.

- Mendeso menere otopre, mendeso more autoportrait.


- Milita tombris

“The like attracts the like”,

-”Misif dominici.”,

is a fundamental law accepted by individuals who have been subject to the mirror effect.

- modis viviendi il morsel vitta interno.

There is a fundamental similarity between traditions of the law and thought patterns of cultures.

- Multisi mukatti eleveretta simta vivendi operendi du domineci.

- In Anglo-Saxon / Scandinavian normative culture incompatible norms may be discarded.

- Avudo sempre anglosaxon el kubris el monere, et trettapra.

New norms replace these.

- E… El kompenia sere to se, toto retti.

In German normative culture incompatible norms may be concealed.

- Nihiles omnenpartu, sweep underatu.

The “pyramid of norms” from the past is not rejected. New norms may be added.

- Novi smisero premium non chiente, non chiente obstrata.

In Latin normative culture incompatible incidents are addressed one by one.

- Non fi fi non su o kuro.

The normative system is more an object of admiration than alliance.

- Novi se sinsure novi kom tere mium no ce.

Norms are preserved.

- No sete estiembre evidente.

Grace of the word!

- Nun inte eda mimu, sedu edante.

In Japanese normative culture there is less emphasis on deductive rigidity, and more on reciprocity with the world of phenomena.

- Lise domnibes agri domino nom sobis non yamagashi, inoti tubula.

With a masterful reinterpretation, norms are interpreted. (J. Galtung)

- Ute tam bido sedu just a sprinkle.

… and without seeking complaint, the punishment to be decreed is increased by half.

- Num nan kuen es libentum el deus half en halfe.

Concrete perpetrators lived happily ever after,

- Okire pulus cushion quandu kulus,

and the null and void in condominiums …

- Occupy Gezi!


* Two patterns of Arud meter in Diwan poetry


Law of Delusion
Şafak Çatalbaş

Text: Şafak Çatalbaş, Pınar Bahtiyaroğlu
Performance: Şafak Çatalbaş, Ali Şahan Kuru, Sırma Öztaş (with Seçil Demircan, Nazlı Bulum, Rıdvan Erdem Kaynarca and “Co-action Device Chorus”)

Co-action Device, 2013