Mu Tunc, is the face that meticulously hides behind the amazing “Diary Of Mu”, a website/electronic journal, where famous and interesting personalities from the world of the arts are interviewed in a rather personal style while being filmed simultaneously. It represents, as some people put it, “the other side of things”. Mu lives in Istanbul and constantly travels around the world seeking out “special” and “raw” people.
My first encounter with Mu was a random night in Athens, whilst he was on a project. We struck up conversation about the current state of communication and I found myself telling him that I’d love to write an article on him. His reply, was as simple as it was disarming. “I would be honored”. This was to be his first official interview as the man behind the Diary of Mu.
“ Et in Arcadia ego”,
The Artisan whilst The Arcadian.
- How would you label yourself?
I don’t believe in this “curriculum vitae” thing. I actually believe that the ongoing problems of our century- amongst other truths- uncover the fact that all these CV and personal career evaluation practices are a bit of a joke. I am not saying this to sound like a snob. My background consists of a variety of serious professional experiences in marketing, production, branding, art, advertising and more. Therefore, I’ve come to believe that there can be no actual “culture” through all this “career culture”. Craftsmanship is the key. Being creative without planning a career is the answer. If I were to label myself, I’d say I was a “creator” or an “artisan” rather than the bearer of a professional title.
- How many people run Diary of Mu?
The Diary of Mu is the “living” projection of my own life and sensibility. Regarding the shooting process, there is no team at all. When I am shooting it’s just me and the person whom I’m sharing the moment with. The footage then goes through a certain editing and technical process. I choose to collaborate with individuals who belong to a similar “cult” as myself, those whom I share common beliefs with.
- How did you come up with “Diary of Mu”?
It is so simple that it’s hard to say if it was an idea or just an instinct. Diary of Mu is my journal and I chose film as my main means of documentation. The main idea shares the same reasons that motivated the Greek traveller Pausanias and the style Goethe chose in order to express his feelings about his Italian Journey. The Latin phrase“Et in Arcadia ego” was the original motto behind the Diary of Mu which means “Even in Arcadia, there am I”. “I” refers to death, and “Arcadia” is a utopian land. French historian André Félibien translated it to, “the person buried in this tomb lived in Arcadia”. That explains it all. I am an Arcadian, a human, living in this sometimes utopian yet utterly real world” .
- What kind of requirements should a person meet in order to be featured in the Diary of Mu?
There aren’t any specifics. The only thing required is that you are real. This is not as easy as it sounds.
- Who picks the location of the interview?
First thing I’d like to clarify is that it’s not an interview. There aren’t any written questions or any kind of formalities before the filming. Everything is spontaneous. That’s why the stories have no real beginning or end. I want the viewers to immediately be able to connect themselves to the story.
- What does “the other side of the story” mean regarding the featured persons? What are you trying to uncover whilst interviewing someone?
Each story is engaging in its own different way but at the same time there is a connection between all the featured entries. I try not to gravitate towards a specific stereotype. This is why I refuse to use categories on the website such as; musician, artist, director, etc. We all become increasingly addicted to these assigned hashtags or quick references and obsess over the simplification of everything that makes us human beings. Though I must admit it does help us navigate through the social media world easily and rapidly. Congratulations to all of us! Have we lost our complexity and what makes us unique at the same time? Do we need to simplify everything in order to sell it without much difficulty? This is what I have to confront every single day, in every single place. In the Shoreditch district at the East End of London or in Berlin-Mitte, people are getting more and more anxious while trying to make ends meet and at the same time, abide by a vast range of codes and marketing hashtags out there. I prefer to create incomplete stories and promote feelings that are hard to share with anyone these days, even though at the same time, we are all constantly and persistently seeking those feelings. This idea is somewhat the opposite version of the whole global communication world concept that has been feeding off people’s anxieties and insecurities for at least the last 30 years. I am sorry to say it, but this entire “business” is not going anywhere, anymore. Good morning, Vietnam. The world has woken up. People are now trying to change that, especially young people.
- Some of your videos start in a very energetic, rather hyperactive mode and suddenly shift into intimate, slow filming, focusing on small details. You do this when the subject goes into a more personal mode. Is this the way you look at ife?
What you picked up on is really interesting. Actually, it is hard for me to pin point why I do this. What I am sure of though, is that I too have both energetic and emotional sides in my personal life.
- Would you say that Diary of Mu is a way for you to personally communicate with the public?
I am good at communicating with most people actually, but I have a strong desire to meet and speak with a variety of different people all around the world. My diary has been a means to reach out to many different people from across the globe in the last three years.
- What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I like a variety of stuff ranging from late 70’s Sheffield sounds to Neu Deutsche Walle, even Washington D.C. hardcore bands. So things like Cabaret Voltaire, KLF, Suicidal Tendencies, D.A.F., Gang of Four, Coil, Tangerine Dream, Arcadia, N.W.A., Yellow Magic Orchestra, Black Sabatth, Chris & Cosey, Public Image Ltd., A-ha, Dopplereffekt, to name a few.
- What’s your favorite movie?
That is a long list actually but I can somewhat sum it up; The Last Laugh, Sorcerer, Man Bites Dog, Heat, Breakfast Club, The Swimmer, Risky Business, Weekend, Dead Calm, After Hours, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, Suspiria, Trafic, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Punch-Drunk Love, Rebel Without A Cause, A Better Tomorrow, Ms.45, The Thing and Eyes Wide Shut.
- How independent does Mu feel?
I feel completely independent. I am my own investor.
- What is “weird” for you?
For most people “weird” means good. Let’s say that in contemporary street language “weird” is cool, right? Considering that, being normal is what’s weird for me.
- Do you believe people lack imagination? Is it a sign of the times?
No, I don’t think so. Imagination exists in all our daily life experiences. If you talk cheap, eat cheap, buy cheap, read cheap, sleep cheap, drink cheap, f*** cheap and think cheap… Yeah, you’ll probably end up looking for imagination under a wishing tree.
- Could you describe your feelings half an hour before meeting the person to be interviewed and identify the same feelings the first minute after completing the project?
I actually don’t feel anything at all, before or afterwards. I feel whatever it is I’m feeling during the process. That spontaneous exchange changes my feelings every minute. That’s what I like the most.
- ‘Life begins outside your comfort zone’. Do you agree with this quote? What is a ‘comfort zone’ for you?
I absolutely agree. For me, a comfort zone depends on someone or something else to fill a void, rather than ‘employing’ yourself to do it. If we are talking about friendship or romance, then I think we need to create more comfort zones with people in our private life. In terms of empowering our personal creative spirits I suggest we do the opposite. I believe one evolves, only by touching your own deep (low?)point. You can’t find your deep point if you stay in your comfort zone.
- Does surrealism have any place in your life?
I might think in a more or less surreal way but as I said previously, I don’t believe in such ‘labels’. I believe in abstract thinking and I try to remain quite organic. I don’t mean in the fashionable lifestyle oriented way, or something like organic horticulture. I mean being raw. I think nothing was learnt from the World Wars, in terms of how we must change our thinking structure regarding things and people. Working on new technologies and behaviors led my generation to change the on-going problems of solid thinking in the beginning. Abstract thinking helped us find the idea of the “Spreadsheet”. If you’ve read Vladimir Nabokov’s book “Pale Fire” (1962), you probably know that the idea of “Hypertext” aka HTML was founded in a laboratory. Then again that punk attitude of the ‘Silicon Valley’ spirit, turns us into slaves of corporate investors who believe standardization is the only way to profit. This makes us all act like engineer related doers of a base camp, who are solely capable of writing in excel spreadsheets. This lifestyle can only cause depression and anxiety. Isn’t it funny that we are more capable of creating beautiful things technologically, but at the same time we become more and more “moody”? Everyone is moody these days. There is a syndrome called “burnout”, you know?
- Do you believe the economic crisis is a “grave”, or an opportunity for people to be more creative?
The crisis is indeed amazing. Observing a crisis is amazing. Living through a crisis is amazing. For the people of my generation, the global crisis that we are facing right now is the answer. We are forgetting the fact that we started a new century. If we do it right, people like us are going to be considered as “classics” in 2090.
- If you were granted a “last meal” who would you have it with? Where would you choose to dine and why.
Alexander The Great, F. W. Murnau, Diogenes, Bernard Lewis, Marcel Duchamp, Nicholas Ray, Hector, Gilles Deleuze, Michael Mann, El Lissitzky, Leonardo da Vinci and Elia Kazan. I can’t explain the reasons individually. I think seeing all these people around the table would be as crazy as knowing that dinner would be your last.
- What are you currently working on?
I am currently traveling all the time to meet with new people.
“Sharing is The New Search”.
Interview: Mary Kitsopanou
Photo: Ceylan Sözer