Father Knows Best
  • Father Knows Best

     Father Knows Best

    A series of digital images taken from a 1957 USA

    Television program “Father Knows Best”

    One framed English 50 x 70 cm. silkscreen print/

    One framed Turkish 50 x 70 cm. silkscreen print

    250 English 50 x 70 cm. digital prints/

    250 Turkish 50 x 70 cm. digital prints



    Seemingly innocent television programs are never innocent.  They influence values and identity formation.  As a child I watched a television program, “Father Knows Best”.  I could never completely remember nor completely forget these programs about a perfect middle class family with three children, a boy and two girls.  Fifty years later I bought the series on e-bay from someone who had made VHS copies of re-runs in the 1980s. I chose one of the programs, “Betty, Girl Engineer”, a program conveying the message that engineering is an inappropriate profession for females.  I translated the program into Turkish. Had there been television in Istanbul at the time, how would the Istanbul audience have understood the message? While getting married may have been a priority for Istanbul women, it was not abnormal for a middle class Istanbul woman to study engineering.  I know that this television program influenced my ideas about the ideal family, family roles, acceptable careers and female behavior.  Today in our global environment, television programs made in Turkey or the USA or Europe or Japan or anywhere in the world travel from country to country and spread ideas and influence opinions.  For this exhibition, I transformed one mode of popular exchange into another, a television program into a self-portrait type of photo roman.  For presentation, I used a traditional mode of reproduction highly popular in the 1950’s and 60’s the time of the screening of this program.  Number one of the ten limited edition silkscreen prints is more valuable than the others.  Today adhering to the rules of the market economy, digital prints gains value as the number available decreases.  Therefore, I am giving away digital prints during the show so that when only one of the 250 digital prints remains, it will have also gained value.