Urbanscapes

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Just as we assume that the worlds we live in are flowing endlessly, we also realize how we are confined and solidified by these worlds’ fortified façades, shallow ceilings and concrete walls that don’t allow the captions of light anymore. We become camera obscuras of ourselves, as the passages, as cacophonic and creepy spaces of indecisiveness between two dark ends, which unfold a way for transition between two realities are taken out of circulation today as well. 

Recording the city’s constantly changing forms is to make a supplement to the urban collective memory. However, to penetrate into this stiffed body’s dry and fractured skin, and to traverse its porous, spongy and cavernous tissues, turns it into an organic microorganism, which can transform itself once again.

In this way, the yet unnoticed points of views, ways of expression and different positions become possible to explore within the infinite realities of life. It is only in this way that space and time, as Rudolf Arnheim’s says, can be envisaged and analyzed as a different form of “visual thinking.”

By reediting and abstracting reality, it becomes possible to exist in the yet inexperienced and unexplored dimensions of space and time in which we live. 

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In this exhibition, Erdal Inci explores the temporal and spatial realities of “Urbanscapes” with an innovative and experimental approach. In times where cities and nature are mutated rapidly, Inci challenges to transform the ways in which we perceive urban architectural structures and interior spaces.

The works are presented as the outcomes of artist’s recent research process. While artistic intervention is kept at minimum, scientific and technological methods are given priority to be appropriated. 

Using data visualization and photogrammetry as digital visualization techniques, which are employed in diverse fields such as medicine, forestry, archaeology, aviation and crime scene investigation, the artist magnifies our points of views and increases our possibilities of access within our limited visions. As “visual documents,” they present diagnoses about the transformation of urbanscapes today. 

It is possible to view this exhibition by two interrelated layers and various folds in which these layers form fractal manners.

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As colossal monuments of power, today we come across with algorithmic architecture and data stacks, which lead to a new state and governmentality formation. As Robert Müsil puts it: “There aren’t any structures as invisible as monuments”. Monuments do not allow a variety of experiences and they provide a directed perception of reality. The static form of the pedestal inhibits the formation of free thought and feeling. This makes the monument, the information that the monument conveys and the power, which constructs the monument, invisible.

The invisibility of an urbanscape, such as The Berlin Wall, expresses today the invisibility of both the realities of the architectural constructions embody and the transforming values that are related to these realities. By the collapse of The Berlin Wall, which was designed to prevent leaks and distinct two ends as a fortified façade, the monument becomes as a subtracted façade in our horizontal plane oriented vision. It becomes a “non-space,” a consumable meta.

On the other hand, today the dominating architectural structure is rising on a vertical plane in urbanscapes. Stacking up on top of each other, vertical forms reveal a way of “visual thinking” about the invisible structure that is ready to collapse only in a single frame.

Due to its horizontal plane, The Berlin Wall and the realities, which led to its construction and collapse, cannot be viewed as a totality in a single frame. This is also valid for our contemporary conception about the implications and effects of today’s algorithmic governmentality since they can only be sensed and experienced fragmentarily, dynamically and vertically. Neither the architectural size of the wall in totality, nor the information pertaining to the processing of its construction and collapse can no longer be perceived. As a result of this obscuring enclosure and occlusion, information related to the political, social and economic developments, which lead to the construction and the collapse of power structures is also way too fragmented and dissolved to perceive.

For this reason, Inci’s work, as an extraordinary work of data visualization becomes a challenge to augment the perception of realities that are constructed by scattered data stacks, which could not be sensed and expressed in any ways with preceding methods functioning in linear modes. With this particular data visualization work, Inci displaces the information realities, which have turned non-spaces into urbanscapes by augmenting them with new forms of temporality via time-images. The processing of the construction and the collapse of an architectural structure is suggested as a way of contemporary visual thinking.

Thus, by augmenting a visual thinking form, not to the notion of construction but to the notion of collapse, Inci makes a supplement to our urban collective memory, which reminds us how something once presumed to be noncollapsible can, in fact, collapse. In this work, Inci’s use of the architectural features in one-to-one scale and proportion is closely related to his reality abstraction approach and the series in which he uses photogrammetry as well.

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In the second phase of his research process, Erdal Inci uses the data based mapping method of photogrammetry as a way of artistic production with an innovative approach. Photogrammetry is derived by the words phōtō- (φωτω), grámma (γράμμα) and métron (μέτρον). In fact, photogrammetry is a science, which is based on producing knowledge and documents by drawing and measuring with light.

As a technique which has been used primarily in diverse fields such as architecture, city and regional planning, forestry, archaeology and crime scene investigation, photogrammetry is displaced by the artist in his visual documentation works by being used alongside certain principles associated with science such as one-to-one computation, calculation, certainty, verification, validity, accuracy and deduction.

On the other hand, by compiling spatially and temporally diverse particles in an eclectic way, Inci designs dynamic and fluid realities via taking one visual data stack and adding it to another without presenting them in neither a single, nor in the repetition of that frame.

Besides, Inci’s “model” conception emerges as another innovative feature of this photogrammetry series. Instead of their representative existence, each model is evaluated as an entity, as a “thing in itself” in this series. This specific model conception, which embodies Inci’s nettachments with his painting and photography background, is vaccinated into these various fields that work with models as representative fact-making apparatuses.

In this series, there is an attempt to create an emerging way of abstraction in addition to the one-to-one representational modeling approach. In fact, the objects/subjects that we see as models in each work form content and mediate to reveal those concealed and invisible things, which are already inherent in each model. As things in themselves, each of these mediating agencies, in turn, form the visual documents.

Instead of depicting a model, numerous things, which appear with the captions of light are accurately measured, precisely defined and meticulously reassembled with each other to create emerging compositions of reality. For instance, in contrast to the artist’s static point of view in still life painting, knowledge is produced by the measurement and the identification of various relations, which the model forms with the space around it, and thus, a fluid and dynamic points of views as visual documents are created. 

Inci visualizes interior spaces from the inside and opens the interior views from the outside. Opening the folds of sterile, inorganic and solid interior spaces of models, he also recognizes their organic, infected and one-of-a-kind tissues as well as their internal organs, veins and cells as models.

On the other hand, the works in this series augment the perception of realities by way of “subtraction” as an artistic intervention. By subtracting the stage wall of the Ses Theatre, the viewers become the thing in itself that is being viewed. By subtracting the façade of his apartment, the artist becomes the thing in itself that can be viewed from outside, although recorded inside. By subtracting the ceilings of painters’ workshops, portraits are formed as visual documents, which provide points of views about contemporary artists and artistic production that perhaps have never been viewed as such before.

Visualizing his immanent spatial-temporal reality perception from the outside, Inci shares his observation-based reality production process by reminding us how the things which we think are colossal are in fact very small, and how even the smallest things include the most complicated and innovative infinities.

If we are to follow Zizek in thinking with Lacan’s concept of extimité, what is at stake here is not self-consciousness, or a functional search for intimacy or the exposure of privacy, or the pearl (inci) inside the shell of an oyster; it is rather acquiring new thoughts and points of views, which visualize the interior from the inside and open it’s folds to view from the outside by changing the points of observation and displacing the self positions continuously. This epistemological transformation of the subjective points of views itself reflects the existential transformation of the object, which is considered objective // truth.

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Sublime is the splendor of nature, 

viewed from a real or imagined frame,

since what makes the scenery sublime

is the distance provided by the frame

Ebru Yetiskin

23 April 2016, Istanbul