Issue #25

Sinem Dişli On Her Works with Sinem Dişli

İpek: First of all, we would like to start with a general question. For almost all of your works, we can say that photographs comply with the energy of the physical field and perhaps even submits to its energy. Therefore, the first step should be trying to find out what is the position of you in your photography. Although the question is a little bit cliché, is it possible to tell your perception of photography? Where does the photography end and where does the physical space/installation begin?

Coşkun Aşar On Blackout with Coşkun Aşar

Şener: First of all, can you tell us about your field of interests and motivation? Coşkun: I can say that I have interests in certain subjects which are similar to each other. I guess these come from my educational background. I studied in the Cinema Department, but it was under The Communication Faculty and I had the opportunity to get a journalism formation there. Photography was a medium that I was interested in for cinema; however, the solitude and loneliness of the photography attracted me. And after I started to be interested in, I took it seriously and continued. Of course, journalism formation and photojournalism education give me the ability to look at things more critically and to wonder.

Merve Ünsal On Tö

“Night and Fog” (1956) which Alain Resnais had made for only 10 years after the Holocaust, describes the unrepresentativeness of pain through the lack of language and images. In this film where the images of those days and the Holocaust photographs of the concentration camps are intertwined, the potential of forgetting of the place corresponds to the habits of forgetting, overlooking, ignoring of all of us, of the human being. One of the most effective ways of confronting the Holocaust, which unfortunately does not have the unique place in the history of humanity that we can agree about the unimaginable dimensions of its horror, is to begin to accept the feeling the slippery hill of the visual and verbal languages that try to describe. Zişan and İz Öztat’s “Tö” (2017) is predicated on the bloody inadequacies of languages. The tensions created by the language(s) cannot tell creates a space in Tö, where it is transformed to the material formalistically and began to produce its own language with vibrations. Tö is an artwork formed by three intertwined elements. The encounter at the base of the work, which can be considered as sculpture, publication and moving image (greeting the feelings of touching, handling, and caressing by Tö), restricts the movement of the audience in the space. The intestine tickling the architectural elements of the space by tying one column to the other, reminiscent the ribbon waiting to be cut in the opening ceremonies, a little bit inured, and the inability to get there. The familiarity with the form and the material itself does not diminish the severity of its use to mark the space. What leaves a trace on the audience is the fact that whom the violence is applied by whom is left unknown. The fact that the intestine is strained, the disguise of something removed from a dead body, actually interrupts our perception of the body, which is abstracted. The potential of the thing we are looking at, belongs to an organ that continues to exist in us at that moment, removes the skin as a cover and destroys the protection of its inner-outer boundary. While the intestine is becoming a touchable, observable object, we face the organic decay of our own body. With the decaying bodies at that moment, the ones under the ground, or the ones in unknown places.

Laleper Aytek I'm Scared, Mom! Someday If They Say to Me, 'You're a Photographer'...

(A reading attempt as a result of my companion to John Berger.) John Berger, in his article titled ‘Steps Toward A Small Theory of the Visible’ (1) (and the book with the same title), states through painting that “what seems like creation is the act of giving form”. (p. 34) I think, the definitions and explanations before this sentence, which emphasizes that the painter is not the ‘creative’ but the ‘recipient’ is very crucial: “The impulse to paint comes neither from observation nor from the soul (which is probably blind) but from an encounter: the encounter between painter and model -- even if the model is a mountain or a shelf of empty medicine bottles… When a painting is lifeless it is the result of the painter not having the nerve to get close enough for a collaboration to start. He stays at a copying distance. Or, as in periods like today, he stays at an art-historical distance, playing stylistic tricks which the model knows nothing about.’”(p. 31)

Fırat Arapoğlu Contemporary Art and Photograhy

The 1960s marked the beginning of the approach of photography in a different context under the umbrella of contemporary art and such names as Douglas Huebler and Ed Ruscha are its pioneers. In the art represented during this period, the camera does not mean more than a documentation instrument, a simple copying tool, and instant snapshots that are taken in museums, travels, fairs today. On the other hand, more or less the expectations of the audience were that they acted with such a perception reflex. The colored or black and white photographs that we see in biennials, art fairs, art galleries and museums with their visual attractiveness and success in terms of sales nowadays are neck and neck with paintings. In this context, the photographs are represented to the viewers as artworks, and they are approved by the buyers. What were the radical ideas of some artists of the 1960s when they included photography in contemporary art and who were their target groups? It is possible to evaluate the works of Vito Acconci, Victor Burgin, Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman, Hans Haacke, and many others on this axis. These artists used a semi-mechanic tool producing images in questioning the dominant position and status of the art object defined by its unique and original characters. But how?

Çiğdem İrem İleri From My Photobook Library: Engin Gerçek & Andy Rocchelli

I am very interested in the fact that the concept of intimacy is in contrast to its own, in terms of its nature and it is not possible to reflect the privacy without departing from the privacy. Adding to fact that the depth of the concept and the harshness of the other concepts are varied in intercultural context, it has aroused a desire to discuss this issue through two works from different cultures. The first work is a book whose photographs were taken by Engin Gerçek and texts were written by Uğur Tanyeli, entitled “İstanbul’da Mekan Mahremiyetinin İhlali ve Teşhiri: Gerilimli Bir Tarihçe ve 41 Fotoğraf”. This book is dedicated to a long period of time and it is a documentary. In the first half of the book, a collection of written sources about the evolution of space privacy in the historical process is presented; in the second half of the book, the concept is introduced to the audience through photographs from where it comes today. In the book, individuals of various ethnic groups are selected as subjects of the photographs and attention is drawn to alienation. The subjects selected in all of the photographs have extremely colorful and characteristic features and the color editing of these photographs is provided with vivid exaggerated tones to support this feature. Although it is aimed to photograph subjects in their everyday environment; in the houses where we are guests with the photographer, we are also a foreigner, a guest, and all the places and sometimes even the subjects have become most elegant faces prepared for us in advance. This is a contrast that the book points out in itself. As the subjects of the photographs are contrary to some way from the society, the book is contrary to its own name; the privacy of the space cannot be exposed but can be visualized as the host wants to show. In this way, Engin Gerçek also presents his violation of privacy with the absurd and intrusive reality to the audience.

İpek Çınar On Image Representation and Linguistic Performance in Sexual Violence News on Mainstream Media

“Representations are productive: photographs, far from merely reproducing a pre-existing world, constitute a highly coded discourse which, among other things, constructs whatever is in the image as an object of consumption - consumption by looking, as well as often quite literally by purchase. It is no coincidence, therefore, that in many highly socially visible (and profitable) forms of photography women dominate the image. Where photography takes women as its subject matter, it also constructs “woman” as a set of meanings which then enter cultural and economic circulation on their own account.’”(1) Although I have been very uncomfortable for a long time, there is an issue that I cannot put into words about my discomfort. So, I am trying to read more about it. I am trying to focus on news and image production methods in mainstream media on the news about sexual violence which makes all the flavors somewhat acrid. They are on the news, billboards, mailboxes at any time and any place through and the sharp side of them is coming down on me right in the lap. These sharp sides cannot be easily identified. Therefore, these images almost always sexualized the women by emphasizing the victimization of the person who is being attacked. Moreover, the language of the news overflow words like “helpless”, “weak”, “drama”, or sensational phrases like “twisted in the pain”, “being raped for days”.

Aslı Çelikel Pure

Art production is often mentioned with the effect that it creates on the audience and the emotion that it transmits. However, art is an instrument that contributes also the one who produces it. Alain de Botton, in his book “Art as Therapy” mentions that art is a solution for many of the fundamental problems and it is a form of therapy. The project of Aslı Çelikel, Pure, is a series of photographs which are the result of the artist’s effort to simplify her own life. The artist has begun to make radical changes in her life while taking on a difficult couple of years. In order to simplify her life, she threw away the things that she collected like a hoarder. And it has come to simplify her photography production. Çelikel’s project statement is also so simple: “'Pure' are the tiny fragments of the world that I dream to see when I wake up every morning. ‘Pure' is the desire to purify ourselves from the pollution in our minds, created by the synthetic and chaotic world imposed on us. The world is complicated and fast enough. Simple and slow is all we need…” Pure consists of placeless/timeless photographs of the everyday objects which are very simplified by the artist. It also offers a calmness by means of color and aesthetic for the audience. Çelikel continues to add new photographs to the series. It is also a matter of curiosity that whether the increase in the number of photographs in a work focuses on simplification will cause discomfort after a while.

Fatma Gültekin -I-

Are the streets defined by the street numbers really the ones without any special features? Or do they keep the secret about the characteristics of the world of that street? The answer must be the second one. Fatma Gültekin’s photography projects identified by numbers are like a street that does not let its emotions show for us. This is the most uninformative and shortest named project published on Orta Format until now. Fatma Gültekin produces all her photographs in a natural process, without any fiction. And the feelings of the many of these unmade scenes are common. Each series of photographs carry the charm of past after it has become the past. Although the things in the frame seem to be a trace of life, friends, places when we thought only through people and objects; there is only one sentence that they say when they come together with the charm on them: “Those days were very beautiful”. Her series usually do not pursue a particular story but collect the same feeling or search. Looking at these works one by one reinforces the sense of recall. These numbered series, none of which follow on a linear line illustrate the mind that collects fragments from different moments when someone tries to remember a specific moment. The project that we include here, number I, is the moments which gathers light, shadow, and reflection around their own secrets. This one is the least-remembered stories.

Sophie Barbasch Trained to be a Girl

Sophie Barbasch, a New York-based photographer, does not only work on the aesthetic appeal of the photographs but also comes to the forefront as a collector and a well-author. Previously, we have included her Fault Line project in the 18th Issue. And now, we include unique “Trained to be a Girl” which comes to the foreground with authoring and collecting. For many years, she has been asking men she did not know questions about love, loneliness, and regret such as “Please write me a love letter”, “Tell me about a mistake you made” or “What do you do about heartbreak?”, and then collected answers in a series of 10 volumes book. These questions and answers, each close to each other, each completes the sentence of each other soothe Barbasch’s anxieties as well as men that she has communicated. She describes her project as “a collection of fragmented voices that come together, decontextualized, abstracted, like an improbable poem.”. There is another agenda beyond that the project has sweeten up the artist. For instance, we can find traces of slummed femininity perception in the work “Tell me why I’m a good girl”. At this point, although men’s discourse seems positive, Barbasch states that the descriptions contain stereotypical judgments and misogyny that women are accustomed. Or the spook that she doesn’t really know these men who share their most private photographs… This tension between anonymous and closeness is another crucial point. It is possible to adapt this spook to every connection where the basic relationship with another person is established. So, this is not the internet culture. Although “Trained to be a Girl” contains a lot of text from the people the artist has talked with, we do not see the artist’s implications in written form. This promises both a reader can involve the project as a director, and a bunch of new stories that the artist cannot be imagined.

Cameron Schiller Cameron Schiller 2015-2017

“Cameron Schiller 2015-2017” is a selection from diaries that Schiller has also published online. Cameron Schiller states that this work is a diary that includes her close acquaintances and also provides to make explorations about herself. Schiller explains the people in her photographs: “Most of the people in my work are my friends and repeated characters. I have an abject fascination with these people because I see them all the time. It is voyeuristic – which is somewhat just the inescapable nature of photography – but it’s very much about my own discovery of these people, who I find strange and awesome in equal measure.” The way that photographs reflect the space and people is based on naturality. For the ones in the frame, the difference between the presence and absence of the camera is gone. Along with this, the purity and uniqueness of the photographs attract the audience as well as gives a feeling of annoyance. The works of Nan Goldin come to mind as well. Schiller says that the first photobook that she was excited about was Nan Goldin’s “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency”, and she adds: “Nan Goldin is probably my biggest inspiration. I think that’s partly because I really identify with her world – she was also from a small town and then at some point just merged herself into her tribe of outcasts and the LGBT community. There’s a real alignment there for me because there’s a lot of drag and dressing up and people who are really open with their sexuality and their gender in my world too. We’re both photographing our scenes from within them.” According to Schiller, everything is controlled and curated by the obsession with social media. For this reason, we are missing the real and fascinating world. For that reason, she shares herself and the sensitive parts of the world with us sincerely and completely.

Onur Girit Shadow of Doubt

One of the artists who had participated in Studio Vortex, Desislava Şenay Martinova, explained this workshop and Antonio d’Agata: “A workshop whose participants have never worried about anything but themselves, and who have come to terms with things and perceive what is going on around them through their own eyes”. Other than themselves, there is no matter and place to go; the journey of those who choose to tell their own stories. One of the other artists of this year’s workshop was Onur Girit who follows his own story in this unknown place. The photographs of Girit’s work which builds on finding a way in this life and death cycle also gives the signs of this pursuit feeling. The fact that it is produced in a very short period of time, and that the photographs contain sometimes physical, sometimes sensible darkness, creates a short-lived and short-range match feeling burned to see the way.