Artist Statement

Even before I started my freshman year at engineering school I knew that I would not practice engineering as a profession. By that time, I had already opened a studio where I produced images with experimental photographic techniques. However, courses like math, physics, and computer science were very appealing, and I felt that engineering as a discipline was inducing me to approach issues analytically. Besides, I was quite active in the politically-charged student clubs, and their vibrant social atmosphere provided inspiration to my artistic endeavors. I was surrounded by a small circle of intellectuals, artists and writers, and I was working hard to learn more about visual arts and politics, as well as improving my technical skills in photography, video, design and later digital media at large. It was around this time that I came across the term Sozial Plastik (Social Sculpture), put forward by Joseph Beuys, illustrating the idea of art’s potential to transform society. A social sculptor is an artist who creates structures in society using language, image, thought, action, and object.

Since then, to me, art has been a series of activities made up of research, design, production and presentation. Through this process, my aim is to create meaning stripped of cultural connotations yet creating social value. My body of work is surrounded by social and cultural engagements.

In an effort to create the most effective presentations, I refused to settle into any established medium of expression, and instead, chose to move fluidly between various media, including photography, video and information design. Some of these presentations appeared as site-specific or public space installations and in screen-based formats, including online works.
I value collective artistic endeavors greatly. In the postmodern age in which the art world is dominated by self-absorbed art production, and where personal narratives override all others, I believe that collectivity is a great exit from this kind of subjectivity. After years of intercontinental interaction and collective production on national and urban matters, I commenced some individual, research-driven projects dealing with global and environmental issues three years ago. Although I currently pursue my projects individually due to technological dependencies and the complexities of the subject matters that I tackle, collaborations and negotiations play a vital role, especially at the production stage. I see this as an opportunity to keep up with the collective production spirit and social engagement.

I have always found catastrophe to be a very thought-provoking concept. Coupling earthquake with other social issues, such as urban development, architecture or energy policies, I reflect on this idea from a political point of view. For example, I recently started a research project on nuclear energy. I see contemporary art to be one of the few surviving avenues of daily life which can genuinely host politics. Art that deals with these catastrophic spaces is true political art which truly deserves to be on the scene.

The content of my work is the outcome of visual research processes of various kinds, as well as literary surveys and field trips. Along with conventional methods such as photographic documentation, typological series creation and video recording, visual display of quantitative information plays an important role, both at research and presentation stages of my works. In fact, this idea of data visualization has become the sole content of the work in some of my projects. Both stylistically and historically, roots of data visualization can be found in the works of American conceptual painters such as On Kawara, Sol Le Witt and Robert Mangold. Their procedural methods are perfectly analogous to digital graphic programming algorithms. Likewise, this mode of expression has influenced my graphic design tone and workflows.

My interest in information architecture and visualization has led to some commissioned design works, as well. Going through very similar workflows, I worked on user interface and user experience design projects for web applications mainly concerned with screen ergonomics which I gained some experience about throughout my graduate studies in industrial design.

Curiosity in technology has always been one of my main drivers. Even before the mainstream availability of digital technologies, I was interested in other experimental image making and visual research techniques. At that time, I practiced signal processing in analog video and experimental chemical processes in photography, and tried some primal methods in computer vision. My most important formal inspirations are mutational and transformational implications of digital workflows over various media. My practice is therefore devoted to digital media, about which I feel quite confident. This confidence also encouraged me to experiment with DIY (do-it-yourself) electronic culture and open source programming platforms to learn more about physical interfaces for electronic and digital interaction. I made use of various propelling and engaging techniques of human computer interaction.

Technology, especially digital technology, facilitates intercultural transition due to its numeric nature. I believe this transition has the potential to greatly enhance the power of art and design to transform society and achieve a better world.