artists: Yael Bartana, Erhan Muratoglu, Can Turkinan, Özlem Sulak, Ruti Sela, Maayan Amir, Selda Asal, Dana Levi, Doron Solomons, Hatice Güleryüz, Nira Pereg, Serap Dogan, Effie and Amir, Anabala (Murat Ertel and Ceren Oykut), Ori Drummer, Daniel Kastenbaum, Mickey Katan, Ishai Adar, Ohad Fishof , Krechtz (Ilan Green and Gil Wasserman), Cem Omeroglu, Erdem Helvacioglu, Serhat Köksal aka 2/5 BZ, Zafer Aracagök aka SIFIR, and Fairuz Derin Bulut (Demir Kerem Atay, Taha Riza Özmen, Okan Yilmaz, Ömür Güray Gürman, and Alican Tezer).
loosing.ctrl is a joint project processing actions and reactions of “control mechanisms” throughout multiple phases, developed by the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon (DAL) and NOMAD, Istanbul.
The project started in 2003, during the first collaboration of NOMAD and DAL with the discovery that both Turkey and Israel have had similar social, political and economical experiences. Through exchanging memory extracts from our recent past and individual stories, all the social and especially political constraints and pressures and the consequences and influence of them intersected at many points and in many dimensions. We decided to examine several social phenomena, especially in the urban context, such as: “paranoia”, “surveillance”‘ “authority”, “power nodes”. These issues are linked to “to control /to be controlled” and therefore to “control mechanisms”. In many cases, especially in terms of production mode, there were many similarities between these two countries. However, there were also explicit differences. In the Israeli case, the emphasis was more on “paranoia”, “searching”, and “acceptance for being controlled”, whereas in the Turkish case, it was more about “malfunctioning”, “corruption of authority”, “unbalanced or disordered hierarchical order of power nodes”.
The project operates in many layers in order to expand the investigation of these issues. Selection of the contributors and their modes of production question the effect of the “uncontrollable aspects” as well as the “power nodes” of a new casual order. The contributors and the works are reflecting on these issues in their own cultural context, yet each and every work is capable of communicating within the global agenda; dealing with form as a tool for detecting the changes in perception (for auto-control, suppression, and balance); experimenting with various hand-made instruments in order to find alternative ways of processing and controlling sound; experimenting with traditional instruments together with mechanical and electronic devices for the sake of breaking the context of these instruments and twisting the concrete systems of traditions; using visuals together with sound in order to create sentences of criticism or express their reactions.
The first stage took place in Istanbul , simultaneously at 4 different locations in June 2004. It included a talk and a screening of videos by Israeli artists at Platform Contemporary Art Center as well as sound-art performances and video art series together with side activities. During two nights, a different performance took place on stage every 10 minutes. Between 22:00 and 00:00, as the digital countdown projected on the wall completed the 10 minute period, the real time DJ performance or video art performance was immediately cut, and the 10 minute time frame for the next performance began. So, the program proposed a break and even an intrusion within the system by losing control in a most controllable manner.
The second stage took place in Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin on 5th of February 2005 as part of Transmediale .05, International Media Art Festival. Basak Senova presented the project showing a documentary featuring the Istanbul stage along with a Film and Video Screening Program by Israeli and Turkish artists.
For the third stage, on 3rd of May 2005 in Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, some documentation of the programme together with extracts from the screening programme were presented. A discussion by the curators, some of the Israeli artists of the project and the audience regarding the highlighted issues followed this presentation.
With the fourth stage, on 21st of June 2005, presentation of the research phase of the project, featuring some artists works took place at Press to Exit Gallery, Pro Helvetia, Skopje , the Swiss Cultural Program Macedonia.
The fifth and the final stage was in Graz, Austria. Extracts from the screening programme and the documentary of the project will be presented during the NOMAD project “under.ctrl” in collaboration with Forum Stadtpark.
Bartana’s video and sound works address socialization and nationalization ceremonies as well as social symbols and rituals. She deals with variables existing within the social mold whereby the characters filmed in her works appear to be programmed within a monotonous set of actions which empties the ceremony/ritual of its cultural and social context. The work Tuning, features a young woman dressed in a suit saluting while in the background, the music of a national anthem is playing. The screened image is reflected twice and the young, saluting woman salutes to herself as a confirmation or self-salute or she is saluting us who are taking part in the rituals and ceremonial games.
Rahat/Dur (Stay/Put) aims to pull the viewer into an illusory moment, where sudden switching to interactive computer interface interrupts the passive activity of watching video. Two stylized human silhouettes fight with each other in kung fu, wherein a dynamic electronic beat builds up audible flow in time. The representation of a choreographed fight runs in accordance with the soundtrack until interference occurs: a mouse cursor enters the scene without warning, catches the figure attacking the other, drags and drops it to the place where it has been standing. It breaks the flow both in video and audio, where the constructed time and relative space is distracted. However, this is not an actual user interaction with the document, on the contrary, it is just an illusion which is revealed immediately. Soon after audio resumes. Yet the recurrences of the mouse will no longer affect the audial flow. While “Rahat/Dur” (Stay/Put) re-samples the “uncontrollable” action of the push technology experienced by the viewer, it also sparkles some awareness in the viewers’ mind to consider the reality perceived through the screen.
Can Turkinan and Özlem Sulak
“March on” focuses on how Turkish people adapts to the conditions by changing the format of their distress to entertainment. The work is built on binary oppositions and similar suppressing elements in “opposing extremes”. In the work, we see that the rave culture opposes but at he same time perfectly fits to the behavioral codes of strict military pressure. The video is accompanied by the re-mix of a Military March together with ambient sound mixtures and modified sound effects.
Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir
Beyond guilt, Atonement
The film is about upsetting balances of power that exist between the photographer and the photographed object, male and female, multiple and singular, object and subject. Sela and Amir, as the film’s directors, actively participate in the scene. They seduce the interviewees, on the other hand they turn over their camera to them, thus upsetting the balance of power between the photographer and the photographed. The film uses the restrooms as a kind of claustrophobic laboratory used to achieve confession and exposure. The resulting picture reveals the impact of the communications media, the emergence of behavioral stereotypes in front of the camera and the craving for exposure and publicity reminiscent of Reality TV. But more than anything else, it reveals the effects of occupation, terror and militarism as factors delineating the Israeli identity, even in the most private of moments. The documentation of the restroom experiences discloses disturbing contents that reveal the blurring of borders. Sexual and political-military identities seem to intermingle to an extent in which distinction is no longer possible.
Extracts from “Restore Hope”
This is a documentary of an on-going project RESTORE HOPE, observing types of control mechanisms. It is composed of Selda Asal’s work with the youth in Bakirkoy Psychiatric Clinic; addicted children in AMATEM; and street children of Istanbul. Initialy, the observation focuses on the consequtive control mechanisms that leads the children to the current situation; following the curing process which is also based on certain control mechanisms. Accordingly, she is working with mentioned groups by conducting alternative ways which enable them to express themselves. They are constantly being in the state of “standing-by” under control and they respond through their drawings, ready-made materials and stereo-typical images throughout the working process.
After the breakout of the El Aqsa intifada, the media takes an even greater role in the production and representation of war aesthetics defining the visual aspects of occupier / occupied and victim / aggressor relationships. In the art context, in order to be able to object messages, which are conveyed by media artists, should reconstruct their own messages. Their message should look different by keeping a distance to the general metaphorical approach of the media. Dana Levi, unlike many other artists, never re-uses TV materials, instead she captures her own material. In her work she imitates media’s coverage of damage caused by the IDF in Jenin 2002. She has led by kids, who are aware of the camera’s presence, exposing their own role as agents, fully aware to the media’s power. Levi shoots the ruins as evidence to past’s normality, pointing out the inability of the kids to hope for a future, one-hour drive from Tel-Aviv.
The work “Father” focuses on the existential which fears Israeli and Palestinian parents share regarding the physical and psychological danger their children are exposed to. In fact, the “Father” is both Palestinian and Israeli as the voiceover is simultaneously in Arabic and Hebrew. “Reality” is portrayed here only through televised images from news archives. The car security advertisement echoes the protective urge of the father. In a futile attempt to save his own daughter from becoming a victim or a victimizer, the artist-father unfolds as a magician. He tries to enact a series of pedagogical-magical tricks which are useless, and the father/magician turns into a pathetic trick-maker.
The repetitive tragic and surreal image of the man being dragged by a robot becomes the symbol of the whole region. Doron Solomons is actually a news editor for the Israeli Television, well versed in the “magical tricks” that turn raw filmic footage into the sophisticated propaganda. Thereby, his questionings on protecting and/or victimizing should apply to the media and the public in general.
Round up the usual suspects
Guleryuz’s films orbit around the mental states of the suppressing social situations. She associates and reflects on these mental states with hard-hitting physical conditions. ” Round up the Usual Suspects”, is filming a Turkish police parade. As one of the ultimate forces in the society, Turkish Police has a very tough and dominating image. The police can even be considered as one of the suppressing powers in the society who constantly controls and suspects. Yet, with this film this image crashes with the unusual carnivaleque scenes. The athletic exercises on motorcycle, the show, the close-ups, and the aesthetically driven semi-parody through re-framing of the police. The whole sequence is shown in slow motion accompanied by two music pieces, the first being a typical military bras band and the other one is a sentimental Turkish song that has been recorded with a lot of technical disturbances.
In “G-Spotting”, Pereg is searching for the pleasure zone of the eyes’ gaze. The camera is ordered around, navigating horizontally and vertically on an architectural landscape, and instructed to stop at what seems to be a nicer spot. Despite the visual nature of the search, the image remains virtually arbitrary, carefully following the audio, complying with its every demand and need. By using an urban landscape as a mapping of female anatomy, this work references technique of surveillance, modern weapons as well as pornography.
The work pushes the viewer into an unstable state of questioning. It is the visual and sonic dublication of the urbanic pressure. The familiar landscapes of the city are transformed in-motion into organic mirrored images that pulse in the gap between a superfluous aesthetic and an industrial nightmare.
Effie and Amir
Effie and Amir’s work raises questions regarding the role of the artist in the society. In this work they challenge one of the most common phenomenon of recent Israeli reality, bag checks at the entrance to public and private entertainment areas.
loosing.ctrl – Istanbul phase -documentary clip
A documentary NOMAD clip of the project’s Istanbul phase, projecting a summary of two nightlong activities (performances, screenings, DJs) in Babylon together with a talk and screenings in Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center along with the side-activities in The Apartment Project and NOMAD Station 02.
Anabala (Istanbul) is multidisciplinary project concentrating on Istanbul’s sounds and cult. The project consist of two artists: Murat Ertel, mostly a musician and Ceren Oykut, mostly a painter transfer their artistic concentration onto each others. They create multi-disciplinary pieces by taking the aspects of humour, parody and surprise as the basic elements of their performances. Anabala took its name from a passage at central Istanbul. In 2002, throughout a month they recorded and made sounds all day at a shop in this passage and mixed them by night. At the end all those mixes formed the first album. One song out of it made it to the sound art compilation album called “ctrl-alt-del” (Istanbul -Maastricht, 2003). Anabala performed for the exhibition “Walking Istanbul, Notes from the Quarantine” in The Digital Lab, Holon, Tel-Aviv. (2003-2004) and for “Trans_European Picnic: The Art and Media of Accession” hosted by V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media and kuda.org in Novi Sad through NOMAD. Anabala has also stared to collaborate with musicians, sound-artists and visual artists from Cologne, Germany and formed another group called K34 – Cologne -Istanbul Cultural Exchange Project.
Ori Drummer is an interdisciplinary artist, a curator, sound artist, writer, director, the leader of the DURALX SEDLX experiment band. With his music, he tries to touch primal feelings and to find new ways of expression through noise and music. His theatre play “My Skin”, dealing with both personal and collective memory has won the Israel Alternative Theatre 1st prize for 2002. His resent art works, made of old Jewish and German books and photographs are about memory and the feeling of loss. For Istanbul performance he played with Daniel Kastenbaum and Mickey Katan.
Ishai Adar and Ohad Fishof met at The Jerusalem School for the Arts in the mid Eighties. In 1986 they formed “The Top Hat Carriers”. After one year of gigs, the name THC became synonymous with a new approach of performing live music. In 1992 Adar and Fishof created the opening performance for the exhibition “Antipathos” in The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In 1996 Adar produced the music for the first performance collaboration between Fishof and artist Uri Katzenstein, “The Frogman’s Report”, which was premiered at the Phenomena International Festival for Performance Art in Jerusalem. Adar wrote music for Fishof’s sound installation “The Farm Tapes”, exhibited at the Company-arts Festival in Switzerland in 2000. In 2001 they were both invited to take part in “Home”, Uri Katzenstein ambitious project for the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 2003 they created the site specific sound piece “Reasons”, an ambient installation for 16 speakers, which was one of the highlights of “Omanut Haaretz”, a showcase exhibition for Israeli art, at Tel-Aviv’s old power station.
Krechtz (Ilan Green and Gil Wasserman) sound usually grows from building or programming curious instruments, playing around with them, and composing a piece from the results. The instruments range from home-made stuff to advanced control instruments, acoustic and electronic, low to high tech. Its not about melodies or harmonies, it’s about playing the instruments in both senses of the word.
Cem Omeroglu was one of the members of Nekropsi (one of the important alternative music group of 90’s). Curently, he studies sound technology, electroacoustic and computer music at Istanbul technical University, MIAM (Advanced Research Department for Music).
Erdem Helvacioglu received two consecutive “3rd prize” in the 2002 and 2003 Luigi Russolo Electroacoustic Competition with his pieces “Blank mirror” and “Below the cold ocean”. His latest album “A walk through the bazaar” was released by Locustmusic, USA in June 2003. He contributed to the soundart compilation cd “ctrl-alt-del” with his piece “Personal Crisis”, together with other composers such as Scanner, Kim Cascone and Merzbow. His compositions have been performed in various countries such as Canada, France, Italy, USA, Austria, Singapore and Turkey and at electronic music festivals and exhibitions such as the 1st Istanbul International Electronic Music Festival, CEAIT 2003, Pulsefield International Soundart Exhibition 2003, San Francisco Tape Music Festival 2004, Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music 2004 and the 10th International Electroacoustic Music Festival “Primavera en La Habana”. Currently, he is continuing PhD in electroacoustic composition at MIAM, Istanbul and working on his processed guitar recordings which will be released by Locustmusic.
Since 1986, Serhat Köksal aka 2/5 BZ has been performing with tapes, samplers, saz, darbouka, electronics, drums, vocals and spoken word. The style varies between traditional music via experimental electronic sounds to improvisation with elements that stem from Turkish cinema. He also makes audiotapes, photocopy fanzines, stickers, CDR, flyers, posters, and video cut-up works as collages of 70s and 80s Turkish melodrama and action films, political propaganda and media imageries of social phenomena.
Zafer Aracagök aka SIFIR performed Anti-Hamlet as a performance piece at AKM/Istanbul in 1995, under the German/Turkish joint programme XamplE II. Influenced to a great extent by contemporary French theory, he produced other performances. Primal Scene (Ankara 1997) was his first personal exhibition where he worked towards the deconstruction of the image/speech hierarchy. In 2001, he released an electronic music CD (NEREDEORADABURADA) by ADA Records of Istanbul, followed by a second one (Insan Ritm Makina) in 2003. He performed in various national and internatonal festivals and projects.
Fairuz Derin Bulut founded in Istanbul, 1996. In the beginning, they were mixing rock, oriental, funk, arabesque music, then later the band started to compose all the sounds they recorded on the streets and in their studio. In 2001, they released “Haleti ruhiye i Kundante”,then in 2003 they released their well-known album “Kundante”. They also participated in Croatian “Bombardranje Newyorka” album.
Guitar, electro saz, vocal: Demir Kerem Atay
Bass Guitar Taha Riza Özmen
Organ, synthesizer, vocal: Okan Yilmaz
Darbuka, dijembe, vocal: Ömür Güray Gürman
Drum Machine: Alican Tezer