As a scholar and designer, I believe in the interconnectedness of everything and the unconscious practices of thinking, thus I don’t strictly differentiate between practices of art and design, research and teaching, theoretical and applied work, per se.
I am very much interested in the latent qualities and operations of everyday life. There are two critical aspects to this practice: Objects and archives. Existing objects, through their definitions and accumulation act as agents to initiate debate. The aim is not to challenge or transform the discourse directly but create a medium to propagate discussion. I contemplate archive as a collection of objects -objects in their widest sense similar to the thinking of Object-Oriented Ontology-, which could be tangible and technical ones as well as intangible: Dreams (Dreamscapes: Hypercritical Dissections in Space, 2019), memories, ambiguous expressions, urban transformation tactics (Mixed Media on City, 2013-2019, to be published) and alike.
The artistic process is rarely a personal endeavor; thus, I am in the pursuit of unveiling the designed or formatted outcomes of collective production. My most recent work Ambiguous Standards Institute (ASI, 2018) is where these two important pillars come together to create a holistic structure in an environment of unconscious learning, archiving material, object-oriented approach, collaborative thinking, design and production. Through the accumulation and reorganization of everyday objects, banal fragments of diverse material cultures, ASI carries out a geopolitical and social analysis that touches several countries and is more interested in movements, agreements and relationships than in precise geographies.
A workshop (Instances of Imperfection, Vernal Workshops, 2012) I have conducted in collaboration with Tim Parsons from SAIC and exhibited in the 1st Istanbul Design Biennial, dealt with similar issues. This might even be seen as the starting point of my interest in objects and the artistic practice encircling them. There, we have investigated objects of everyday life with a special focus on their material and/or production-related imperfections, and tried to find ways to reveal, emphasize, even glorify them.
I would either use the objects, or their accumulation -collection- to reveal subtle phenomena or initiate debate; or alter them by injecting my technical, theoretical and aesthetic knowledge into objects which already exist, passive but transformable. Although I like to play with objects -including physical objects, but words, concepts and meanings as well-, I by no means try to force my own opinion onto others or create a new dogmatic discourse to follow blindly. I just want to ignite the thought process, I can never intervene the path(s) that it will follow.
Arvatovasks: ‘How might artists contribute to a collective product or process? How might artistic creativity, …, be directed to the transformation of social appearances and the built environment? As such, in what ways is the artist now … a specialist in non-specialism…, a producer of things and meanings across disciplinary boundaries and practices?’
My answer to this question is: By attending to the existing, the quotidian, the object, by collecting, accumulating archiving and cataloging; by observing the urban environment and learning from it, eventually by the production of new material relations -or structures thereof- in which things will be divorced from the weight of their fetishization.
Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, 1987, William Heinemann Ltd.: UK.
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, 1977, Houghton, Boston, MA: US.
Graham Harman, Object-Oriented Ontology, 2018, Pelican Books: UK.
Boris Arvatov, Art & Production, 2017, Pluto Press, London: UK.
John Roberts, Art and ‘Life -building’: The Legacy of Boris Arvatov in Art & Production, 2017, Pluto Press, London: UK.