- Neoliberal Art
- Genetically Modified Images
- From the “Thinking Man” of the 20th century to “The Watching Man” of the 21st century
- Invasion of the Electronic Processors
- Attraction of Artificiality
- The Age Of Hyper Ambiguities
- Photography and Images of Political Powers
- The Cyber Christ Complex
- Extremeness of Visuality
- Renaissance of Art
- What is Art & Who is an Artist?
- Images of a Fractal Century III
- Images of a Fractal Century II
- Images of a Fractal Century I
- Art Unlimited – Interview with Ali Alışır
Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
The world of cyber-space that is covered with fantasies and pleasure, subjects us to a physical dissolution in front of reality. In this incorporeal world of subjects, we are interacted with each other; and we live without our own faces by using nicknames and without the need of our physical bodies
Our eyes, which require to be closed in physical world, keep us awake in the virtual media. Screens are never turned off. They always keep producing pictures and images. This window to the world leads to a physical disengagement of listening, feeling, and reacting. While producing the most violent images, it tends to ignore their physical effects. At a certain moment when viewers confront a real war, which is presented through a video game, they become estranged to their moral reactions. In a way screen transforms into the reality itself.
For this very reason the war of the new world order is fought through images. While images are designed through programs without needing a reality, they are rapidly marketed for consumption via the channel of media.
This is one of threatening sides of the attempt to make images visible, which has been the aim of art from day one. The simple reason is that images are not representing our lives and environments anymore. Today images are reshaping all aspects of our lives.
At this point, photography lets observation to undertake the mission of seeing, and it lets limitless distribution to undertake the mission of recording. As a result, it was switched to an intricate level based on matrix and models that are incompatible with almost all types of reality.
It is a wonder if this power of manipulation, which is hidden under the bases of the art of photography; and; this extensiveness are possibly saying new things about the evolution of humanity?
In those layers, which were built in our virtual media, we are still unconsciously contributing to this huge metabolism’s circulation and neural system. In this live and breathing structure, millions of users are transforming their physical bodies into network of informatics. The cell structure of bodies are replacing with electronic codes and signals. While in daily life, bodies in front of screens are becoming functionless; our real egos are merely reduced to a functional simplicity.
In this age, the momentum of modern thought is in such a point that our act of perception, interpretation, and internalization, which have continued for ages; are broken with the conceptions of time and space. At this point, along with media’s stronger and faster usage of mass communication mediums, every moment, event, and news were taken apart from their genuine reference points and threw to emptiness. These information, moments, and events, which are far away from their own reference points, are disappearing within their network connections…
This limitless zone of freedom that cyber space has; atomizes the mosaics of social, cultural, and traditional structures and programs itself to produce “more real” pictures and images than their non-original originals. Today, in a period that history is short-circuiting, extremeness of visuality loads individuals more information than they can take and captures concepts like democracy. It leads them to break with their contents and lose their transcendent values.
Today efforts of getting rid of this empty simulations and attempts to re-embrace the meanings of nostalgic concepts (freedom, democracy, peace, art, etc) that came back during postmodernism, seem to be doomed to be unsuccessful. The reason is that in order to form history there is no time left for events to be developed independent from media and mass communication mediums.
Ali Alışır – 2010
Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
While the world is experiencing the breakup of a new century, we are living in this new era by forming “expressions” a bit of everything. We try to fit our lives in one hour periods even in one minute periods while we are shooting a glance on the news papers, books, magazines; and surfing on internet and answering our mobile phones.
Within this futuristic traffic jam, countries are uniting and splitting almost with the same speed. Happiness, sorrow, and rage are so short-lived. On the one hand the number of art and artist is rapidly increasing; on the other hand the saying, “we live in the most developed age” becomes so hollow and nostalgic…
We are able to learn only a tiny little part of future, no matter how imaginative the artists and science fiction designers are.
For example, it is a mystery if a thousand years later Picasso’s products will still be attractive and artistically valuable? If movies of directors such as Kubrick, still be popular to watch? Or, will it be possible for icons like Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, and Elvis Presley to sustain their popular identities?
It is worth remembering that only until 20th century, art was based on remembering a “thing” (let alone dreaming). The most important feature of art was to “truly” reflect the most “valuable” thing of a society; and the aim of this reflection and representation was to immortalize it.On the other hand, thanks to the invention of camera, for the first time, the questioning process of “representation” started in the area of art. That is; the procedure to transfer what is seen to the work of art, was not appreciated anymore because camera was perfectly successful to do that. Therefore, the function of artist was the same with the camera.
As a result, maybe the biggest breakup of the history of art took place and art got rid of its heavy body, the obligation to represent. Consequently, the artist had to question and define the concept of art by creating new areas for himself.
The concept of “talent” should also be changed for the artists, if painting what is seen was trivialized. If a tiny little machine was the most talented one regarding imitation, then would an artist become a camera, too?
Along with the invention of photography the period that stimulates impressionism and the well-known “ism” movements were started. One of the pioneers of this attitude was Marcel Duchamp, he said that, “if a machine can do the job of an artist, then artists should abandon this attitude”. He further supported this idea by putting a urinal at the center of an art gallery. As a result, the common thought that “artists should be talented” lost meaning. The fact that technological products are more functional than hand made products, brought about a (hidden) resentment. If human beings cannot produce as perfectly as a machine, then they should embrace and defend their flaws. At this point Manet’s formal carelessness in his art (random brush stroke) and heterodox attitudes towards social morality can be seen as the symptoms of this case. Perhaps this was one of the most important reasons that Duchamp selected urinal as the most offensive object.
Furthermore, the outbreak of the world wars and their devastative atmosphere led artists to cry out the irrationality, meaninglessness, ridiculousness, and contradictoriness of life. Dadaists were trying to avenge upon the machines by painting weird and grotesque machines. On the other hand, pop art artists were sometimes popularizing and sometimes folklorizing the daily life. The doctrine of surrealists was based on the idea that there is another world beyond the one that we live in and it is much more real. Futurists went beyond and argued against traditional forms and institutions; and even supported the idea of war.
At this point modern art transformed into a platform, in which maybe the craziest figures of its history were changing their opinions. Names like Dali, Picasso, Magritte, Chagall, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Warhol, Beuys, and Carl Andre always came to the fore due to their life styles and work of arts.
Until 20th century, interaction of all these formal elements in art and cracking of concepts deep inside brought about the atmosphere loss in the work of art. Along with the technology, considering an artwork within the mass-production process was started to be in question. As a result, a work of art was not required to be in its original place anymore, it was possible to see it in everywhere.
When a work of art in a museum became visible on books, t-shirts, reproductions, and calendar pages; then it was not “unique” anymore, and its message would change (beforehand the artwork was “unique” in its original place, it created an atmosphere -aura- for itself and that atmosphere would affect the meaning of the artwork). On the other hand, once the place was changed its meaning would change too; hence, that artwork would be evaluated differently wherever it was seen. The meaning of La Jokond (Mona Lisa) in a museum was not the same anymore with the meaning in a butcher store. Work of art was leaving the meaning relationship with its first place, and it started to change its meaning in every new place that it showed up.
Modern art was breaking the common traditional patterns; it was refusing the composition and detaching the form from the content. Late in the 1980’s a new spirit of art was emerging Postmodernity. Postmodernists refuted what modernists claimed, the unity of meaning within the work of art, and argued that an artwork does not have a meaning as a whole. Instead of modernists’ “innovative” attitude advocating the idea that humanity will progress; postmodernists claimed that the progress of humanity cannot form step by step, it is not possible to analyze history from a horizontal and developing perspective, it should be analyzed homogenously.
Today this limitless world of creativity, which opened with classical photography a hundred years ago for these naughty children of art, reopens in front of us, the digital photographers. This 140-year adventure that followed impressionism along with the invention of photography; today, witnesses the alliance of digital photography and paint. This is a new formation, which emerges through the combination of drawing with light (photography) and color, drawing with light. In a period that the motto is “everything has already done”, maybe we are entering to a period that this respiratory system and vital points of art are repaired and the circle of art and the mass of community are included.
Renaissance of art…
Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
What is art? Who is artist? These questions have been asked and discussed for centuries. This simply depends on the framework, within which one questions what art and artist are. From the perspectives of 14th century enlightenment and Marxism, it can be seen that modes of production are important. That is, if modes of production have social benefits, then that person is immediately entitled as artist. If that ideology does not entitle him as artist, then he is not valuable for that ideology at all.
Above all, it is of importance to state that art exists within a society; and, an artist depends on that society in terms of finding his sources. It is a wonder if through this popular opinion art and artist emerge as the society imposes?
In other words, if society wants to see an artist as a construction worker or a businessman, then, should an artist become as one of those? It is doubtful…
It is necessary to observe society in reference to the point that artists emerge from within society. How is society described? Which society is the one that art and artist are interested in?
First of all, society has the problem of system. In order to form a society it is necessary to determine the production system, bureaucratic system, and cultural structure. Art and artist emerge as two concepts moving within this system and gear wheel. Is it necessary or unnecessary for art and artist to free from this gear, to be opponent of it, or go out of this gear as a whole? If it is necessary, then how and for what reason will it be possible?
The fact that art moves within the society system unconditionally, will link it to an ideology in due course and the artist will become representative of an ideology or product of it (just like Marxist artist, artist advocating values of universal or traditional culture). How and according to whom will this be determined? If it is in a system, then will this system determine those?
The counter argument is that it will be indispensable for art to become a political entity. Another problem may occur within this political structure. If it is accepted that an artist exists within a political structure, then it is a question mark if this artist perform government’s art or the opposing party?
At this point the artist will be in the same system no matter if he performs according to the government or the opposing party. What is important here is art and artist stay out of the system if they have the power and will to criticize the social structure. Is this really possible?
If an artist (or a work of art) wants to dissociate himself from the government or structure of the opposing party, then a tension will arise between him and the structure of society. This has been experienced and it is still being experienced in each area of the history. That is, an artist, who will pursue a chaos, will slowly digress from that system.
What is the importance of all of these? Why should an artist digress from this structure after all?
First of all, we will see that the realities of life that we perceive as “reality” exist within that system. We live on these realities that were recommended, imposed by this social structure and system. We need to get up every morning and take certain transportation vehicles and reach our work places at certain times. If I refuse certain obligations that this system brought about, and claim that they are parts of the system, and I want to digress from the system; then, I need to throw myself into the complicated and chaotic form of human relations.
How come these human relations are that complicated?
Maybe there is no language. Maybe we do not use sentences, through which we can communicate, on purpose. We do not do the things that we have to do every morning. We try to determine our needs otherwise. If I start to deal with my needs individually, according to myself, remove language and succeed in applying this approach in each and every area of life; then, I can totally digress myself from this chain of relationships. In other words, I would throw myself into a chaos. Then only then, my realities start to differ from yours, and a problem of reality emerges. Your problem of reality can be solved more easily, because you had already given the solutions beforehand (as the government and opposing party you can figure these out in yourselves).
At this very point the reality of art and the reality of society start to differ from each other. Given the fact that the less an artist wants to be in government and opposing party; that is, the less he approves realities of system and operation of social system, the more artistic reality he has.
Artistic reality emerges as a form that goes beyond the society, looks down to the society, creates alternative forms to it, and suggests alternative communication styles. There is a utopia of artistic reality and it exists as an alternative of the social reality. It is important to ask why artistic reality exists as the alternative of social reality. Therefore, there is a certain point targeted for the sake of the salvation of humanity. This salvation is one of the points that modernism aimed. Essentially the main idea was to develop modernism within such an ideological framework that anything it advocated would be for the sake of the salvation of humanity. However, after a certain point those promises of modernism became futile. Projected concepts and their definitions were actualizing but people did not exactly experience the same way when they felt those concepts as utopia. The utopic emancipation of value judgments did not transform into a new value.
With reference to the original questions; how and in which context artists will be evaluated in terms of asking who is stronger and who is a bad? If they are spoken about within the same system and modes of production are determined by the government and opposing party within the same system, then what will be changed at all?
Modern societies are built upon dualities. If I say white, you would say black; and if I say woman you would say man. It would be similar when I say government and you refer to the opposing party, but everything will always be spoken within the same system. After the emergence of popular culture, when postmodernism started to question these dualities and this system, the concepts of art and artist started to transform into different forms. It is a wonder if after questioning all these values created by modernism, is there still a chance to develop utopias along with the critics of postmodernists? If a work of art is deprived of its utopia and ability to produce an alternative social structure, then what can it present as new and different?
Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
Today, “reality” is manipulated. This restructuring process is, surely, designed in accordance with the needs of dominant classes. Within the density of this information flow, social amnesia is increasing like some sort of virus.
In this century, the absolute dominance of images and knowledge started to shift from news papers, magazines, and books to the digital platform. This change of space is the biggest movement of change after the invention of printing press. In 1000 (BC), communities were living in physical space simultaneously; and around the years 1400 (AD), along with the invention of the printing press, they reduced the movement of information independent from body. Information was circulating the world in the form of a written text. Between the years 1847 and 1950 (AD) together with the inventions like telegraph, telephone, fax, and television, the transportation speed of information increased; and everyone could easily reach a certain information once accessible only in particular times and space. Today, through the usage of internet and multimedia tools, transportation speed of information reached to speed of light; and information became changeable according to individual’s different speed and direction.
Information exchange of individuals, transferred from atom sizes to “bites”, became undetermined, variable, and fluid.
Throughout this long journey, information moved away from -real- space to a –possible- space; and transferred from -actual- space to the space of -thought-. Information that spreads over from –limited- area to –limitless- area is now in a virtual space. To be virtual means that individual’s being is something else. In other words, in a way, it is the potential of carrying all the features of reality itself. All information circulating in this network undergoes a change with other information within this network.
Photography has also been affected by this huge revolution since the day it was first invented. It transforms into a kind of simultaneous mass medium; and its mission is to transfer images (although previously its function was only to catch the images). While pictures are codified as 1-0-1-0, they can even deconstruct the images as well. Today we do not know anymore what an image, which was created by formula, is in reality.
In this era, as long as more information is added to the extent of image; the boundaries between past and future, and digital world and real world, become more chaotic and complicated. While formerly photographs represented lost moments in a certain time period; today, they are representatives of past, future, and present. They are calling (through digital codes) to pass beyond the physical world. They are not only dissolving the “meaning”, but also the material world.
This visual bombardment, which is composed of images, creates an endless ‘present’ in our minds that cannot meet the needs. While on the one hand it manifests the things that we do not want to see, on the other hand it creates a social alienation. With reference to an artificial world, images become capable of creating their own realities. For this reason our epoch is–instantly- dominated by images, rather than knowledge.
Ali Alışır – 2010