EXHIBITION

Shifting Meanings

EXHIBITION
Shifting Meanings

Gamze Baktır

Gamze Baktır studied Philosophy at Boğaziçi University and attended a one-year exchange program at Keio University, Japan. They took part in the arts and culture projects of IKSV (Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts), Istanbul Modern (Istanbul Museum of Modern Art), CoFesta Ambassadors and Collecteurs as a part-time worker or as an intern. They are currently a research student at Yuko Hasegawa Lab. within the Curation program of the Art Studies and Curatorial Practices at Tokyo University of the Arts.

Shifting Meanings

With the pandemic started in 2019, we have been witnessing the physical reality being transferred into the virtual at such a rapid pace, the accelerating digitalization penetrating almost every aspect of life.

In the art world, many exhibitions originally planned to be physical have been held digitally, and the artworks created to be exhibited in physical spaces have been shown in the virtual environments through a different medium than their original, which can be considered a kind of reproduction. 

The mediums and spaces used are changing, so do our perception, the meanings, and the reality we encounter. Maybe the "real" we recognize is transcending change, to disappear. 

In this context, Marshall McLuhan claims: 

All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage [message]1. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments.2 

McLuhan associates this argument with the power of mediums to change the environment, our perception, and therefore us by bringing different senses to the fore. Accordingly, with each new technology, some senses come forward, while others are discarded.3 John Berger highlights a very similar impact when explaining the relationship between camera and Renaissance paintings: 

The invention of the camera has changed not only what we see, but how we see it. And in a crucial but quite simple way, it has even changed paintings painted long before it was invented.4 

With the camera, the copies of paintings became accessible even from private spaces. And Berger argues that each and every thing around a painting at that specific moment, have a strong and complementary effect on their perception and the meaning to which they refer. Moreover, they even become a part of the meaning of the painting. In other words, when visiting a virtual exhibition on a computer at home, all the objects, sounds, smells, and textures around, cause a completely different experience. “You see them [artworks] in the context of your own life,” says Berger. Considering their power to make a difference in perception and meaning, all these changes also create an environment for manipulation and semantic evolution.6 It is fair to say that changing the perception of things that happened in the past, even changes the history as we know it. 

Jean Baudrillard's simulation theory, on the other hand, stresses a change beyond the constantly changing reality —with which we are already familiar for many years due to the changes in media and environments. Baudrillard defines simulation as “the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.”7 and lists the successive phases of the image as: 

[1] It is the reflection of a basic reality, [2] it masks and perverts a basic reality, [3] it masks the absence of a basic reality, [4] it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum.8 

The third step marks the transition to a world of images that replaces reality, where there is no longer any relation with the real nor the truth. Where there is no truth behind the mask anymore, a new phase that the reality we know leaves us, never again to appear.9 

Today, even though the effects of the rapid replacement of our lives to the digital environment is a topic we discuss almost every day, we gradually leave behind questioning the depths of this change to which we have already grown accustomed. 

This exhibition aims to interfere with the normalization we are experiencing, and by doing so, to draw attention to the impact of the ongoing substantial change on how we experience, perceive and make sense of life. It takes an imaginary exhibition moved from physical to virtual space, along with artworks transferred from physical dimensions to digital ones, and presents them to us in a physical exhibition space. And thereby, it provides an environment with an exponentially increased effect of space and change of medium to offer a clearer experience of corresponding effects. Moreover, it creates an opportunity to think about the influence of space, the private and public, power of mediums and their limits, the physical and the virtual, originality, as well as the objective and subjective.

With their works exploring the relationship between physical and virtual, the effects of space and medium, changes in perception, differences in and loss of meaning, technology, change, multidimensionality, and the reproducibility of reality; artists Kei Imazu, Haruka Araki, ery, Kei Yamada, Makiko Yamamoto, Faig Ahmed, Nyubo Abe, Shota Yamauchi, Bagus Pandega, and Takayuki Matsumine come together in this exhibition. Some of the works are placed in the exhibition as if they warn us and keep us awake within this metamorphosis in progress. In accordance, “Every technology contrived and outered by man has the power to numb human awareness during the period of its first interiorization.”10, claims McLuhan, arguing that people are more inclined to see the positive aspects of technology and think that they know everything about it since it is their own creation.11

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NOTES

1. İngilizce, medium; iletişim aracı/vasıtası. Bkz, “Cambridge İngilizce-Türkçe Sözlük”,  erişim 07.08.2021, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/tr/s%C3%B6zl%C3%BCk/ingilizce-t%C3%BCrk%C3%A7e/medium.

2. Marshall McLuhan’ın oğlu Dr. Eric McLuhan aslında ismi “Medyum Mesajdır” olması gereken kitaptaki bir basım hatasından ilham alınarak “masaj” kelimesinin kullanıldığını söylüyor, aslında McLuhan’ın “Medyum mesajdır.” kullanımından geliyor. “Commonly Asked Questions (and Answers)”, Marshall McLuhan, erişim 07.08.2021, https://www.marshallmcluhan.com/common-questions/.

3. İngilizce orijinal hali: “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments.” Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, Jerome Agel, The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (Berkeley, CA: Gingko Press, 1996), 26.

4. Marshall McLuhan, Global Köy  (İstanbul: Scala Yayıncılık, 2001),15-16; McLuhan, Fiore ve Agel, The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, 41.

5. John Berger, Michael Dibb, “Episode 1”, Ways of Seeing, BBC 2, 1972. 

6. Berger ve Dibb.

7. Berger ve Dibb.

8. Jean Baudrillard, Simülakrlar ve Simülasyon, çev. Oğuz Adanır (Ankara: Doğu Batı Yayınları, 2003), 15.

9. Baudrillard, Simülakrlar ve Simülasyon, 23.

10. Baudrillard, Simülakrlar ve Simülasyon, 17-22.

11. Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaksisi (İstanbul: YKY, 1999), 200.

12. Derya Altay, “McLuhan”, Kadife Karanlık: 21. Yüzyıl İletişim Çağını Aydınlatan Kuramcılar, ed. Nurdoğan

Rigel, Gül Batuş, Güleda Yücedoğan, Barış Çoban (İstanbul: Su Yayınları, 2005), 19; Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaksisi (İstanbul: YKY, 1999), 200.


Artists & Works

Bagus Pandega

Bough

LED Dot RGB screen, Cymbal stands, Electronic relay system, Electronic motor system

150 x 150 x 170 cm

2018

Image credit: Bagus Pandega, ROH Projects, Project Fulfill Artspace

Faig Ahmed

Doubts?

Handmade woolen carpet

160 × 460 cm

2020

Image credit: Faig Ahmed Studio

Haruka Araki (荒木 晴香)

The Story of…

Soil, Resin, Wood, Video

172 x 70 x 70 / 166 x 83 x 100 / 162 x 68 x 42 / 116 x 50 x 45 cm

2021

Image credit: Yasunori Tanioka (谷岡 康則)

Kei İmazu (今津 景)

Stars

Oil on canvas

40 x 50 cm

2019

Image credit: Kei İmazu

Kei Imazu (今津 景)

Battle between Lapiths and Centaurs (Blue)

Oil on canvas

90 x 90 cm

2015

Image credit: Keizo Kioku

Kei Imazu (今津 景)

Yellow Splash

Oil on canvas

210 x 170 cm

2017

Image credit: Keizo Kioku

Nyubo Abe (阿部 乳坊)

Chroma key sculpture: Searching for

Wood, Stone, Acrylic paint, Oil wax

175 x 230 x 95 cm (without backboard)

2020

Image credit: Shih Yuan Wang

Nyubo Abe (阿部 乳坊)

Chroma key sculpture: How to fly

Wood, Acrylic paint, Oil wax

55 x 203 x 32 cm

2020

Image credit: Nyubo Abe

Nyubo Abe (阿部 乳坊)

Chroma key sculpture: How to reach

Wood, Stone, Acrylic paint, Oil wax

44 x 55 x 18 cm

2020

Image credit: Nyubo Abe (under Chroma key effect)

Nyubo Abe (阿部 乳坊)

Chroma key sculpture: Floating

Wood, Stone, Acrylic paint, Oil wax

55 x 30 x 13 cm

2020

Image credit: Nyubo Abe (under Chroma key effect)

Nyubo Abe (阿部 乳坊)

Antigravity

Wood, Stone, Acrylic paint, Oil wax

176 x 85 x 47 cm

2019

Image credit: Nyubo Abe

ery, Kei Yamada, Makiko Yamamoto

Dive

Music: Ooveen (ery, Makiko Yamamoto)

Video: Kei Yamada

Illustration: ery, Kei Yamada, Makiko Yamamoto

Music video

00:03:06

2020

Shota Yamauchi (山内 祥太)

Achilles and the Tortoise

Single channel video

1920 x 1080

00:14:08

2016

Takayuki Matsumine (松嶺 貴幸)

The Octopus Sucks

PLA, Urethane paint, Steel bars, Screw rods, Audio copper wire

40 x 160 x 40 cm

2018

Image credit: Akira Matsumoto

Takayuki Matsumine (松嶺 貴幸)

Neuron in Universe

Astronaut helmet, Acrylic cube, LED tapes, Model gun, Bullets, Canvas, Book, Iron basement, PLA, Steamer, Iron chain

40 x 130 x 40 cm

2019

Image credit: Akira Matsumoto

Takayuki Matsumine (松嶺 貴幸)

From another direction #01

Acrylic paint, Thermoplastic resin on wood canvas

90 x 90 x 20 cm

2020

Image credit: Akira Matsumoto

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