A vision of Turkey in 2023 as the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic.
The pieces that make up the exhibition utilise mathematics and symbols to imagine a future disconnected from the past by the loss of language/alphabet - as occurred with Atatürk's language and alphabet reforms. All that is left is the common currency of money.
The works are a comment on the current political climate and the desire of the present leaders for a post-Kemalist, perhaps neo-Ottoman/neo-Caliphate future for Turkey.
At the same time the exhibition holds out the promise of a more pluralistic future while highlighting the fragile nature of the democratic process.
The spelling of “vizyon/vision” hints at the future alphabet reform which becomes clearer as the exhibition proceeds.
The actual proposed future alphabet is never explicitly described, but it is used in describing the pieces.
The new symbol of the state is the current star and crescent with the star rotated so that it faces forward and sits within the crescent. The symbol of state is also the symbol for the lira when placed before the number and the symbol for kuruş when placed after the number. The star representing the state is now engulfed by the crescent representing religion. The two combined to represent money.
Each piece in the exhibition explores notions of dimensions/time/senses to highlight aspects of the present and future.
The number 2023 is 17squared x 7, and these numbers occur as a theme throughout the project.
Sheets of stamps consisting of seventeen denominations for the year 2023.
The sheets of stamps represent two-dimensional space.
17 sheets of stamps, each 35x100 cm - total size 600x100 cm.
Each sheet consists of 119 (7x17) stamps. In total there are 2023 stamps - each one different.
The stamps feature the tulip "Semper Augustus" arranged in the 17 possible wallpaper (plane) patterns. Again continuing the mathematical/dimensionality subtext.
"Semper Augustus" means "always August" - or always summer - the halcyon future that awaits us in 2023. But the wallpaper subtext suggest that the future might be bland and banal rather than idyllic.
"Semper Augustus" was also the tulip that fetched the highest price ever during the Dutch Tulipmania episode in the 17th century, suggesting that the current fixation on economic outcomes might not end as well as hoped.
The tulip is of course Turkey's national flower.
Like the coins the stamp series feature values that are beyond mathematics and which are subject to the whim of government - the "W, X, Y, Z, Ẓ" denominations. The "W" and "X" now indicate a new Turkish alphabet inclusive of Kurdish letters while the "Ẓ" hints at another unspecified reform of the current Turkish alphabet - where "Z" is no longer the last letter. Again history is rewritten and old assumptions are thrown out.
While the coins are denominated in lira, the stamps are denominated in kuruş. Again the arbitrary, state-controlled, value of money is highlighted, as well as hinting at hyperinflation with which Turks are familiar.
The symbol for kuruş is the same as the symbol for lira, but is placed after the amount and not before it.