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.
Republic Day 2023
4'33" video animation of a smoke bomb display on the Bosphorus.
We move beyond the traditional three or four dimensions to include the sensation of sound.
The project is a four minute and thirty-three second display over the Bosphorus. It consists of 100 smoke bombs placed at 250 metre intervals along both sides of the Bosphorus. The “bombs” change color during the piece – each series of colors representing some utopian projection of the Turkish Republic on its 100th anniversary in 2023.
The length of the performance, 4’33” is a reference to John Cage’s 4’33”, a piece which purports to consist of the sounds of the environment that the listener hears while it is performed – a comment both on the idea of living in the now and the idea of the silence / muteness of any attempt to disrupt the existing power structures.
The colors of the “bombs” change over the course of the display. First, just red – the color of revolution, marking the beginning of the Turkish Republic. The revolutionary spirit becomes co-opted by the machinery of government by the inclusion of white – red and white – the colors of the Turkish state. Then these change to the primary colors – red, blue, green, yellow – suggesting the opening of the economy and society in the last 20 years. The green, red and yellow perhaps an indication of inclusion – the colors of the Kurds – a color combination forbidden by the Turkish state. Thirty seconds of simply green smoke might suggest an Islamic republic in 10 years time – a utopia for another constituency. The display nears its ends with 100 different colored smoke bombs – a reference to Mao’s quote to “Let 100 Flowers Bloom” – itself a double-edged promise where the 100 flowers were soon crushed, but at the same time a hope for an inclusive utopia where all have a place in the projected future of 2023; and finally just white – the color of all colors – the color of no colors – the color of surrender, the color of peace.