this place, January 2015, maumau works, Istanbul, Turkey
The work in “this place” was a layered approach at examining the constant state of utopia and dystopia involved with living in a consumer society, instead of accessing this world from a natural landscape I looked at it from the landscape of economy. Like many developing countries, economically, Turkey is an aspirational society. As a photographic image can influence a person’s behaviors, so can architecture. This is prevalent in the way consumer spaces are built, particularly shopping malls. Lights, color and space are used to sell products that most people can’t afford. One of the layers of the installation included projections of videos made in the high end shopping malls of Istanbul. With “this place” I wanted to break down the power of the architecture by projecting those images of shopping malls onto the goods and materials that are vital to everyday life in Istanbul. These objects included water bottles I consumed during the period of the residency, the vinyl umbrellas sold and then discarded on every corner in Istanbul when it rains, and the decorations used at celebrations purchased from the pazar (also a distinct memory from my childhood). Accumulated and confined into the gallery space, “this place” was a representation of Istanbul as I experience it; chaotic, consuming and desirable. Simultaneously the installation was a manifesto outlining the factors and illusions driving the country towards an uncertain cultural, economic and political future, as in the LED sign highlight quotes from an economist about Turkey. I asked the viewer to recognize their place within the context of this society by creating an environment with familiar materials but inverting the way these materials are experienced. The juxtaposing of the images from shopping malls on to these familiar objects elevated them into a “higher class” of goods but also disseminated the aspirational language employed in the spaces of consumer worship.
Installation view: 2 video projections, photographs, LED sign, reflective party decorations, Plexi glas, umbrellas, fake Euros and Dollar bills, paper, water bottlesm string lights