Chance and Necessity
Exhbition reviews & interviews
SANATORIUM will host the exhibition entitled “Chance and Necessity” named after Jacques Monod’s book with the same title, to be held between April 19 – May 20, 2018 and featuring works by Kerem Ozan Bayraktar and Sergen Şehitoğlu.
The joint exhibition entitled “Chance and Necessity” by Kerem Ozan Bayraktar and Sergen Şehitoğlu investigates the link of pattern variations to life via geographic and astronomic visualizations.
The artists’ collaborative animation work entitled ‘Dust Devils’ focuses on the different motions and qualities of dust devils in a desert. This work is based on the fact that complex natural events known as “emergence” produce novel forms in an unpredictable way.
In his work entitled ‘Some of the potentially uninhabitable planets’ in the exhibition, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar investigates the relationship of exoplanet illustrations in science magazines with the concept of “habitable zone” in astronomy. Bayraktar performs this investigation in terms of science, colonialism and imagination. Consisting of a series of planet visualizations, this work concerns itself at the descriptive level with the formal and ideological dimension of the ability of congeneric elements to form completely different structures in different compositions. The artist analyzes one by one the environments claimed to be habitable in the list of “potentially habitable exoplanets” in terms of different scenarios. Stating that the illustrations obtained through the optimistic interpretations of scientific data, which are usually insufficient to talk about the habitability of a planet, are not at all indispensable and, on the contrary, are quite arbitrary, Bayraktar produces new visualizations of available planets by interpreting the relevant data with a neutral attitude. Contrary to popular science myths, the planet illustrations of the artist depict these planets by focusing on their features unfit for life. According to Bayraktar, both the probabilistic structure of knowledge and the ideological framework in which we evaluate natural events lead to speculations about the knowledge produced by science and enables us in this way to rediscuss our existing definitions concerning life in a positive way.
Sergen Şehitoğlu’s work “Mojave Desert” investigates the Anthropocene via the morphological structure of our planet. By scanning satellite images of the Mojave Desert in the USA, Şehitoğlu focuses in his work on signs of life in these images within the context of symmetry, repetition and diversity. This work concerns itself with both the biological formal structure of life and the formal structure of human-created systems of representation. The desert analyzed through satellite images in Şehitoğlu’s work is addressed as a kind of a space of possibilities potentially containing all forms. In the work, the similarities are shown between the idea of life emerging through the combinations of disorganized inorganic matter and the indicators making life detectable in geographic patterns. Şehitoğlu states that the expression “temporary islands resisting entropy for a while” as used by Norbert Wiener to define life is also valid for the forms generated by life itself. From this aspect, one can say that the changes caused by organisms in their environments directly have a mutual connection with their own biological systems. The “disorganized” forms released in the environment as a result of processing of condensed matter and energy necessary for vital dynamics such as growth, reproduction and reaction to environmental conditions show similarities in artifical objects as well. One of the main purposes of the work is to render this mapping visible.
According to the artists, the system of representation depicting events not directly experimented by human beings forms a power relationship in which technology is also involved. In his work in the exhibition, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, who has created pseudo-scientific and pseudo-photographic images in the past, looks for the possibilities of destroying the relationships between the tools of production for images and the positivist mentality by imitating the language of three-dimensional scientific visualizations. In contrast to the eye looking at space, Sergen Şehitoğlu makes use of the images from devices looking at the earth from space. By using detailed scans of available archives of images instead of producing images, the artist turns the act of making choices into an ideological tool and makes human activity debatable at the scale of the boundaries of the planet by taking it out of national borders.