Some of the Potentially Uninhabitable Planets (2018)

Some of the Potentially Uninhabitable Planets. 2018. Computer generated image, Archival Pigment Print on Wood Block, 30 x 40 x 5 cm (each)

"(...) 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. (...) "

- "Chance and Necessity" exhibition text, 2018, Sanatorium, Istanbul


"(...) The artist shows thirteen illustration-like digital works of real planets under the title Some of the Potentially Uninhabitable Planets. The possibility of living on another planet has always been a major topic in science as well as in science fiction. Mankind is fascinated by the idea of leaving this planet for settling on another one. So, whenever we read about new planets, we think about conquering and extending our territorial dominance. Mankind’s will to colonialize does not end at the limits of countries, continents or even planet earth.

The planets in Bayraktar’s series are all real and declared inhabitable by NASA. Latest satellite technology give man the chance to look deeper than ever into space.  (...) Though, let us not forget that it is only a visual assumption based on scientific data. We cannot see the actual planet but still we believe in the authenticity of its image.

Kerem Ozan Bayraktar has chosen 13 planets from the closest Proxima Centauri B to the most distanced Kepler 452 B. In contrast to NASA, which interpreted the data about the planets in a positive way, the artist declares them as uninhabitable. Bayraktar goes even one step further and creates his own visual versions of the planets according to an alternative decoding of the NASA-Data.

(...)

Kerem Ozan Bayraktar has found a nice balance between concept and form, as well as technique and aesthetic. The works are consistent regarding idea and artistic execution. Some of the Potentially Uninhabitable Planets is a strong series, as it critically comments on the state of truth in the age of visual bombardments and post-truth. Without being polemic or didactic the artist manages to formulate an artistic critique that deals with the state of science and the notion of visuality today. In this context, Bayraktar critically reflects on the interconnection between science, art and visual culture."

-"Myths about Seeing, Believing and Knowing", Marcus Graf, 09.05.2018, artful living

Some of the Potentially Uninhabitable Planets (detail)