This series depict flooded departments of a hospital. Rendered through tri-dimensional software without any photographic reference, these works question the documentary traits of photography. Through the simulation of photography, the works state that the photography‘s representation of past events and the meanings bestowed upon it have no reflections on the photograph itself. The rooms contain image of screens, X-ray devices and body-scanning machines. The works emphasize the relationship between these images that are considered scientific; focusing on the relations between context, meaning and interpretation within the positivist tradition of the image. At this point, I‘ve realized the importance of “noise“ in the production of photographic reality. Just like the pixellation of low-quality digital images, noise possesses a cultural significance than simply a technical error. When added on a meretricious computer image, not only it renders representation natural and realistic, but it also alters its history.
Marcus Graf: Dear Kerem Ozan, before we start discussing your series and works in detail, I would like to ask you about your general artistic interest regarding form and content. What are the aesthetical and/ or conceptual common themes in your work?
Kerem Ozan Bayraktar: Regarding the form and content, I always try to keep away from the distinctions based on materialist and idealist ideas. Therefore, I try to maintain the same position towards the semiotic properties of both the medium and its content.
I often examine what that medium is with the indirect questions, also considering its historical background. Hospital series is such a series. One of the ideas behind the series was creating a simulation of photographs that we see as historical documents. In the end I understood that the medium itself is not a completely different signifier than the content. Because one can copy the properties of the content and can also copy the medium’s properties in a relation based on analogies.
My interest in the concept of simulation has always been in the context of identicalness. Being able to built millions of the same object problematizes the definition of the object because we are not able to define the object only looking at its qualitative properties. They look all the same, smell, taste the same, etc. It is possible to simulate temporal changes as well.
The works that I made in the recent years has similarities to this. Noise effects, fake mistakes and prints on photo paper make them look as if they’re old. In the reality they do not have any indexical connection. They do not refer to anything. Of course they exist physically in the memory of the computer but they’re not the tracks of any person or space. The only similarity they can have is the quantitive ones, like being similar to the appearance of human face or a space. This shows that the meaning that we load into a medium is mostly cultural. I’m not talking about an ethical topic. It has no connection with the way newspapers use a manipulated photo to change the meaning.
Simulating a photograph doesn’t change the reality that photographs which has been taken in past were in the past.
The problem is describing this constructions built on visual analogies. Describing them as a mathematical representation is not a satisfying answer anymore. And telling that they’re the simulation of something such as cinema or photography is not a satisfying solution, because it fixes the problem in another system, in model-copy relation.
I mostly thought about the topics mentioned above while working on stasis. One of my aims was creating as much levels as possible. But this time I didn't hide that they’re models actually. There are many reasons behind this choice. One of them is about the functionality. In the point of reference, it is important for me to represent a damaged helicopter which has the function of flying with a model which has a function of playing-exhibiting-collecting. It is also very interesting how an object that has hundred of copies starts to have very individual appearance when it is damaged.
I also thought of Andy Warhol’s ambulance pictures. He was making many copies of a crashed ambulance picture. I think we picture deaths, accidents, crashes or any real thing we cannot control, to take them inside the symbolic and safe space.