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STUDIO ISTANBUL The Howard A. Silverstein

and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Studio Abroad 2013: ISTANBUL


STUDIO ISTANBUL


Fine Arts Undergraduate Program University of Pennsylvania


GORDON STILLMAN SARAH MEYOHAS LEVI GIKANDI JULIANA KULIK CHRISTINA KERNS THEO MULLEN DYLAN HEWITT LARRY SHPRINTZ ELLIOT JOHNSTON CEAPHUS STUBBS CHRISTINE TAMEENA ALIX MAEGAN CADET ALINA YAKUBOVA MIRZAEI MOHAMMADREZA MARIE ALARCON

University of Pennsylvania Department of Fine Arts Charles Addams Gallery May 17—July 5, 2013

STUDIO ISTANBUL The Howard A. Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Studio Abroad 2013: ISTANBUL


The Howard Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Studio Aboard Program has offered young artists the invaluable opportunity to travel internationally and engage in short-term residencies since 2009. As cultural production is ever more influenced and informed by mobility, transnational practice and urban transformation, the city of Istanbul was an ideal destination for the 2013 traveling studio. It is a city in the process of rapid and dramatic transformation and one of the most vital contemporary art centers in the world. In preparation for the trip, the class spent eight weeks focused on research and notational studies: discussing the contradictions and significance of Istanbul’s history, contemporary culture and social climate. In Turkey, the students met with a number of curators, artists and visited a wide range of galleries, museums and alternative spaces. Among the scheduled events was a meeting with Banu Cennetog ˘lu at BAS and a studio visit with the young collective KABA HAT. There was also a day of discussion and cross-cultural exchange with a group of photography students from Sabançi University. This event was hosted by SALT Galata in Karaköy, where the students presented their artwork and Murat Durusoy led a discussion on contemporary photography. Most importantly, there were stretches of time scheduled for this talented group of young artists to pursue their own work. The resulting photographs and related artworks in the Studio Istanbul exhibition explore a wide range of vantage points; they reflect very diverse experiences of the city. Collectively, they engage in an on-going dialogue about photography’s role in shaping and shifting our sense of place and identity within a global horizon. We would like to thank our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania for their support and consideration: Dean Marilyn Taylor, Ken Lum, Joshua Mosley and Laurent Dissard. For her time and diligence, we would like to thank Kristen Goldschmidt. Special thanks to Orkan Telhan, whose advise and guidance about Istanbul was invaluable. We would also like to thank the students at Sabançi University, Murat Durusoy, Mehmet Darakcioglu, Ibrahim Erden and especially Merve Kılıçer, whose energy and humor enriched every aspect of our time in Turkey. We extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to Howard Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein for their support of the advancement in the University of Pennsylvania’s Fine Arts Program and for making this traveling studio possible.

NANCY DAVENPORT GABRIEL MARTINEZ Co-Instructors

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GORDON STILLMAN I am uncertain. I try to be certain, but it is hard to be certain in an unfamiliar place. I don’t have the perspective to place everything in the scene, to see intended meaning. I remember Istanbul, but it is changing so rapidly, what I remember probably won’t matter, what I do remember will shift. And what I photographed will shift. It will exist in a different part of the city, or it won’t exist for a year before returning. Or it will stay in the same spot every day. Maybe it will be torn down every night and reconstructed somewhere else. I could find my way using these images, but every time the route would be different.

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GORDON STIL L MA N


GORDON STIL L MA N


SARAH MEYOHAS (h) In 1962, Sara Meyohas passed away in Istanbul. In 2012, Sarah Meyohas applied for Turkish citizenship. It was eventually denied. These photographs lie between the grave of my grandmother and the letter of denial from the Turkish ministry, between the permanence of a marble gravestone and the transience of a piece of paper, between two markers of identity, time, and space. These photographs are the silent (h) that distinguishes our names. The use of a transparent female mannequin was a way to negotiate the position of being at once a confirmed outsider and an insider with a corporal relation, though attenuated by fifty years. The constricted empty female form mortified by the instant of the photograph is an attempt to encapsulate half a century of space, an impossibility whose singular failure is built into its very conception.

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SA RA H MEYOH AS


SA RA H MEYOH AS


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JULIANA KULIK I arrived in Turkey curious about anarchist spaces that promote anti-oppression values, especially intrigued by the intersection of anarchism and women’s issues. In Istanbul, the anarchist scene is small and interconnected. By chance, I met an anarcha-feminist punk, who, though disengaged from the scene, directed me to a café run on anarchist principles by Kolektif 26A. There, a volunteer advised me to find an anarchist women’s group, Anarsist Kadınlar, at an International Women’s Day Protest the following day. Identifying their black and purple flags, I met Özlem Arkun, who invited me to join them at their newly formed women’s collective. Later that evening, Özlem completed the circle, bringing me to the second location run by 26A, a café and bookstore. In these photographs, I attempt to communicate my brief but powerful experience within these various organizations. I’m not interested in presenting a sociological survey of the anarchist movement in Istanbul. This is not a statement on the political importance of activism, or the political changes these groups may or may not be affecting. Rather, this series is an exploration into the significance of these communities for individuals: as support systems, as coping mechanisms, and as spaces where they feel safe, valued, and empowered.

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JU L IA N A KU L IK


CHRISTINA KERNS There are a number of party supply stores between the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. Bright sparkling saturated plastic stuff. Confetti explosives. The “Dollar Party Canon” seemed just right. It shot tiny one hundred dollar bills and colored metallic confetti. So I bought six. Glossy banality. How many pictures of cats do I need? There is a space between cynicism and giddiness where my photos live. I hate to love it. I’ve been trained to make things relate and make sense. More more more more more. I want to understand and more images might help. Put a PSD filter on it. Then again, filtered expression is a slippery slope. Here are 5000 images. Which one is more important? image of banana peels

image of guns

*An Italian tourist recorded me photographing under the Galata Bridge with his iPhone. You can view it at vine.co with: #UsaPerformance #Istanbul #CrazyPhotografer #moneyShot

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THEO MULLEN I photographed along the Theodosian Wall, an ancient city perimeter in Istanbul. Over the last 1500 years, the wall has cycled through spoliation, shedding rubble along its path. Discarded material transforms into still lives and incidental sculptures. The isolated fragments suggest the history of the wall while my relationship with the photographs remain in the present. The debris’ temporality is heightened by the proximity to the antiquated boundary marker. Similar to ideas, structures are built; they crumble, and the meaning changes. The evidentiary marks left by one person become the beginning for the next. I consider my own line of thinking as I gaze on the surface of a stone; I see a thousand years of history recounted. Geologic time and human time involute. Are the objects and places I photograph locked to specific times or can a trash heap present larger ideas?

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TH EO MU L L E N


TH EO MU L L E N


DYLAN HEWITT Cumhuriyet, a leading Turkish newspaper, has reported that between 1980 and 1996, more than 400 people “disappeared” in Turkey for political reasons. Since May 1995, the relatives of Turkish citizens who disappeared in police custody gather every Saturday at 12:00 p.m. in Galatasaray, Istanbul to hold a vigil in their honor. Rain or shine they sit as a collective body in solidarity against an injustice that has altered their lives so greatly. After researching the Saturday Mothers and different histories of protest in Turkey, I am beginning to understand the context of these gatherings. The state of Turkey has left their questions unanswered for well over a decade; the group was forced to suspend its sit-ins from 1999 to 2009 because of police violence against this peaceful group. At home, I am an outspoken advocate and activist for the issues I hold near to my heart. I feel a strong conviction toward social justice and equality for all—the Saturday Mothers cause resonates with me very deeply.

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LARRY SHPRINTZ I have had a long-term interest in photographing workers in traditional crafts and occupations. Following in the traditions of August Sander and Paul Strand among others, my objective is to record the worker in his environment. I prefer to depict the individual as a representative of his occupation rather than as a personality. In some cases it is very clear as to the work of the subject and in others it is left to the viewer to interpret. My approach in Istanbul was always very direct. A “Merhaba!� and a printed introductory card in Turkish usually resulted in a smile and a willingness to participate in the portrait. A minimal amount of direction for the pose, beyond location and orientation, kept the result as natural as possible. The immediate display of the digital camera back facilitated an ease of communication with the individual. In a few situations an interpreter was needed to get to each workplace. Photographing the worker in his environment required additional lighting in almost all circumstances. Multiple flashes were employed for most of the portraits with an off camera strobe for the subject and a second source for the background. A radio controlled primary flash made for quick and accurate lighting adjustments. To maintain the intimacy with the subject short focal length lenses were employed.

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LARRY SHPRINTZ


L A RRY SH PRIN TZ


ELLIOT JOHNSTON I arrived in Istanbul looking to document the city’s relationship with the waters that surround it. Throughout history, empires fought for control of Istanbul due to its strategic location on the Bosphorus strait. The waterway bisects not only Europe and Asia, but also serves as a gateway between the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. A week into the trip I discovered Su Ürünleri Hali, Istanbul’s municipal fish auction. Fishing boats return from daylong trips and unload their catch as fish vendors and restaurant owners wait to place their bids. Every morning the expansive warehouse floor fills with fresh fish by 4:00am and empties four hours later. On one level it is simply a marketplace where transactions are made, but I came to realize the buyers and sellers view it as more. The fish auction is a place where those that depend on the bounties of the sea both earn their living and pay their respects.

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E L L IOT JOH N STON


CEAPHAS STUBBS ... Between ... seeks to create discomforting dualities, where the viewer is split between seeing and not seeing, through the depiction of projected images onto dilapidated interior spaces. The projections are shot at night (sometimes in total darkness with the help of my flashlight), and as soon as an image is projected it is as if the space is being awakened: I let the architecture, angles, textures, lines, and scale inspire me. I see potential in things that are overlooked: For me, these interiors are scarred with history and random markings that bear testimony to latent and ghostly energies. Although initially I wanted to use the projector as physical material to explore notions of conflated Eastern-Western gaze and collapsed time, the images do not reference a specific time or place: Instead they are projections of psychic spaces in which traces of the historical unconsciously melt onto the fragile skeletons of the physical architecture.

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CE A PH AS STU BBS


CE A PH AS STU BBS


CHRISTINE TAMEENA ALIX Sehir With 11 million people, Istanbul is one of the most populous cities in the world. Divided by two continents, and spanning 2,063 square miles, Istanbul is consciously positioning itself to become a globalized city of the future. To fit both the image and population that a modern metropolis must uphold, the Turkish government has instituted a mass, fast-paced, high-rise construction project. The 6,720 people per square mile population density has not necessarily allowed for human movement or opinion to keep up with the construction. Many families have lived in their low-rise neighborhood homes for generations and there is confusion surrounding what will happen. Some homes will be taken through “eminent domain” and the residents will not be able to afford the offered high-rise replacements. Others not only support the project, but will also benefit financially from their new apartments. There is a spectrum, with nuances at every point. Some say it will improve their quality of life, others worry it will destroy their social structure. It seems both are correct. I’m impressed with both the rate that this is occurring and the schisms of opinion. But despite my best efforts through extensive travel, active research and dozens of informal, translated interviews I still know I’m missing information. I’m conscientious that details and specifics were, literally, lost in translation. I was learning about the situation at the same rate I was creating. The simultaneous absorption/creation compounded the contrasts and similarities of the experiences. I’m hesitant to make flattening pronouncements on a complex situation. But as Istanbul’s skyline becomes engulfed with as many cranes as it does minarets, I have to wonder if this project will build as much as it destroys.

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CH RISTIN E TA ME E N A A L IX


CH RISTIN E TA ME E N A A L IX


MAEGAN CADET While standing in the Topkapi Palace courtyard, I was approached by a mother and her daughter. They wanted to take a picture with me: first the mother, then the daughter, each taking a turn smiling at my side. I didn’t know whether to be flattered, insulted, or outraged. I knew that I was confused and a little unsettled. In order to gain some kind of agency with this interaction, I asked for a picture of them. But, the photo exchange did little to satisfy my discomfort. Requests for pictures of me by strangers became a strangely frequent occurrence. I wanted to create something to stand as a tactile embodiment of these feelings; ultimately I decided to create a mask. I was attracted to the ambiguity that ensues with seeing a masked figure; without a distinct facial pallet it’s a challenge to discern whether a masked subject’s intentions are benign or malignant. Similarly, with people continually asking to photograph me on Istanbul’s streets, I did not know their intentions, nor did they know mine when I asked to photograph them. They were looking at me with preconceived notions, and I was doing the same, though no one involved in this odd exchange seemed to understand what those assumptions really were. The mask, both rejecting onlookers and seeking their attention, serves as a tool to navigate through these interactions, in spaces public and private.

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MA EGA N CA DE T


MA EGA N CA DE T


ALINA YAKUBOVA Russians have always travelled en masse to the Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul region for religious, political or personal reasons. When the Soviet Union became unglued, so did the entire economic industrial system and there was nothing to replace that structure. People were left without jobs and means of existence. One viable option for survival was the so-called “shuttle trade”—a woman’s occupation. These women are struggling to provide for their families; shuttling between their hometown and Istanbul. Buying Turkish-made goods and selling them upon return is a repeating cycle. The merchants of Laleli, a small area in Istanbul, quickly learned Russian and opened their arms to the ocean of new customers. Several floors of each building are dedicated shopping areas; the floors above are residential properties. Buyers are mostly women. Post-Soviet women. Rushed and stressed. They are in Istanbul for two to three days at a time. Shopping in evening make-up, these women are on a mission. They are choosing their merchandise, weighing their decisions, haggling for the best price. The entire shopping area of Laleli is their office, their occupation, their life. As one of them said to me, the only way out of this business is in a pine box.

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A L IN A YA KU BOVA


A L IN A YA KU BOVA


MOHAMMADREZA MIRZAEI Istanbul, Lugo, Philadelphia: Wherever I have been in these past few months, I have preferred to first see the city at night. When night comes, anywhere could be home. Night kills the strangeness—without people in the streets, without any details reminding you that you have no memories there. On those nights, sometimes, I wondered what I was seeking, or whether I could even know what that might be, and then I have looked at my photos and honestly I have found nothing. Nothing but an undated nothingness, one that could not be qualified by any specific meaning or location. This absence is present in the portraits shot in daylight; photos looking as unclear memories, as if while recalling those memories, I can’t remember the main subject, and now the margins have become more important. Just like a purposeful effort to hide the thing itself.

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MOH A MMA DRE ZA MIRZA E I


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MARIE ALARCON There is the mundane, there is the romantic, there is the unknowable, there is the familiar. It is foreign, it is the same. A man shouts, “Welcome to Istanbul! Welcome to Hawaii! Welcome to the Caribbean!” I search the Grand Bazaar, looking for the quintessential, the archetypical, the reflexive moments, exploitable, subtle. I look for a way to look at myself, looking, consuming, exploiting. I find that I have a hard time seeing. I wander the heavily touristed areas. I stare at the sky. I take photos of birds, water. I try to avoid the gaze of the city staring back at me. Although mostly it’s indifferent. I am barely a moment. I find comfort in peering out. From behind. Through. Always an obstruction to keep me from falling down, into, over. Of two minds, I take the photos my father would love to see. All of the romance that is thwarted by life. I find complicated spaces with room for erasure. I refuse to obscure it all. I tell a joke, “My lens is so small.” I make myself laugh. I tell it again, a few times. So many times I forget it’s funny. It’s dead serious. It’s drained. It is my hand, it is always my hand. It could be your hand, but it’s most certainly mine.

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MA RIE A L A RCON


WORKING


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Workshop/exchange with students from Sabanรงi University at SALT Galata in Karakรถy. Murat Durusoy (Sabanรงi Faculty) leads discussion on contemporary photography.


Discussion with artist collective KABA HAT at their studio.

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Discussion with artist Ahmet Elhen at Misir Apartments.


Discussion with artist Banu Cennetoglu at BAS

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The Howard A. Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein

PennDesign Photography Student Participants:

Photography Studio Abroad 2013: ISTANBUL

Marie Alarcon

University of Pennsylvania Department of Fine Arts Charles Addams Gallery May 17—July 5, 2013

Christine Tameena Alix Maegan Cadet Levi Gikandi Dylan Hewitt Elliot Johnston

Program Director: Ken Lum

Christina Kerns

Course Co-Instructors: Nancy Davenport & Gabriel Martinez

Juliana Kulik

Technical Assistant: Micah Danges

Sarah Meyohas

Administration: Kristen Goldschmidt

Mohammadreza Mirzaei

Senior Technical Advisor: Larry Shprintz

Theo Mullen

Exhibition Coordinator: Pernot Hudson

Gordon Stillman

Installation: Sarah Tortora

Ceaphas Stubbs

Istanbul Gallery/Event Coordinator: Merve Kılıçer Sabanci University Exchange: Murat Durusoy, Faculty Istanbul Travel Coordinator: Ibrahim Erden www.STUDIOISTANBUL-UPenn.com www.design.upenn.edu/fine-arts/undergraduate Cover and inside cover photos: Marie Alarcon Preceding page photo: Gordon Stillman

Alina Yakubova © 2013 University of Pennsylvania Catalog Design: David Comberg Printer: CRW Graphics

Profile for Penn Undergraduate Fine Arts Department

Studio istanbul issuu  

The University of Pennsylvania - Howard A. Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Studio Abroad, 2013.

Studio istanbul issuu  

The University of Pennsylvania - Howard A. Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Studio Abroad, 2013.

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