Island of Doubt
— Berfin Ataman
The little cars Wally, Dory, Mortimer, Ferguson and Baxter move back and forth in different combinations on the
wood curvy tracks. They report their location to the brain of the system that functions as a communication line
between all of them. The brain remembers and communicates the position of each sculpture to the other that is in proximity. For instance, when Wally and Dory are the farthest from each other they might realize they miss each other and therefore go into a certain state of behavior that reflects their sadness while if they are closest to each other they might mingle. Once every so often, they move together or towards each other. The tracks never cross so the sculptures can never touch each other unless they are already tangled together, coupled, from the beginning.
When the visitors walk they first see the movement of the fabric sculptures and then realize the tracks. All of the
electronics in the ceiling are somewhat hidden because the tracks are designed to blend into the architecture and
become an appendage to it. The very complicated system on the ceiling is reflected by not so complicated
movements at eye-level. While the tracks blend into the architecture, the vertical sculptures jump out and drool onto the floor as if they are reaching for the audience. The piece facilitates a physical relationship between the
architecture and the residents in it.
As the visitors enter the installation and walk through they have to change their behavior in the space according to the sculptures or interrupt the system. They may choose to interrupt the system by pushing the pieces out of their way, pulling them or just holding them. This physical interruption by the audience, interrupts the relationships within the system. Every time the audience chooses to hold one of the sculptures a second more than sculpture is supposed to stay in that place, the counter in the brain that remembers and reports where the sculptures are or what they are supposed to do next gets interrupted and confused. As a result the relationships between the objects alter.
In contrast, the audience is also interrupted by the sculptures. When placed in a crammed space where the
audience has to walk through the sculpture to get to the other side, visitors that do not want to touch the pieces will have to navigate around the pieces and walk in a zigzag like pattern or get hit by them.
My aim in this project is to investigate relationships between mechanical objects that have physical qualities within a closed system and the system’s relationship to the architecture and the audience. It is a meditation on how two very separate entities like the visitor and the art piece can effect each other physically but not be aware of the unseen consequences that may follow their physical interaction. These pieces were made months before the we had to go into quarantine and think about our physical interaction to each other. It is not a piece about the epidemic but about physical relationships between objects, spaces and humans that live inside them. Given the situation I can’t help but reflect back and realize that the interaction between the art work and the audience is similar to how we have to interact with one another in everyday life today.