press release

It is as if it questions the inability of the viewers, who are stuck between the two faces without a chance to choose, in perceiving the interrelatedness of significance and insignificance. We are reminded that art's preoccupation with meaning, which is transitory just like information is today, simplifies our thought process to the point that meaning is slowly lost. It makes us consider the role of the reader or the viewer in terms of finding out the exact meaning and connotations of the work of art through settling in the gaps of the work which is known as Constance School within the theory of reception and thus reminds us of the notion of leerstellen.

The second issue rises from the connection between heads and tails within the relationship between numbers and writing. Writing was conceived in Mesopotamia, and then in Egypt and Persia in 3300 B.C. In writing, each character corresponded to a word. There were characters for each syllable. Monosyllabic words had a graphic appearance and didn't have any meaning. However, in Semitic languages a word didn't have general letters but it was composed of a vowel and the graphic of a consonant which accompanied it. Since Mesopotamia, writing has coexisted with mathematics and mathematics drew numbers and writing close together. And money came into existence through the proximity of writing and the number. One side was heads and the other side was tails (writing). This kind of currency was used in Ionia in 7th century B.C. An original and specific kind of graphic design was constructed through the inventions. In this sense money was used as a cognitive tool. The relationship between money and number corresponds to the geometrical signs inscribed on the coins during the time of Herodotus. Since then, writing rendered language visible. In spite of the heterogeneous relationship between "Words and Things", language began to be understood as the non-current version of what was current. In this sense when words rendered what was invisible visible, language created a relation between the past, the present and the future. When words transformed the invisible into the visible, the words became images they became visible as images. And writing rendered the invisible visible through its graphic power and flexibility, in comparison to language. This is the reason why writing rather than word and language is the subject of research and interpretation. Here language functions as a kind of image. Claude Closky's work seeks meaning through the relationships between language, graphic signs, words and numbers. When time is fixed with the letter Z, writing is to be fixed with its own letter but it becomes impossible for writing to become a constant and the metaphor is lost within the interpretation. In this sense, with the game of time, which is unanchorable, and by using images that are compressed in time, Closky flattens and problematizes the comprehensibility and incomprehensibility of the relation between speed and slowness .As the creators of Visual Studies in American universities propose, image obtains the same rights as language (the image becomes visible in the relationship between what is seen and what is told) and frees itself within the hierarchy between itself and language; presenting to the viewers the relations of production of meaning, coding and decoding.

The exhibition begins to reveal some hints about the reasons of the descend and slow recession of thought and our passivity in daily life as viewers who are bound on all sides with hundreds of images that are contradictory and in binary oppositions. It touches upon how we get conditioned to think in binary oppositions in our effort to simplify when thought becomes out of fashion in a world flooded with images and messages. When we look at Claude Closky's work we first thing we may observe is the similarity between a world of translation technology where words become images and writing and reading pass through the images and sounds and the "televisual technology" of the infinitely bound information of our everyday life. As Felix Guattari has repeated many times, when words begin to be read as images, the adults go back to a model of education for children and within this world in which we are infantilized by technology, its effects on bodies are simplified to binary oppositions,and this is when questions of how technology will function arise.

First of all, an interactive work based on the existence of the viewers who are stuck in the second floor of Akbank Art Center building acknowledges the existence of this physical and mental entity. Therefore, the movement which begins when the viewer enters the hall and starts to perceive the world through binary oppositions when bombarded with images on two opposing walls and this movement is repeated when they are asked to choose one word from two options through the computer screen as if it's a public opinion survey. In spite of thinking and trying to unpack the meaning between two words, the current meaning of to choice immediately becomes significant in terms of sociology and politics. Through his work composed of a world atlas and its circles and triangles that are stretched infinitely, and displayed on a digital screen, Claude Closky carries us to the existence of signs infinitely stretched within the geography of our limited world.

A playful example of how we are essentially deceived ¢€"as viewers, voters, followers, the passified, the controlled, the ones whose desires are determined by public opinion surveys, the ones whose lives are flooded with choices and educated through them, as the chosen in order to choose for us in the name of democracy- through binary oppositions (right and left, male and female, white and black, spirit and body, reason and unreason, rational and irrational, natural and artificial, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, sweet and bitter, salty and unsalted, republican and democrat, Islamist and secular, believer and atheist, moral and immoral etc.) is revealed here: neither the Liberals, the statists, the fundamentalists or the seculars can rescua us from the dialectic of binary oppositions. Doesn't choice and 'No Choice!' remind us here that the situation of no choice became a part of how democracies around the world function? Does it not tell us of the history of the system of selection based on the majority called democracy and how this is dependent upon binary oppositions? Doesn't the election between last two candidates in the second vote cycle appears as a sign of our essential "no choice" situation while reminding us of the simplifying mental and physical weakness of democracy?

In the platonic dialogues of Socrates and Kallikles within the history of philosophy it has been mentioned that a philosopher is someone who makes a choice between two things. If we follow Alain Badiou's interpretation, making a choice between these two philosophers is based on choosing the positive. According to Badiou philosophy is a mechanism of "choosing and deciding". When Badiou tells the story of General Marcellus's soldier who was curious about Archimedes who died because the savant did not listen to him, he essentially underlines that authority is violence and that science is a continuous research without the pressure of time. How much can we use our capacity of choosing and deciding Today? In today's world we witness the examples of such experiences that an artist or thinker is someone who is repressed by power, who feels the pressures of the market as well as of time and is someone who sells his/her labor like the proletariat. Conforming to the market remind us not only that art is something that is commissioned but also "free art" is a commodity that has to be delivered on time. According to Badiou has told there is no correlation between the time criteria of the violence of authority and the invention of a scientist or creation of an artist. That is to say there is always a "distance" between philosophy, the arts and sciences and the forms of action and authority and this relationship is problematized. Besides this incompatibility there is also a relation of the lack of a relation. There is a breakage. Although Badiou has presented event philosophy as an exception here, don't these event and micro-events (Dleuze-Guattari) actually pass through the temporal differences within the most ordinary things? How far can we follow Badiou as a philosopher who is not an idealist philosopher when he says that "philosophy is to think not the existence but the inexistence"? Doesn't Claude Closky's work ''No choice'' make us think about the decision mechanisms of someone who stands in the between in this world of binary images? Isn't it a moment of breakage: having no options.

On the ground floor the binary relationship between what is above and under is repeated: the question "Heads or Tails?" still stands as the main question of the exhibition. Thousands of black and white images are being presented on a long white table with their fronts and backs. These flat images which are repeated give us "a flattened world". In a sense they emphasize and remind us that the illusion of three dimensions in the history of painting is essentially two dimensional . This view that transforms the world into a flat tray¢€"as if it was run over by a press- bewilderingly shows that the other side of the geographical and architectural structure of Akbank Art Center is the sea- not the Marmara Sea but the Pacific Ocean. If we had continued to believe that world is not round but a flat tray as the Ancient Greeks had said, then we would see how two distant places can overlap -as it is in current global world- and we will be surprised. When we flatten the İstiklal Street of Beyoğlu İstanbul we will recognize that it's a part of the Pacific Ocean we will surely be terrified. Closky's "Flat World" confronts us with this amazing game.

Again the viewers stand as actors within a movement: Umberto Eco mentions that the title of the book "Lector in fabula" was derived from 'lupus in fabula' (when the wolf is mentioned). Like a wolf story in almost every fairy tale, a reader existing in every text. It corresponds to an idiom in Turkish when somebody who was just mentioned shows up: "That who arrives when mentioned is a good person". Another answer to the question "Heads or Tails?" could then be "That who arrives when mentioned is a good person". The one who will look at the front and the back of these images on the table and who will see that both these images and the world is flat will then be this "good person".

Claude Closky who was awarded the Marcel Duchamp prize in Paris, gives us some hints of the recent past of art history, of world of information and news, of labels in consumer society's everyday life, of images between words and of echoes in sounds and similarities; we may say that he is an artist who works with series. Language , which often works literally, sometimes provides the audience with new possibilities to produce meaning; that is to say when we recognize how frequently used words are transformed into statements we find clues about the constructed nature of the meaning. When Foucault wrote in his book "The Archeology of Knowledge" (1969) that "even the letters a,z,e,r,t in the French typewriter is a statement" he showed us that the grammar, the language skill are constructed statements made within the social field through the national or local language and therefore can easily be controlled. We may also infer that the artistic statement gives start to a process that makes this social situation which is concealed begin to unravel. An utterance made up of a heterogeneous unity of a word, a statement and a sentence functions with discourse whether it's discursive or not.

While Claude Closky's world of images and words juxtaposes the worlds of writing, word, sound and image at the same time, it also reminds us that distinctions between these elements began to disappear within contemporary world technology. It also makes us feel that simplifications are made and constructed within a complex strategy. So it could be added that when the words become images then we are talking about a "body technology" within the communication technology of this world of images.

only in german

Ali Akay / Claude Closky
Ort: Akbank Art Center