PaganStudio Writings

Alice in Wonderland

In the spring of 2009, İstanbul Bilgi University Visual Communication Design Department and santralistanbul hosted a series of media art events such as exhibitions, performances and a festival named Pixelist. Quadrature, basically an A/V performance realized by Refik Anadol and Alican Aktürk in cooperation with DUE3 was created for the partial fulfillment of the requirements for VCD 422 Senior Project course. The show took place in the program of parties and performances of Pixelist.

As a full time academic staff I am working on media arts theory. In order to point out the intercourse of Quadrature with this theory I feel the urge to refer to the event concept, a concept which is hard to grasp in the philosophical sense but perfectly illustrated by Quadrature.

QUADRATURE from Griduo on Vimeo.

In his book “The Logic of Sense”, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze interposes this notion to define becoming, as pure event, which is a concept, inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’. ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’ (1871) is a work of children’s literature by Lewis Carroll, as a sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

According Deleuze ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ involves a category of very special things: events and pure events. Although in the previous book it makes no reference to the events, the themes and settings of ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ make it a kind of mirror image of Wonderland. Alice ponders what the world is like on the other side, and to her surprise, is able to pass through to experience an alternate world.

When I say “Alice become larger” I mean that she becomes larger than she was. By the same token, however, she becomes smaller than she is now. Certainly, she is not bigger and smaller at the same time. She is larger now; she was smaller before.
(Deleuze, The Logic of Senses, pg.1.)

Event in Deleuze, of course, deserves a lot more analysis and promises many other evolutions, but it is easily comprehensible that the event occurs by the means of the juxtaposition of the actual and the virtual. This reveals the pure event. Methodology of the show is perfectly analogous to this Deleuzian terminology. In this case the virtual is the digitally designed light beam and the actual is the façade. Obviously each spectator of this event with which infinite identities of the architecture of santralistanbul Main Gallery created one episode of the wonderland, was an Alice. The whole thing was an event.

From another point of view Quadrature also proved that architectural spectacularity is a soft one and is no longer in the hands of the architects or the material vendors. Quadrature, through the axioms put by Deleuze reminded that juxtapositions of the actual and the virtual should be the major issues to be studied, not only in the context of visual arts, design and architecture but also in social and philosophical contexts.

Ahmet Atıf Akın, MSc.

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