PaganStudio Writings

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Creativity and Connectivity

written on the occasion of the exhibition, curated and organized by the academic staff and students of the Kadir Has University with participation of some other photographers and designers from Istanbul. Ahmet Atıf Akın, Eser Selen and Can Pekdemir attended the exhibition as the curators and designers.

The ‘Cities, Connectivity and Creativity’ exhibition adjunct to the conference has a challenge to scrutinize and compare each of the three concepts in the conference title. So, it is divided in three main categories referring to the title.

Cities: Capitalism operates in the cities through categorization, classification, organization of massive amount of goods and services. Typology in photography is commonly used as a technique of observation of this massive condition. Participants are asked to visualize a civic concept creating a photographic typology. The exhibition idea is motivated by the will and ideas of the ‘Photography Studio’ lecture students. During the discussions regarding the city and typology, they proposed a concept like typology of photography. This is like a derivative form of typology in photography. It is not the serial photographs of various content but the different forms of the same content that creates the typology. For example, Galata Tower, as a touristic spot and land mark in Istanbul, is photographed by thousands everyday. The same is differentiated by photographic techniques and light conditions. The concept is illustrated by the students by taking the “same” photograph of the tower with different cameras and lighting settings. Then the idea is extended to a visual survey on flickr and series of photographs are picked from the website to underline the connectivity through photography.

Connectivity: This second issue in the concept inspired the website domain name of the project (www.connectivephotography.com) which will hopefully host more and interesting research projects in the faculty. This part deals with the operation methods of global capitalism but this time in a narrower sense and it is case specific.

As the information given by Deniz Yükseker (Sociology Department, Koç University, Turkey) in her research titled ‘Laleli, Istanbul as a Borderland in the Transnational Shuttle Trade Network’:

During the 1990s, Istanbul became a major node in the transnational informal trade network between former Soviet republics and Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics visited Istanbul every year for short periods of time in order to buy consumer goods (especially clothing) for selling back in their homes. Laleli, a neighborhood on the historical peninsula of Istanbul, turned into a marketplace for the informal “shuttle trade.”

The Seventh-Kilometer Market is an outdoor market outside of Odessa, Ukraine. Founded in 1989 during Perestroika reforms, it is now possibly the largest market in Europe. The independent traders on the market sell goods in all price ranges, from authentic merchandise to all sorts of cheap Asian consumer goods, including many counterfeits of Western luxury goods. In the heydays of the shuttle trade, this market was the mirror of Laleli. Toll manufactured textile in İstanbul, sold in Laleli, were served to the post-Soviet states through this market place.

The photographs in this part are taken on trips to both parts of this off-the-book shuttle trade. Photographs are chosen among the ones that represent the identity loss caused by the global trade activities. Some of the photographs underline this fact and connection with solid visual entries to the frames.

Apart from the photographs exhibited, referring to these two concepts an empty photo board will be available for the conference guests to participate in the exhibition with their photographs taken in Istanbul and printed in the exhibition hall. These photographs will also be published on the exhibition website with the name of the participants.

Finally the Creativity section exhibits photographs were produced by the students of the communication design department in the context of the course titled ‘Photography Studio’. During the classes we witnessed students were not only learning photography techniques but also challenging the medium with the capabilities of new digital production tools. Photographs in this section are produced with various techniques and equipments where this process, mostly, complies with the cultural environment of their creators.

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