absencexpresence, 2018.
Video and Audiovisual performance, 14.38′
Collaboration between Asli Narin & Gurkan Mihci
Apartment Project, Berlin, Germany, 2018 [LINK]
Istanbul International Experimental Film Festival
“absencexpresence” focuses on Aslı Narin’s and Gürkan Mıhçı’s 24-hour-experience on Eastern Express train journey, from Ankara to Kars. The artists took off with the intention of collaboration and art production. As Maurice Merleau-Ponty claims that the painter changes the world into paintings by lending his body to the world*, Aslı Narin and Gürkan Mıhçı take this phenomenon to its maximum in their collaboration.
This one day self-held residency under the name of “Moving Atelier” which was a project found by Asli Narin and continued later on with other projects, questions the effects of constant motion and the limitation of time and space in art production. Lawrence Weschler aims this kind of production method “radical self limitation” and discusses its positive effects for new works for artists**. In this experimental situation, the train became both the studio and the material for the artists. By recording both sound and image constantly and separate from each other, the artists’ aim was to create a mutual/joint body of work of their experience of the train journey.
Ponty depicts that we should understand the body not as a space or a device with functions; we should look at it as an intertwining of vision and movement.* While the window of the train served as a screen for moving frames, the mechanics of the train served as sound sources. Two separate movements were accomplished: The train and the bodies of the artists. This chaotic environment that they were in can be realized as the undividedness of the sensing and the sensed in Ponty’s words.
In their audiovisual show, the artists perform their experience of the one-day cycle, which mostly took their attention. Taking the inspiration from the changes of the mood-especially with the light- between the day and the night journey, the show is a spontaneous abstraction of these moods and feelings. Immersed in constant motion, their bodies were exposed to many sounds and images in flux. This flux is taken in fragments and converted into sound and image compositions in a new flow.
*Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Eye and Mind, 1961
**Weschler, Lawrence, The Sense of Movement, 2015
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