[ISEA2011] Paper: Leman Giresunlu – Smyrna/Izmir 2011: A Teleport in Time to the Virtual City


Urban landscapes change through time however architectural legacies prevail as part of shared cultural pasts. Likewise the city of Izmir, in Turkey have undergone many changes in time however, local residents of the city who were once cradled into turn of the century houses, also known as “Old Izmir Houses,” still cherish these elegant buildings of past architectural tastes. Each of which with a story to tell, these precious little houses with lavish facades, windows, doors, elaborate staircases, and marvelous ironworks today have flourished in the penmanship of their hosting residents, and other travelers into books, documentaries, poems, and novels speaking about the local history and culture of their city.

Archeologists and historians’ views about the origins and age of Izmir constitute part of their ultimate professional interest: with due respect to inquiries as to whether it is a continuation or a rupture which constitutes the culture of a particular locality; cultures thrive through each other’s palimpsests. Yet nature’s corrosive effect constitutes of an unavoidable trace upon all constructed matter. Such impending doom which awaits every monument, every work of art, and architectural creation inspires the merge of cultural landmarks with the healing touch of technology. Second Life simulation environment with its ever evolving techniques today have become a space in the virtual for the reanimation of architectural constructions, in three dimensions. Second Life in world builders’ dexterity offers residents and participants of the simulation environment to have a feel of real life architectural works, amidst many other creations. Therefore Project Smyrna/Izmir 2011, as part of an ongoing study will introduce, turn of the century Izmir Houses as constructed in Second Life, and to be accompanied by a critical evaluation in order to articulate the conceptual framework of such a virtual merge with the historical as a recent cultural paradigm.

  • Dr. Leman Giresunlu is an assistant professor in the Department of American Culture and Literature at Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, Turkey. She received her MA from Ege University, Michigan State University, and her Phd. from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA. Her research and writing focuses on American Studies theory and methods, American literature and history of technology, gender studies, critical theory, travel literature and popular culture. Her recent publications include: “James’s Romantic Promises: The Golden Bowl and the Virtual” published in Supplemental Online chapters to Henry James’s Europe: Heritage and Transfer Edited by Dennis Tredy, Annick Duperray and Adrian Harding at Open Book publishers, 2011; “Second Life: Performing the Real in Digital Arts” in The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp. 251-72, (Urbana Champaign, USA: Common Grounds 2010); “Cyborg Goddesses: the Mainframe Revisited” in Ricardo, Francisco J. (ed.), Cyberculture and New Media, At the Interface/ Probing the Boundaries Volume 56, (Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2009); and “Blogging as Cyber-Autobiography,” Melikoglu, Koray (ed.) Life Writing: Contemporary Autobiography, Biography, and Travel Writing, ibid., 2007 Proceedings.  starmagne.blogspot.com  koinup.com/VRart2009/work/168221   openbookpublishers.com/shopimages/JamesOn-lineSupplementalChapters.pdf