[ISEA2016] Artist Statement: DUYGU NAZLI AKOVA — HIVE

Artist Statement

Single-channel video 2014 04’00’

The experimental video “Hive”, takes a look at the unplanned urbanization, which has been paraded under the guise of “urban renewal”, Istanbul has been undergoing for many years. This unplanned urbanization creates mega cities made out of concrete, by destroying the existing historical and cultural legacy. Today, Istanbul has become a giant construction site where the terrifying reflections of the applied urban politics can be seen through the disappearance of ethnic identities, and the gap in the living conditions of individuals.
This situation is conveyed through the visualization of Marx’s bee and machine metaphor. This metaphor exemplifies how, due to the heavy work load, the workers become mechanical; how they are not only exposed to the adverse effects of this workload but even pay for it with their lives. The workers forced to work at such a speed and yet this speed leads to the creation of both abundance, but also nothingness. At the same time, the metaphor represents the impossibility for the workers to own the very building they help produce.
This video collage is a surreal visual representation of a skyscraper which consists of 160 videos containing eight horizontal and twenty vertical. It has an experimental language, leaving the traditional horizontal video format behind for a vertical design. The framing and point of view aim to create an illusion. Reality is broken in this new form created through documentary footage, where micro human figures move at a rapid pace, reflecting the speed of the world in which we live in and creating a façade of time. The momentary black pieces shows up to symbolize the death of each worker because of the security gap which is a huge social problem encountered in Turkey. And then they appear so fast with a worker again which is too easy to replace with. In this sense, “Hive”, focuses on the workers’ working conditions, contract labor, human rights and urban renewal.

  • DUYGU NAZLI AKOVA is an artist and researcher based in Istanbul. As an artist, her work aims to create a dialogue rooted in critical discourse focused on political authority and general social issues, through the use of photography, video and installation. By using the experimental language that puts viewer perception and the plurality of these media in the center, she examines issues such as human rights, freedom, social inequality, consumerism, urban life, urban renewal, immigration, media and justice. She experiments different hybrid forms by turning images that have documentary nature or found footage into metamorphosized images. At its core, she works with real elements like historical documents, archival imagery, cultural research or found footage images like television or media videos, photographs used in newspapers, flea markets, family albums or documentary footage she shot. After the manipulation of the visual material, the final form of the piece becomes completely different. She examines the structure of traditional video aesthetics and her videos usually have an experimental language, leaving the traditional horizontal video format behind for a vertical design. The framing and point of view aim to create an illusion. In her recent experimental videos, she aims  to create a view of the transformation of Turkey, especially Istanbul. Her own shots are also becoming historical documents day by day and belongs to an archive of memory. She compares the older video and photography footage to today’s chaotic and complex city by using the different mediums which belongs to different period of time of the city. It makes the viewer to face a new reality about the social, political and cultural problems in their daily lives. During the video, the artist leads the spectators to discover various movements in different points of the frame. The close up view and the view from a distance gives the spectators two completely different experiences. When the spectator see the video close up, they realises the micro human figures representing the social role of people living in Istanbul.

Full text and photo (PDF) p. 18-20