Ali Demirel – Kuyu (The Pit)
The Pit is the second work of what Demirel calls his “post-apocalyptic utopia” series.
While the first work of the series is The Pier, a single-channel video installation, speaks to the fate of post-industrial architecture, removing the human element without which these landscapes appear disquieting. The Pit, on the other hand, is the close scrutiny of an age-old human intervention in the landscape, the pit, to reveal what could be termed the “post-function.” What could images tell about where the human is no longer? What does the machine of the camera capable of narrating through the unempty void of the humanless?
Demirel observes abandoned architectural structures with his camera, fantasizing about a post-apocalyptic future through the images that he makes. The fantasies of Demirel are uncanny precisely because there is no manipulation beyond what he actually sees. Demirel’s “fantasy” world is what is readily available, just at a different pace and at a different angle. His locations are everywhere and nowhere—consequently, his camera could have been anybody’s and nobody’s.
While The Pier fo-cused on the “apocalypse” of European modernist architecture, in The Pit, the artist returns to his “motherland” Bodrum for another, perhaps more personal “apocalypse.” The recent history of Bodrum is familiarly awful—a naturally beautiful coastal town transformed into a commercial con-crete jungle, rapidly losing its architectural and cultural traditions. The Pit is not only a documenta-tion of but also an extension of the landscape; this pit is a symbol of what has taken place in Bodrum, a post-apocalyptic state. Demirel’s pessimistic interpretation of the abandoned industrial architecture in The Pier moves to the more personally resonant space of Bodrum.
Demirel’s images are not the thing itself, but the aftermath of it. As viewers, we know this gap to exist and we ignore it most of the time. Demirel draws us gently back into the eeriness of the living—all in, all the way.
Kuyu (The Pit) was a part of the “Vorspiel” of CTM + Transmediale 2017