Galeri 5 is a not-for-profit art gallery in the lobby of an office building in Ümraniye, Istanbul. Artist Gizem Karakaş kicked off the Devir project in January 2020 by inviting me to do an eight-day residency at the space over the course of a month before choosing an artist to hand over the space to. Over the course of 2019, this group exhibition unfolded.
Confronted with an empty gallery, I researched the area of Ümraniye and took walks in the neighborhood. Ümraniye—a rapidly developing neighborhood, en route to becoming a business hub—was frequently referred to by the president in Turkey to remind his voter base of a tragic event from the 1990s. There was a gas explosion in the city dumping ground in Ümraniye. More than forty people, trash collectors living near the site, died and most of the bodies were never recovered. In thinking about the context of the gallery, I arrived at thinking about the instrument of theremin as a metaphor for all that is unutterable and unrepresentable. Could exhibitions imply bodies that are not there? Could the seemingly empty space become a site of all that could be?
As the office building was right next to the small auto-industry site, I bought two car antennas and placed them on the two walls of the niche looking over the street. I wanted to imply a connection between these two walls that were connected to each other through what they could broadcast and utter. The other elements of the installation—the photograph, the letter, and the song—were left to start off the artists coming after me.