Scientific Inquiries – catalogue, 2013

author: Basak Senova, title: Scientific inquiries, published at the occasion of the exhibition SCIENTIFIC INQUIRIES (2013), ISBN

Seven research-based artists were invited to Koç University to meet with researchers from various fields to develop artistic projects which are engaged with the outstanding researches that are being conducted in the university. At first, huge amount of researches were presented by Koç University to the artists and the curator, then, 33 researchers, whose researches are in synch with the artists’ area of interest, were selected by the curator. After attending a set of meetings both with the curator and the researchers in a period of six months, the artist acted upon ideas behind particular researches that have challenged their perception and acquaintance with the scientific findings and academic data.

It was obviously observed that scientific visualisation or illustration of the researches was the first expectation of most of the scientists and academicians in the university from this project. Nonetheless, in line with the main goal of the project, the selected artists developed projects that are inherently critical and has its own research within. The projects as the outcome of this process are, indeed, responses to the researches –and/or to the fields of these researches-. Thereby, the balance between the scientists and academicians with the artists, in terms of acquaintance to each other’s field, was almost even in the beginning. In this vein, Scientific Inquiries project could be considered as an opportunity to bring the significant researches visible for the wider public. Consequently, the presence and the exploitation of the artists –as an engagement of non-specialists by approaching scientific and academic researches in a slightly different way – presented unexpected results in the campus. In this respect, Scientific Inquiries project was a mutual learning process both for the researchers, academicians, participating artists, and students. All of these actors have been the active audience during the entire process of the project. They witnessed meetings, discussions, installations, and debates hovering around the art works.

The research and working methodology of the participating artists are all different from each other and furthermore, there are also specific and dissimilar processes within each methodology. For instance, Mushon Zer-Aviv’s starting point was a specific research focusing on the interaction of the mothers with their children in Turkey. Deriving from this topic, he developed a project which underlines how networked public is being controlled by media and the role of the public space in this context. Whereas AnneMarie Maes and Ali Taptik, developed their on-going, long-term researches, by combining them with the data and inspiration that they obtained from the prominent research fields in the university. Maes focused on various scientific fields, such as biology, ecology, sociology, archaeology, electronics and mechanical engineering. Her motive was to find and gather multiple perspectives on her own research. Likewise, Taptık made a thoroughly further research on a specific topic by gathering information from a researcher associated with law. With a parallel approach, Burak Arikan, who works with complex networks, trustees, and the companies and institutions, by referring to the fields of sociology and computer sciences.

On the other hand, Candas Sisman merges the findings of physics and neurology on perception to process a hybrid structure for his project. His project has an experimental prospect through the use of sound, light, optics, and vibration. A step further to this experimental approach, by Hubert Czerepok translated the concept of supersymmetry into a three dimensional light sculpture by challenging neon making techniques. Finally, İlgen Arzık decided to process her engagement with the scientists in due course of the project with her wallpapers and drawings.

The accumulation of the art projects not only appears as an important and constructive impetus for acknowledging the researches carried out by Koç University, also these projects explore further issues and context such as politics, economics, cultural and social conditions, physiological situations, control mechanisms, and modes of perception. For that reason, Scientific Inquiries project entails a potential for opening up new connections between researches, findings and applications in different fields, while challenging the role and the responsibility of the contemporary art for the society.

Spatial Decisions

The Scientific Inquiries project was set up in a fluid mode, naturally leading the viewers along the diverse lines of conception, methodologies and themes, inspired by the scientists and addressed by the artists. Each project was presented in different locations, physically separated from each other.

Projects by Ali Taptik, AnneMarie Maes, Burak Arikan, Candas Sisman, Hubert Czerepok, and Mushon Zer-Aviv took place at Koç University and Ilgen Arzik’s project was presented at American Hospital, Exhibition Gallery, Operation Room as an exhibition. In a like manner, a studio was transformed to a laboratory-like gallery space to host AnneMarie Maes’ project in an exhibition format. For Candas Sisman’s project, a container was located in one of the most crowded passage ways in the campus. Whereas Hubert Czerepok’s sculpture was installed at the library next to the windows; it can be both seen from outside and inside. Mushon Zer-Aviv’s mobile application was presented through a LCD screen at the food court. Similarly, both Ali Taptik’s and Burak Arikan’s projects appear as spatial installations that took place in the corridors of the university.

Each location was chosen according to the context of the project. Therefore, the fields of researches formed the spatial and navigational relationships among the projects of Scientific Inquiries.

curator: Basak Senova
curator’s assistant: Begum Satiroglu
artists: Ali Taptik, AnneMarie Maes, Burak Arikan, Candas Sisman, Hubert Czerepok, Ilgen Arzik, Mushon Zer-Aviv
visual identity: Erhan Muratoglu
venue: Koç University Campus and American Hospital Art Gallery, Operation Room
coordinates: Istanbul, 2013

project 2
“The Transparent Beehive Cabinet” by AnneMarie Maes


AnneMarie Maes’ work is situated on the interstices between art, science, and community. As part of the Open Greens project, Maes focused on the city bees and studied the botanical conditions in which bees thrive. Bees exhibit very original solutions to the challenges that social insects face, e.g. on the level of communication and collective decision making. They are an endless source of visually stunning images and sounds and their remarkable collective behaviour provides inspiration and metaphors for the functioning of human society.

The Transparent Beehive is an observatory, a living laboratory to study how a bee colony evolves. The hive has been installed on a Brussels rooftop connected to an urban garden laboratory. The design used different ways to monitor the hive, such as through camera and audio recordings, measurements of humidity, temperature, and CO2. Maes also introduced the means to study interaction with the local environment: examination of pollen, analysis of honey, tracking of flight routes. The installation in Istanbul is a reconstruction of the research process in Brussels. The life in the hive and the interaction with the ecosystem will be reconstructed for the time slice April 2012 – June 2013, with data, sound and images. Additional materials include everyday objects from working with the bees and from the project’s archive.

During the course of the research phase of the project, invitations by the artist were sent to six scientists from Koç University to contribute with text, commentary, notes, or objects from their personal position. Many different scientific disciplines touch on bees, most obviously biology and ecology. Furthermore, sociology is another reference, as it helps us think in novel ways about social networks, self-organisation, distributed intelligence and complex systems science. There are also fascinating connections with art history and archaeology. The Bee-Queen culture was already important in the Anatolian Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük. Finally, electronics and mechanical engineers are inspired by the bees’ anatomy and sensorial systems for developing new state of the art technology.