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Atif Akin – Research Driven Design in the Context of Contemporary Art and Data Driven Boredom

image: Evacuate Istanbul, installation and screenshots, Atif Akin, 2010

To me, art has been a series of activities made up of research, design, production and presentation. I refused to settle into any established medium of expression, and instead, chose to move fluidly between various media, including photography, video, physical interaction, and generative media and data visualization.

The content of my work is the outcome of scientific and political research processes of various kinds, as well as literary surveys and field trips. Along with conventional methods such as photographic documentation, typologies and video production, visual display of quantitative information plays an important role, both at research and presentation stages of my works. In fact, this idea of data visualization has become the sole content of the work in some of my projects.

Through these processes, my aim is to create meaning stripped of cultural connotations yet creating artistic and social value.

In this talk, I will discuss the convergence of contemporary digital media and aesthetics. Departing from some of my design practice and research driven artwork, I will try to explain this convergence in two parts, research and aesthetics. In the first part, I will try to contemplate on scientific or social research methods in the digital realm and in the second part, I will try to debate the art value in abstract and generative aesthetics of data culture in comparison to that of early color photography from a historical point of view. I would like to conclude with a brief encapsulation of the ways in which this idea of convergence resonates in the postmodern visual culture.

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