The industrial archaeology site of Çubuklu Silos becomes the object of artistic exploration in Atif Akin’s site-specific media installation. These vertical, circular buildings, once used for grain or fluid storage constitute the form and medium of the installation. Spanning across the five silos, the work operating in the z-dimension can be experienced both outdoor and indoor. The 4 screens reflect aerial drone footage of off-center gradient patterns and colors. Inspired by the principles of fluid dynamics and the Bernoulli equation of pressure distribution, the projected imagery undulates and morphs. As viewers traverse the space, they encounter a shifting panorama of perspectives within the industrial landscape and are invited to reflect on the architecture and the scientific history of the site. At the same time, through the lens of self-surveillance, the visitors are encouraged to think about their own presence within this industrial tableau.

This installation presents two different perspectives on two different layers, created using scientific visualization techniques derived from the former function of these silos and a vertical point of view to industrial archaeology via drone camera. One of these layers consists of graphic patterns integrated into the architectural structure; on this level, there is also an optical immersion since viewers experience a sensation formed by graphics printed on these advertisement banners, drawn with codes based on the principles of petrochemical fluid mechanics. The other layer is inside the silos, where a bird’s eye view can be observed from screens via a drone camera, depicting a human-made structure within nature with two layers. 

The first layer is the architecture, and the second layer I created is a scientific visual representation of the building’s function. The intersection of these two forms is what creates the aesthetics of the work.

At the beginning of the project, while examining the site, I elaborated whether to view this as an industrial structure within nature or as an industrial structure in the middle of the city. However, as I developed the idea, I actually incorporated more natural parameters; for instance, the saturation of colors or the symmetrical perfection and rhythms, which are contrasting with but also harmoniously aligned with the chaos of nature, creating an aesthetic. As you mentioned, its relationship with Istanbul will change day by day, and I had the opportunity to observe this only after the exhibition opened. I think Istanbul is a city with many visual reflexes; its geography, its structures, its cultural richness, and its expressive new generation constantly keep these reflexes alert. However, as I said, I did not consider this aspect too much initially; I wanted to base the methodology of the work more on a nature-technology confrontation.

While I was still in the idea development phase, the silos were also undergoing an architectural transformation. During the first drone shoots I saw, there were graffiti letters, individual letter tags, and a yellow smiling face on the terraces of the silos. This image made me think about both the work I would do, the transformation process carried out by the municipality, and these silos that had already hosted creative expression and the graffiti artists who owned these expressions. So, in fact, these structures had already engaged with the city through graffiti, a very urban art practice, before me. What I did here was to renew this relationship when it was my turn, just like posters being layered on city walls. After the silos were opened to visitors, I began to see more aerial footage and more images from the perspective of people experiencing the work, and I believe the aesthetic framework I presented works well through a contrast both with the urban culture and the natural environment it is in. Additionally, the other relationship the work establishes with Istanbul is through its scale and production techniques. I realized once again that a work of this technology and scale could only be produced and installed in such a timeframe in Istanbul. Of course, I must also extend endless thanks to both the Pixel and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality teams.