Cereyan

Centered on the Euphrates and Mesopotamia, “Currents” investigates the large-scale energy production as a result of rerouting the water, incentives for mechanical agriculture, and the ongoing process of transformations that submerges the ancient heritage as well as the villages, towns, the local culture and the complex structure of the region. This series questions the facticity of the continuous emphasis laid on how the notion of development, ceaselessly eroding and being classified, represents social welfare, freedom, discovery and hope. “Currents” deals particularly with water, and the dialectic of life, the interdependence of elements, those structures that function together and interact within a pattern. The series emphasizes how seemingly autonomous formations impact each other, from our blood that circulates in a vast network of veins to the flow of the rivers, how our surrounding moves through a process that is interconnected. The series probes into the role played by our notions of representation and our first impressions in our in-context and out-of-context observations and descriptions.

The series in this chapter addresses the villages and Mesopotamian remains that are submerged by the Euphrates and the dams built on it. The series reflects the experiences of looking at the same region closely, from a distance, and spiritually, by showing the most unrecognizable state of what is closest and best known to us.

Archival Pigment Print, 112,5 x 144 cm, 2015

Euphrates


The image taken from above the Euphrates after the dam was built. This piece models the perception of time and space after underlying revolving and repeating circular and spiral forms often observed in nature. Composed of dozens photographs, this image invites us to be inspired by these structures, the rhythmic processes of natural occurrences and transformations in our universe, from the simplicity of wind and water swirls, to the spectacle of the galaxy.


Nobody who has seen this ancient temple can go away without being struck by a great melancholy and unexplained attraction for it

Al Mas’udi, [897-952 AD], The Meadows of Gold, LXVII – “Sacred buildings and monuments of the Sabians of Harran”


Archival Pigment Print, 130 x 180 cm , 2015

Sand in a whirlwind / Burgaç


Dams over the Euphrates have led to inequality in water distribution among Syria, Iraq and Turkey, and the senseless use of water and soil in Urfa caused desertification in the regions beyond the southern border of Turkey. The sudden and extreme enrichment that came with the dam at the side of Urfa, the changes that are characterized as economic development are transforming the overirrigated and overcultivated plains with sandstorms that now and then comes from the desertified regions of the Middle East that are condemned to drought, and remind us that nature is a whole without borders.


Archival Pigment Print, 50 cm diametre, 2015

Naked eye / Çıplak göz


These photographs that were taken using a microscope concern the detailed analyses of the changing biological and physical structure of the region, which were prescribed as a result of the rerouting of the Euphrates. They observe how analyzing, compartmentalizing, taming, and managing nature, which has an intricate structure in the region, lead us to an uncertain end. This series aspires to make us feel feel how nature, which we define according to our norms and classify into species and taxonomic units, is actually an interrelated, harmonious whole.


Video Installation Shot

Invisible longing / Görünmeyen yitirilmişlik, 2013-15


This video that we watch solely as an observer, left on our own, presents in a single fluidity the drama of the people who are impacted by the wheat stink bug that entered the fields during the period of dry and uniform cultivation, as well as the expressionist narrative of this drama through folk dance figures, and the now instrumentalized dances.

Wheat Stink Bug: This is a small pest that sustains itself by feeding on the crops on wheat and other cereal planted fields since the ancient times when humankind began cultivating cereals. This stop-motion video was made in inspiration from the folklore that reflects humans' relation with nature and water at the region from a time before the dam introduced modern agriculture to Urfa. Almost on the brink of vanishing, this dance was performed again for this video by Kadir Eğlence, nicknamed Kado, who is a 65 years old drummer who used to be the drummer of the folk dance team of which I was a member as a child, and who earns a livelihood by performing this traditional art now popularized, who earned the title of the first national drummer of Turkey, and who has adjusted to the changing and eroding culture of entertainment.

Video-loop, 2013-15

Invisible longing / Görünmeyen yitirilmişlik


[self-portrait] Sculpture and mixed media, 22 x 22 x 25 cm, 2015

On the verge / Sınırın eşiğinde


This installation reflects the power of water to give life as much as its menacing aspect. It was created under the influence of the vanishing of many villages and Mesopotamian remains that are submerged under the waters of the Euphrates as a result of its path being modified by humans, and of the recently increasing water-migration relation. The confinement, containment and the halting of the cyclical fluidity of water and its gradual transformation into an artificial lake have increased its surface area and this has caused evaporation and taken away the most natural right of creatures struggling with drought, living at the regions beyond the border even though the river runs there. Water is, in a sense, being released into air. This installation is an expression of our near suffocation, of our despair, and the despair of those who are being displaced for the control of water and oil, the main cause of war in the region.



Archival Pigment Print, 6 frames, each: 75 x 75 cm, 2013-2015

Prospect of flying bird / Uçan kuşun arayışı


The images from above the regions that are irrigated by the Euphrates after the dam was built


Everything in nature is a process that lacks a definite starting point or an ending point as defined by humans, where interrelated formations are interdependent as a whole in smooth transitions, without corresponding to human-made categorization mechanisms. Shot from above the Euphrates, this video, which doesn't have any effects, reveals the surreal extent to which water lacks connection with the lands, soils and creatures it suddenly comes into contact with as a result of being rerouted by the hands of humans. This work questions how and against what stimuli, our consciousness and perception are transformed into meanings, and invites us to an experience we can have on our own. It aims at temporally extending our state of illusion in which we are dragged in an effort to understand what's going on by comparing it with our own knowledge.



Single channel video in mirror boxed display, 2015

Manufacturing of the familiar / Aşina olanın imalatı


Everything in nature is a process that lacks a definite starting point or an ending point as defined by humans, where interrelated formations are interdependent as a whole in smooth transitions, without corresponding to human-made categorization mechanisms. Shot from above the Euphrates, this video, which doesn't have any effects, reveals the surreal extent to which water lacks connection with the lands, soils and creatures it suddenly comes into contact with as a result of being rerouted by the hands of humans. This work questions how and against what stimuli, our consciousness and perception are transformed into meanings, and invites us to an experience we can have on our own. It aims at temporally extending our state of illusion in which we are dragged in an effort to understand what's going on by comparing it with our own knowledge.


Archival Pigment Print, 112,5 x 144 cm, 2015

Holly hill -the core of the ancient complex- / Kutsal tepe


Sogmatar: It is scientifically established that this region of Tektek Mountains, dated back to 2nd century AD, was a cult center where people of Harran were worshiping the deities of moon and the planets during the period of the Kingdom of Abgar. At the Sogmatar cult site, there is a cave (Pognon Cave) for worshiping the Lunar God of Sin, a hill (Kutsal Tepe) on whose slope there are deity reliefs and inscriptions carved on the ground, a mausoleum with a plan of six squares and a round, a citadel and many rock-cut tombs on the main rock.


Archival Pigment Print, 112,5 x 144 cm, 2015

Pognon's cave remains / Pognon mağarası kalıntıları


Excavations by treasure hunters is a common sight today at Sogmatar, an Arab village. Villagers use the stones, sections or caves that belong to the Sogmatar Temple, which has been scarcely studied scientifically, to build their houses or, as seen in this photograph, use them as shelter for their animals.

Seven wandering stars / Yedi seyyare yıldız


 Composed of seven photographs, this series represents seven hills that are devoted to the Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn at Sogmatar. These images were created by exposing cloths to the moonlight throughout the night on the sacred hill, with the sacred water I drew from Sogmatar wells.


each: 48 x 73 cm, 2015


Archival Pigment Print, 50 x 70.5 cm, 2015

Cave / Mağara


 Sogmatar rock-cut tombs

Lunar God of Sin was worshiped in Sumatar; the deity that was peculiar to the Harran region. These photographs show the structures that represent the stars at the Kutsal Tepe and its outskirts, the rock-cut tombs within these structures, and the figurines that were carved by the 2nd century Edessa sculptors. This series will reveal how those people who live there today connect with these remains. Today, we still find the cultural presentations through which the testimony of Sin transpires on the tombstone and house ornaments.



Archival Pigment Print, 80 x 120 cm, 2015

Cave / Mağara


 Lunar God of Sin was worshiped in Sumatar; the deity that was peculiar to the Harran region. These photographs show the structures that represent the stars at the Kutsal Tepe and its outskirts, the rock-cut tombs within these structures, and the figurines that were carved by the 2nd century Edessa sculptors. This series will reveal how those people who live there today connect with these remains. Today, we still find the cultural presentations through which the testimony of Sin transpires on the tombstone and house ornaments.


Archival Pigment Print, 6 boxes, each: 9 x 14 cm, 6.5 x 39 x 56 cm, 2015

Reflections of icons / İkonların gölges


The images of the remains taken by mobile phones by the youth living in Sogmatar are offered to the tourists who visit there and the remains are sold in secret. By looking at the representations of these remains without knowing where they belonged to, we can only imagine their true presence.


Archival Pigment Print, 50 x 70.5 cm, 2015

Mercury / Merkür


3 Channel loop Video installation shot, 2013-15

Revisit / Yeniden ziyaret


Authorities resettled those who lived in these caves at the old city of Urfa to modern apartment buildings in order to enable use of these caves for touristic purposes. As a kid, we used to enter the caves that emerged as a result of excavation works that were carried out in order to fix the infrastructure of the city, only to be covered again immediately after, and we used to whirl continuously around ourselves without knowing why. I invited people who once lived in these caves to the caves in which they had lived and asked them to whirl.

3 Channel loop Video, 2013-15

Revisit / Yeniden ziyaret


Archival Pigment Print, 50 x 70.5 cm, 2015

On the way to Temple: Sogmatar


Archival Pigment Print, 50 x 70.5 cm, 2015

On the way to Temple: Sogmatar


Archival Pigment Print, 50 x 70.5 cm, 2015

Snake from Temple: Sogmatar


Archival Pigment Print, 54 x 70,5 cm, 2015

Venus, Venüs


Archival Pigment Print, 50 x 70.5 cm, 2015

On the way to Temple: Sogmatar


Archival Pigment Print, 54 x 70,5 cm, 2015

On the way to Temple: Sogmatar

4 Channel Video installation

Dissemblance: Babel / Başkalaşım: Babil Urfa 2012-15


This four-channel video that presents Kızlar Tumulus, which is located in close proximity to the city center of Urfa, was shot in duration of four years, once a year in different seasons, from the same point of view. Containing various languages, daily conversations and mythical stories, this video installation observes in cycles the relationship of people with this hill. Around this hill, which was declared a first-degree archaeological site, the region undergoes a rapid transformation as the land is cultivated with the water supplied from the Euphrates and the stubble is burnt. Yet, the hill ceases to be a protected and forbidden site or a historical piece whose findings are sealed in a museum but rather keeps the organic bond with its surrounding alive as it is open to the daily use by the people of the region, who do not care about its archaeological background and who only refer to it as “the mountain”.

4 Channel Video installation

Dissemblance: Babel / Başkalaşım: Babil Urfa 2012-15


Dissemblance: Babel is exhibited through installing screens over the boxes above our heads, and the voice in various languages coming from different channels will make us rotate around ourselves, in seeking the source of the sound. In this way, the work will evoke the experience of rotation and cycle.

Cereyan Catalog

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