Panels

Sonar+D panels, curated by Lalin Akalan with the support of Digilogue, took place as part of Sónar Istanbul 2022. +D audience met at Zorlu PSM to discuss the climate crisis, NFT, social good, metaverse and immersive cinema.

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Public Space and Technology: Social Good

The transformation of city streets and public spaces into technology-integrated design spaces as a requirement of the digital age has now become a priority for many artists. Speaking about the effects of art and technology coming together and sharing these works in the public places, the speakers were given the opportunity to watch how people interacts with their work. Süleyman Yılmaz, who performed an audio-visual performance at the Galata Tower to commemorate Atatürk November 10th 2021, Melike Altınışık, the architect of the Küçük Çamlıca Radio and Television Tower, which we can see from every hill in Istanbul with its groundbreaking design, and illustrator Robin Yayla with his drawings that aim to put a smile on peoples faces. Artist Seçkin Pirim, who designed the exterior of the İstinye Park Louis Vuitton store, and Refik Anadol, one of the artists best known for his public art installations; Hope Alkazar’s director came together with the moderation of Bahar Türkay.

In her speech in which she explained that smart design and construction methods should be developed for smart cities, Melike Altınışık explained how the opportunity to be able to make larger-scale designs by using the data from different disciplines for their intended purpose is an important factor for their work in public spaces. She emphasized the importance for artists of being able to share these designs with individuals and to involve individuals in the process, on their journey to tell the ‘echo’ and story of a forgotten historical texture with the Echo project. For Robin Yayla, who interprets this importance from a different perspective, the biggest motivation for him is the expressions of people when they encounter the work. In his speech, Yayla continued by adding one of the most critical points for herself, and underlined the importance of reinterpreting the structures that we can’t see after a point, giving them a new identity and presenting them as different objects in front of people.

For Süleyman Yılmaz, who states that there is an invisible but very obvious context between public spaces and digital spaces, accessibility in public spaces and being at the same distance to everyone is the most important element of the process. Yılmaz stated that being able to attend exhibitions in public spaces, especially after the pandemic and being in quarantine changed his perspective as an artist. It is very critical for Yılmaz to experience works in public spaces by individuals from many different socio-cultural, economic and geographies at the same time. Explaining this as an encounter, Yılmaz defined this encounter as “Social Integration”.

Refik Anadol, who attended the panel from California, talked about his last performance at Hope Alkazar. Explaining that the space has its own function and its own preformed memory, Anadol explained that he actually created a network by combining this memory with artificial intelligence. “Concepts like metaverse always need a portal. They always needed a free space that brought us together with physical reality.”

The panel ended with the following statement by the sculptor Seçkin Pirim, which will be the summary of the panel, about the coming together of technology and art today. “I think that art history progresses in connection with technology. There is a mentality that technological uses devalue works of art. I believe in the importance of using technological tools to speed up the process.”

Sustainable NFT

It is impossible not to learn about the subject when you are exposed to concepts such as NFT, blockchain, and crypto money day by day. Sonar+D hosted the panel where valuable participants discussed the issue in order to enter the world of blockchain and NFT, which has a decentralized system, and to talk about its sustainability. Devrim Danyal, who provides training and consultancy services on the token economy, Itır Erhart as the advisor to the rector of Bilgi University in charge of sustainability and community servic,. audiovisual artist and crypto art producer Kerim Safa, graphic designer, and illustrator Simay Bahçıvan, who collaborates with local and foreign brands, met under the moderation of Utku Güven, the founder of Esmiyor podcast.

The moderator of the panel Utku Güven, emphasized that the focus should be on how this energy is produced, rather than how much energy is used in the NFT production and minting process, and left the microphone to Devrim Danyal. Devrim Danyal, who made the first speech, made a round-up from the past to the present, and in fact, from Göbeklitepe to the pictures drawn on the cave wall. summarized how humanity became obligated to keep records. Danyal conveyed that he evaluated blockchain as a protest to the roof structures and presented blockchain as the most important step in creating an equal labor ecosystem from the time of the barter system to the present. He questioned why the internet structure, which has existed in our lives since the 70s, has come to the fore today.

In this part of the speech, roof structures were discussed with Itır Erhart, who talked about the donation ecosystem. Erhart, who started her speech by saying that it was not possible for us to know where and how the money given while donating went, explained that while this whole process proceeds through banks, the deductions made by the banks for these transactions actually benefited the umbrella institutions themselves as well as the donation purpose. For Erhart, on the other hand, NFT and the blockchain system provide equal opportunity for artists. She explained that NFT brought a revolutionary perspective to an art world that only progressed with acquaintances and networking, and continued by explaining the change in the concept of art. For Erhart, while some decision makers decide what is art and what is not, no one can be such a decision maker anymore.

Simay Bahçıvan, who presented the artist’s perspective on the subject, explained the importance of NFT for artists. “How can I create myself as an artist? I chose the platform by seeing and evaluating what the collectors wanted in an environment where the interior is more sterile and exclusive works are collected.” Everything is just beginning for Birol Bayram, who looks at the subject from the artist’s side. “The opportunities it provides to the artist, rather than the damage caused by the process and production, are revolutionary. We witnessed full artist solidarity when the pandemic started. There were no galleries and collectors, the artists created an environment of support by buying each other’s works.”

Lalin Akalan, who opened the panel, summarized the issue as follows, “How artists are involved in the NFT and blockchain process is very important. While many sectors continue to produce in the same way, it is unfair to put such a burden on creators, but it should be said that what we define as blockchain is actually a money practice. It is very important to have this talk today for a forward-looking system in which we can manage our financial world. It is important that the systems that will develop in the future are designed in line with these conversations and that they progress with ecological awareness. Beyond the responsibility imposed on the individual, the developers of the systems actually have a great responsibility when creating the infrastructure.” At the end of the panel, an NFT produced by Birol Bayram, Simay Bahçıvan and Kerim Safa was presented to the participants to remember the day.

How many times will we have to talk about climate crisis?

The still unsolved problem of our age, the climate crisis, was among the topics discussed at Sonar+D. We have observed the collective effort towards the climate crisis, which is the most important issue that concerns all humanity, in this medium. Climate activists Mustafa Özer, Alper Güven and Duru Barbak, journalist Merve Kara Kaşka, musician and psychologist Banu Kanıbelli, and one of the first fashion bloggers in Turkey, Nil Ertürk, discussed the climate problem from many perspectives. Ertürk, the founder of the Local Movement, said, “In Turkey, craftsmanship is an existing culture. Designers who remind them of these are lost among the big companies.” In her words, she stated the role of fashion in the climate problem.

Banu Kanıbelli evaluated the climate crisis from a different perspective and emphasized that we are going through a transformation. He conveyed that with this transformation, we are in a state of flexibility, adaptation and resilience emotionally and holistically, while we are in a transformation with our practices as individuals. She underlined that we are in this psychological transformation not only with the actions we take, but also with our whole perception in the existential sense.

The panel focused on what we should do as sectors and individuals regarding the climate crisis as a period.

Metaverse and Gaming 

Although we have heard more recently about the topics in the Metaverse and Gaming panel, which take place around different ecole, it was discussed as a very broad concept with the spread of computers in the 1990s and science fiction books and movies. The vastness of the concept of Metaverse led us to see successful names from many fields in the panel. Beste Naz Süllü, founder of gencfinans.com, Güven Çatak, Faculty Member of Bahçeşehir University Communication Faculty, writer Kaya Genç, musician Mehmet Ünal, columnist Pelin Dilara Çolak; met with the moderator Tuğçe İçözü.

The participants had the opportunity to listen to other ideas from many fields, as the metaverse is a collection of intertwining worlds. Starting her speech by defining the metaverse, Beste Naz Süllü explained the necessity of talking about Web 3.0 in order to talk about the metaverse. He emphasized that Metaverse is a pioneering field with the support and investments of the private sector, and that the issue should also be addressed from an ethical and philosophical point of view. Continuing to talk on the philosophical issue, Güven Çatak concluded the panel by explaining that the god of the metaverse would be the architects of the meta, and the editors would be actors.

Immersive Cinema

Finally, the development of cinema with new technologies and equipment such as IMAX and 4D and its effects on it were discussed with the experts in the field. Film matchmaker and writer Haktan Kaan İçel, film curator Müge Turan, director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik and writer Gökhan Yücel discussed the effects of technology’s reflection on cinema and the audience in the last panel of the day. Haktan Kaan İçel‘s “Immersive cinema is trying to find a way to attract the audience because people can’t watch movies for a long time anymore. That’s why we’re taking alternatives like 4DX technology.” While summarizing with his words, Gökhan Yücel pointed out that technology can have a positive effect on the audience due to the problem of adapting and responding to many components of our age.

Gökhan Yücel, on the other hand, looked at the issue from a consumer perspective. “As the era changes, the way we consume content also changes. We are in a period where we as individuals react to too many components.” Yucel said, “We are experiencing a problem of alignment along with the focusing problems caused by these changes and the width of the data. Yucel, who thinks that immersive technologies can be useful at this point, also thinks that immersive technologies can distract us from the focus of cinema and main content. Explaining that these technologies should be consumed as an appetizer alongside the main content, Yücel also explained the risk of leaving the frame in which the director wants to keep us in case of excess, and said, “What do we actually consume?” He explained that we need to examine the question.

With Sonar+D panels, which brings art, technology and creativity together with the participants for the sixth time, it is possible to capture the topics of the future and realize this with the most well-known names in the field. See you at Sonar Istanbul 2023 with brand new topics.

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