Fake Reality/Sahte Gerçeklik
  • Fake Reality/Sahte Gerçeklik

    Installation with Pedestal and Wedding Cake
    styrofoam, plywood, cake icing
    2010

    Last summer, a very close friend gave me two of his poems that described contemporary Turkish weddings representing two different social classes. Common to both is the wedding cake, a beautiful decorative object requiring a high level of skill to create, but made from Styrofoam. This representational object is totally uneatable except for one small slice of ‘real’ cake inserted on one side for the bride and groom to use as part of a ritualistic performance. As I read and re-read the poems, I decided these wedding ceremonies might be seen as examples of what Guy Debord predicted and described in his 1968 book, The Society of the Spectacle. I began to see this cake as a symbol and example of contemporary “society’s real unreality.” (p. 13)* In fact, after watching section after section of Istanbul being transformed into pseudo-museums through gentrification and recently witnessing the bizarre spectacle staged for the opening ceremony of “2010 Istanbul European Cultural City Project”, I was reminded that, “The spectacle is the acme of ideology, for in its full flower it exposes and manifests the essence of all ideological systems: the impoverishment, enslavement, and negation of real life.” (P. 151)*

    As an art project, I am investigating the making of and adventures of a wedding cake. Prior to the opening on February 25 of the exhibition, “Out of Context”, at Pi Artworks, I will spend two weeks at a pastry shop, Happy Caking, in Anadolu Hisarı, where I will video the creation of a wedding cake that I have commissioned to be made for our exhibition. When the cake is finished, it will be transported to Pi Artworks for exhibition as an art object, a type of pseudo-sculpture on a pedestal. After the exhibition finishes on March 20, the cake will return to Happy Caking and during the summer Istanbul wedding season, I will continue to follow and video the adventures in the life of a cake.

    Just like in the showy weddings, grandiose art events refer to art of the past with remnants of past cultural phenomena appearing and disappearing as contemporary urban inhabitants, more robot than human, move through staged rituals without really experiencing anything, failing to communicate, failing to form relationships. No doubt, without dialogue, without social interaction, without awareness, without community, the spectacle will remain master. Even though, initially I am simply exhibiting an object, by changing its function and removing it from its normal context, I hope to stimulate speculation and further dialogue. In the over-all project, I am investigating social phenomena and emphasizing process and interaction while creating a situation for dialogue, social contact, and exchange by going out into the community to interact with professionals and to investigate a skilled craft.

    *Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, Zone Books, New York, 1995.