The Unspectacular

 

Lora Sarıaslan

 

A photographer by training, Volkan Kızıltunç in The Unspectacular addresses the two dimensional boundary of photography and creates a link between still and the moving image. The artist chose individuals, who had been living in the city renewal project areas of Turkey in Istanbul, Nevşehir, and Trabzon. They either had lost their houses, or were waiting for the demolition to take place in locations where the real differences occur and are visible. He asked his subjects to pose in order to take their photographs, however, the trick laid in the fact that the artist did not only take their photographs; he gave them a truly long exposure by means of video. Reminiscent of the nascent times of photography where the subject had to be still for a long period due to the exposure time, these contemporary figures remain still with only very minimalistic gestures that seem to break that moment. The subjects of his silent video present us not only with documentation of this ephemeral moment during times of transformation, but also Kızıltunç offers us a moment of observation and contemplation.

 

There are a number of contrasts that Kızıltunç poetically weaves together, starting from the silence that fills the air in an atmosphere occupied with anger, anticipation, destruction, and the unknown. His video becomes a silent critical medium that relies on displacement and forced change as a strategy to interrogate place and time through the theme of portraiture. He catches the essence of the subject by demonstrating both the visible and the invisible. His contemplative and compelling approach presents the aesthetic, physical, social, economical, and psychological transformation of not only the subjects, but also their surroundings (from the dog to the trash). Through a seemingly local matter, he pays our attention and documents the global phenomenon of the painful transformation that individuals and environments go through in times of gentrification.