For millions of years, the surface of our planet has been continuously altered by natural forces. Phenomena such as volcanoes, earthquakes and meteorites which were once the primary influence on the Earth’s geological history are now ceding to the Anthropos, as humans and their civilizational attributes – agriculture, technology and urbanisation – act to colonise, traumatise and forcefully alter the Earth’s topography in turn.
Since the invention of the camera, photographers, explorers and geographers have competed with each other to record the first images of previously unknown places. Presently, huge quantities of energy, time and resources are utilised in an attempt to colonise the Moon and Mars. Much like those documentary photographs of distant lands and exotic locations, images of new topographies reach us every day from places we have never seen: potentialities for future colonisation. Performing the role of archaeologist, Kızıltunç uses unmanned aerial vehicles and photogrammetry technology to create a digital reconstruction of geologically active sites – volcanic landscapes, mining areas and marble quarries. These new topographies, created by the reversal of these geological spaces in the digital environment, lead to the creation of a non-existent surface image, a pellicle of earth. In doing so, the artist investigates how photography and moving image practice might offer a new cartography for modelling these altered topographies – the traces, fragments and human effects upon the Earth.
Late photography primarily speaks of absence; the subject as not what the photograph contains, but what remains hidden or unseen. While geographically locatable, Volkan’s empty landscapes appear otherworldly, extraterrestrial and molecularised, the ruins and remnants of temporalities that lie outside the photograph’s reality. His practice of digitally manipulating these geological phenomena transgresses, disrupts and inverts foundational conceptions of space and time, enabling the image to uncover histories which have been hidden and suppressed, or previously made invisible or inaccessible to the camera.
Pellicle seeks to extend humanity, beyond the terrestrial to the Moon and Mars. Through the presentation of images which appear to be the true representations of the Earth, this exhibition questions the infallibility of the reality presented by landscape photography. Simultaneously, these topographic images, which are reproductions of a simulated reality created in digital space, hang in real space like non-existent planets in a non-existent universe. Through this, they offer us an impossible viewpoint, an opportunity to look at the surface of the Earth from beneath. Reminding us that time is non-linear, and our perception of space is relative to our geographical locatedness and cultural positioning. We all live on this planet together, but we do not all inhabit the same space.