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on Atlas

Introductory Speech of Atlas of Some Kinetic Constellations in a Forest of Signs
Lines of/for/among/around Architecture Series
Panel & Pop-Up Exhibition,
organized by Bilge Bal, Bahar Avanoğlu, Gizem Albayrak
hosted by Versus Art Project
May 2019 

I will only make a brief introduction to atlas of drawings: some kinetic constellations in a forest of signs. My introductory will include a few fragments, connotations just to awaken us; a few examples which encourge us to challenge ourselves and dare to draw by pushing the boundries.

If we start with the term of atlas, as we all know, Atlas is a mytologic figure who carries the Ptomelaic universe as well as a volume which claims that it is a group of perfect translations of a pyhsical sphere, the Earth on papers.  It represents the seas, the oceans, mountains and lands, physical layers. It seems like a scientific operation with geometry, calculations, dots, lines, exact measurements, degrees, texts. It is a kind of abstraction, transformation between two worlds, two languages. It is wrong or right, generally, when we start talking about drawing, particularly architectural drawing, we start talking about an endemic knowledge which is specific to the discipline,  with rules, norms, authorities, hierarchies and even objectivity, … and its hegemony which excludes subjectivity, imperfection, other possibilities, coincidence and mostly process itself. As we know today, it is a hardly controversial statement. It belongs a final, finish, even perfect  product. However, actually, it is a medium to start a construction which is imaginary yet. As robin evans says.

But is that all?  In the architectural drawing studio, we think that the load that Atlas carries is more. It includes cosmology, life, past, memories, dreams, imaginations, desires, utopias, alchemy, day and night … more and more…

It is a forest  of signs which also makes us excited, force us to reread and imagine the signs, go on numerous journeys, rewrite and tell stories.  It is a ludic and vivid geography indeed. Sait Faik reminds us it in his story of “ A Dot on the Map”. He narrates how he goes on a imaginary journey and starts dreaming, writing stories when he looks at the map on the wall of his room and examines it deeply. He also reminds us that the journey is a personal experience and it depends on the travelers’, dreamers’ own paths. Path actually depend on experience instead of a pre-determined route. It is more instant, intuitive, ambiguous, subjective and adventurous. Maybe unique, not similar to the others’…

As an example, a medival map which was derived from an experiences of walking could be given.  Like Ebstorf or Hereford world maps in contrast to scientific maps. It sounds like a lost in a forest.  Umberto Eco signifies that there are two ways to go out from a forest. The first is to find the short-cut and go-out very fast. The second is to start enjoying, spend much time in the forest, turn it into a play, wonder around, and consider which path is right, the other is not by experiencing them one by one.  During the drawing studio process, we prefered the second. We called our attempt to draw as a journey in which each line or sign takes for a walk according to personal journey. when we start to talking about the atlas of drawings, we tell about the paths.

Atlas of drawings is a narrative of a forest of drawing. Foundations, inconsistencies, incompletenesses, dreams, disorientations, re-orientations, successful experiments or failures, coincidences, subjectivities, objectivities, excitements and disappointments, discussions and objections, oppositions, collaborations are all also included inside it.

There is a/ (an etymological) difference between line and draw.

Atlas, as a volume,  reminds us a constellation too. It calls to look away from a distance to see/imagine/re-read the whole. When we look at the sky at night, we see bright, shinny points in the dark. They are stars which have spesific positions in the sky, but sometimes they fall and reposition. Each time the total view of the sky changes. If we want to construct a relationship between visible stars, we start to imagine some creatures, draw invisible lines between them on the celestial sphere. Then, on account of these imaginary connections, assembles,  we form  an imaginary outline or a pattern beloging to a group of stars and give a name to them. That is a constellation.

Atlas of drawings is a constellation which adjust playful encounters between the real and the phantom, the visible and the invisible. And so, we do not declare the atlas of drawing as the right, only or exact way of doing it. We just tried and make our trials visible. They are more speculations on drawing constructions to think on again, to open up a discussion on the capacity of the drawing as an active medium, show some possibilities and potentials of a line.

Lastly, one of our motavition to dare to draw was that to break down, manipulate or strive with a tradition, we need to know it well first.  Quickly, two more examples just to keep in mind for further discussions. Warburg atlas, is the work of a german historian, Aby Warburg. It is a picture atlas of 79 panels consisting of art reproductions, advertisements, maps, personal snapshots and newspaper clippings. It is a history of art without text tracing the connections between images from the most diverse sites and ages. Juxtapositions of ideas creating meaning. An image is worth a thousand words in the atlas. The other was the Duchamps’s famous installation of box in a suitcase. Each drawing in the atlas are not the same, they are unique. not repeating … They do not literally represent something in reality, but they construct a drawing…