A pioneering personality of conceptual art, Seza Paker mesmerizes the audience with a striking work that pushes the boundaries of time and memory. Masterfully using various narrative styles such as installation, photography, film, sound, collage, and drawing, the artist processes the short-lived sounds into a “memory clock” in her “Future Archive.” We start a long conversation with Paker, who is based in Paris and Istanbul, from her sound installation at Audemars Piguet Boutique Istanbul to the “winter days” of today’s art world.
How did you choose the sound data you used in the composition of “Future Archive”?
From my Instagram account and online surfing. The sounds of prayers my friends shared with me, skating, wind, storm, protesters…
What does it tell the audience when you combine disparate sounds together with no regards to hierarchy?
Instagram. It’s an identical representation of our fast lives. In other words, it’s the equivalent of exchange of information and how we try to fit it to ourselves.
With what do you associate the sounds you make?
I thought it was brought along by our perception to make those sounds into music. This was my focus.
How would you define the “memory clock” used in the description of your work?
Memory searches for a direction. And I turned it into a composition. Music is built on time. This track, the “Future Archive” composition is 15 minutes long. It’s a quarter of an hour. It was also the length of the speech Senator Amy Klobuchar made about Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh on October 1.
Can you talk about the technical details of the work? What kind of a technology you used to bring the sounds together?
We prepared it together with sound engineer Hakan İğsız. We displayed both the content and the technology used as a video installation at the exhibition space.
What would you like to tell about your collaboration with Audemars Piguet?
Audemars Piguet’s art projects were already monitored by the brand’s Turkey ambassador Shelly Ovadia. She told me she wanted me to do this as an artist from Istanbul and asked how we could proceed. I told her about my “Future Archive” project. We presented the project to Audemars Piguet, and they invited me to Le Brassus.
Apart from your work, how are you with sounds?
My life with music started at Istanbul Municipality Conservatory at an early age. I’ve always had classical music. In my adolescent years, in the ‘70s, I met jazz and rock. I love music in all shapes and sizes. My interest in sound was shaped by theater and performance.
Which sounds come to your mind when you close your eyes and think of your childhood?
What a lovely question! The wind, summer, the rustling of cypress leaves, sea, waves, sound of engine, car claxons, sounds of snowballs, street vendors, city noise… To sum up, Istanbul.
Which sounds you hear on an ordinary day?
Opening and closing the refrigerator door, children playing on the street, listening to CDs, rustling leaves, opening and closing a book, the sound of turning on my Apple laptop, the announcements at metro stations in Paris, the jingle of gas tube sellers in Istanbul…
As an artist who uses various types of expression such as installation, photography, film, sound, collage, and drawing, how do you decide on the medium when you’re realizing an idea?
When I focus on the topic I’m working on, I spend some time doing research like a filmmaker or an author. I collect clips from newspapers and magazines, photographs, small patterns I make, and essays. When it starts taking shape, the form I’m going to choose starts revealing itself to me.
We know that you’re based in Paris and Istanbul. What do these cities bring to your life and art?
Istanbul is chaotic, thrilling and dynamic. Paris is a cultural gift.
What are your thoughts about the contemporary art scene in Turkey?
What do you think about the international interest in the artworks of Turkey?
It’s thought-provoking. What I see as the most important thing is not to care for geography in art. Even if it exists. As someone kneaded with art history in his/her education and as someone who lives with the questions of our time, the artist begins working the same way with other artists around the world. Why should there be an outer perspective?
What would you like to say about how art is affected by the oppressive and authoritarian political climate, and the economic pressure our country is in?
It’s the same all across the world. There is a clash of policies and economies. As Félix Guattari said, and Ali Akay gives this example all the time, we’re in the “winter days” (les années d’hiver).