EMZIRMEK (Almost nothing that really matters)
Maurizio Vicerè – Vice
Curated by Fiona Vilmer
OJ ART SPACE Istanbul
20.10 – 10.11 2017
Emzirmek : 1. Breastfeed. 2. Nurse 3. Suckle.
The thud of techno music escapes from a remote place. The muted sound suggests a party just out of reach. The past has been erased, the memory of nocturnal environments has been removed, giving space to an eternal daylight. Be sure to get « Emzirmek » before entering. Here is the required prelude:
Emzirmek relates to milk, the feeding holy mother. Pure, human and symbolic. The sacred substance takes on a different meaning, acting as a hallucinogen. What if Emzirmek turns out to be the drug of a twisted daydream?
Maurizio Vicère presents an original vision from our contemporary world revealing variations of a new, if not a non-dimension. This show follows a dystopian representation of a world where “Emzirmek” is the enigma. While a utopia is the project and the dream of a perfect world, some characteristic elements would be equally at home in a dystopic nightmare. The idea of utopia contrasts with dystopia, reminding us of their equally fictitious nature. Most famous dystopias are bound to literature such as Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984. Maurizio Vicère has continued with this approach, creating a site specific show inviting its visitors to read a short poem :
Flat is flooding
walls and ceilings ooze milk
Hand clocks run fast
We wait, we sleep
we skip or quit
We were asleep while ghosts spotted us
Someone will come
Almost none that really matters
The intentional apocalyptic tone attempts to erase any previous context. This is to combine an anticipated image with a critical situation. Something is happening to the space…
SACRED. Emzirmek is a pure, immaculate environment, where time and space have vanished. A liquid hangs, disturbing gravitational rules. Is it milk dripping down the wall? If reality becomes obscured, our eyes and mind can only label what can be identified. The artist appears in the video titled « Apnea ». Twelve breathing exercises are reduced each time by five seconds of absence, looping every twenty minutes. The last five seconds allow a blank noise to fill the space while suddenly a strange character emerges. The tension gives room to the audio piece named « Please Hold The Line » which is a collaborative work with Rapheal Leray. The soundscape distorts Skype calls, yet no one is answering. The real world tried to call you…
HUMAN. Emzirmek is ongoing, in a state of flux. The work entitled « How do you do ? How do you do ! » displays an ambiguous exchange. The object of the deal unveils contact lens liquid used interchangeably to produce an improved vision. The liquid connected to “Emzirmek” endlessly communes two versions of the world, a sacred one from the mother and an alternative one relating to drug exchanges. Both appear to have their own magic properties and the potential of ephemeral happiness. Along with the narrative it relates to the novel Brave New World. Throughout Huxley’s seminal work, humans are forced to take pills named Soma which create sensations of happiness with the idea of building more social stability. It also erases the critical gaze of human beings. Here, Emzirmek promises you a holiday from reality and investigates social cohesion. A question remains : What does it mean to be human?
POLITIC. Emzirmek isn’t real. Uncanny hybrid creatures wearing contact lenses are gazing all around. Those are « Protectors ». Their hypnotic expression alludes to the eye of Big Brother which references another dystopian tale, Orwell’s acclaimed novel 1984. « Protectors » ostensibly stand to maintain a better world, yet oppress it. Like recorded video tapes, contact lenses can be exchanged and drowned in a liquid for a better vision of the world. Therefore « Protectors » materialise a proximity dystopia. Emzirmek enables human beings to accept this alternative despotic dimension. « Apnea » may express a protest regarding those enigmatic protectors. Thus eventually « Apnea » is one of the side effects…
Text by Fiona Vilmer
Photographs courtesy of Emin Yu & Aybars Öncü
Curated and text by Fiona Vilmer