in situ

Art, Politics and Other Things in Life — Updates by Hakan Topal

Category: Exhibition

Dark Ocean at Law Warschaw Gallery, November 10 – December 17, 2017

In an Information Age, when knowledge is networked and ubiquitous, how are truths discerned and histories recorded? In an era of ‘alternative facts,’ fast-circulating news, and “fake news,” the ability to understand our world — what constitutes real information to form knowledge and, ultimately, truths — seems daunting.

Rather than extract truths or call out fabrications, this exhibition presents multiple paradigms for information-making: experience and memory, the interview, the courtroom, the library, news media, broadcast, and social media. Together these works describe conditions for the speed and rhetoric of news and social media; our understanding of current events and writing truthful histories; and the manipulation of information, with attention to global conflict, the justice system, and international refugee and humanitarian crises.

Syed Hosain explores unfixed histories, traditions, and constructions, of Middle-East geography and his own Muslim identity through painting. Process and material driven, Hosain builds up rich surfaces on canvas creating a tension between recognition and obliteration. He also works into found surfaces, like old encyclopedias and history books, reworking images with additive and subtractive layers of paint, obscuring factual information and imagery to highlight multiple reading and meaning of text and image. Syed Hosain was born in Pakistan and lives and works in South Minneapolis.

Since moving from Quebec to New York in 1983, Perry Bard‘s work is fueled by observations of her immediate environment and their interpretations in a global context. The space between fact and fiction, the role of technology, the control of media, its proliferation in public space play out in installations and videos that she has presented internationally. Together with collaborator Richard Sullivan, Bard investigates the alliance of two siblings on either side of the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the absurdity and theater of Twitter.

Ilona Gaynor is a designer and filmmaker whose work draws upon the use of image, rhetoric and cinematic tropes, to construct complexly precise plots, schemes, and narrative texts. Using design as a vehicle, the work aims to manipulate, fantasize and drive forward the invisible, draconian reaches of political, economic, and technological progress and their topologies. The various outcomes presented, often take form as dense hypothetical plot constructions and narrative schematics, that maneuver between artifact, artifice, and representation.

For Essma Imady, being Syrian in today’s climate necessitates a politicized experience. She says, “Political art, at its best, asks questions rather than provides answers, it whispers rather then screams.” Imady asserts personal experiences in the face of the collective monolithic experiences of war and religion, using film, environments, and objects, to balance documentation of real, political trauma and layered narratives between her images and objects. Imady currently lives and works in the Twin Cities.

Hakan Topal’s interdisciplinary approach incorporates research that blurs the boundaries between art, technology, and social sciences, in an effort to cross-examine the historical and contemporary particularities of geopolitical contexts. By multiple informative layers subjects or situations, Topal brings visibility to their inherent incongruities and complexities.

Curated by Jehra Patrick

Public Programs

Opening Reception
November 10, 7 – 10 pm
An evening to commemorate the exhibition and meet the artists.
Public Discussion November 10, 8 pm
Artists Hakan Topal and Perry Bard discuss the media’s impact on public understanding.

Sinking Cities Exhibition at Purchase College Center for Community and Culture (PC4)

By Hakan Topal, 2015-17

Purchase College Center for Community and Culture (PC4) presents Sinking Cities, curated by Tal Beery and Steven Lam. This exhibition and event series connects NYC and Yonkers-based artists and community leaders whose projects wrestle with our reliance on vulnerable waterways.

Artists: Mary Mattingly, Eve Mosher, Sarah Cameron Sunde, Hakan Topal, Center for the Urban River, and Photography Expanded with Brooke Singer.

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 15, 2:30-4pm
PC4: Purchase College Center for Community and Culture,
16 Warburton Ave. Yonkers, NY 10701

Drift Events:
Solvents: Saturday, April 15, 4-7:30pm
Edges: Saturday, April 22, 1-4pm

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Urban Discharge: A Manifesto*

By xurban_collective, 2017

* Text written as part of Harbor exhibition on view at Istanbul Modern.
* Turkcesi asagida (Turkish version is below).

Between 2000 to 2012, as xurban_collective we researched the assault on social and spatial justice on a global scale. This onslaught is a total mobilization against the very foundation of democracy — the commons. The looting of common resources, the degradation of the public sphere, the dissolution of social bonds, the corruption of souls, and the dominance of morality over ethics happened mainly in cities. The sad part is that the masses voluntarily participated in this augmented cultural, economic and political attack.

History echoes itself in a non-cyclical way.

We foresaw what was coming. In S.i.e.g.e.c.r.a.f.t (2004), we compared the siege of Istanbul in both real and metaphorical enunciations by contemplating Istanbul’s panorama; the quickly changing city-scape provided various clues about what happened, and what was going to happen next. The city is a witness. It wisely told us a silent story; neoliberalism was indeed a tragedy wrapped up in the excitement of a gold rush. The sad thing is that almost everyone got caught in this extravaganza as Istanbul was marketed as the destination, the emerging market, the up and coming city. Foreign pundits wrote op-eds about how art, culture, politics and the economy were so rosy, and everything indeed smelt like tulips. Now that this era is over, we know how the story unfolded. The city was right.

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Ali Taptik, Aslihan Demirtas, Evren Uzer, & Hakan Topal
Tuesday, February 6th, 1-3PM
The Orozco Room
Alvin Johnson / JM Kaplan Hall #A712
66 West 12th St, New York

Pamela Allara, Wafaa Bilal, Ricardo Dominquez, Activist, Susan Platt, Hakan Topal, & Jenny Marketou (Chair)
February 16th, 3:30–5:00PM
Gibson Suite, 2nd Floor (Media Lounge)
CAA Conference, Hilton Midtown, New York

Joanna Lehan, Hakan Topal
February 21st, Tuesday, 6:30pm The James Gallery,
CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue, First Floor,
New York

Guven Incilioglu & Hakan Topal
March 14th, Tuesday, 6:30PM
Istanbul Modern Cinema


Istanbul Modern
On view January 28 to June 4, 2017
I participated this exhibition with two interconnected past projects “Siegecraft (2004)” and “Sea of Marble (2010)”. For more information:

The Image and Social Change
ICP Museum, New York
On view from January 27, 2017 to May 07, 2017
I participated this exhibition with a commissioned work titled “Untitled (Ocean), 2017”. For more information:

Student Exhibition at Neuberger Museum

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In Defense of the Othered

Social Design 2016 Final Exhibition
Neuberger Museum Café
Opening May 3rd, 4PM – Open until May 10th
** This exhibition is organized as part of the experimental Social Design Class taught by Hakan Topal, Assistant Professor of New Media & Art+Design. Over the course of the semester, students have been actively researching issues of political representation, social justice, and the question of others.
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Exhibition: Unrelated Matters

Unrelated Matters: Fantazistan (2015) & Uniform Cut (2015)
by Hakan Topal

Ongoing Open Studio & Installation: June 23rd – July 9th
Exhibition Opens: July 7th, 2015
Reception: July 9th, 6-8 pm

3331 Arts Chiyoda, #205 — 2nd Floor Gallery
6-11-14 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Japan 101-0021

Unrelated Matters, an ongoing installation by New York-based artist Hakan Topal—an artist-in-residence at 3331 Arts Chiyoda—is composed of two distinct but interlocking projects that deal with everyday realities, speculation, perversity, subversion and representation in digital times.

The first part of the installation, Fantazistan is a playful attempt to engage with Islamist ideology and its phantasmagoric gender narratives and newly invented neoconservative norms. In this case, veiling (hijab), albeit a very contested issue, is extremely sexualized under this conservative order.

Uniform Cut is a project that is part of the ongoing research about coastal communities and global waters. The project revolves around the idea of speculating possible futures with respect to the aftermath of manmade or natural catastrophes. Uniform Cut invites us to rethink nature where it intersects with the built environment.

The installation brings together fictitious and documentary images, web pages, 3D renderings, video and text to create an amalgamated context.

© Hakan Topal, 2018