Centipedes

Erdal Inci

Moving Image Art Fair

Erdal İnci is a multi-media artist, photographer and painter. He is primarily known as a GIF artist for an ongoing series in which he films himself performing pedestrian but whimsical actions (skipping, jumping, leaping, dramatically stumbling), often in public spaces, and almost always wearing an anonymizing black hoody. Inci edits the footage not just to loop in the full-circle fashion of any good GIF, but also to “clone” the figure within the frame, creating an endless stream of figures in a lockstep choreography. He is particularly interested in featuring busy urban public spaces - often with sociopolitical significance - because he believes they are amongst the most beautiful expressions of human achievement.

Centipedes represents a departure in Inci’s work, focusing not on pre-planned movements, but on the natural, chance choreographies of life in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey. In this aerial view, pedestrians and birds cross the Square according to their own particular motivations, completely unaware of the camera. The simple act of improvising a path through public space, an unconscious routine of city-dwellers and a subject of study amongst urban planners, comes into focus as each motion is cloned through temporal manipulation to repeat dozens of times. Individuals are multiplied into peculiar “centipedes” and popular paths are revealed as streams of movement. Though their paths sometimes intersect they never collide, appearing both real and surreal against the still or “photographic” background.

“Observing human traffic from above is phenomenal and city squares are perfect places to experience it. I think it is like watching a Bruegel painting in real life. In the summer of 2015 I wanted to shoot Taksim Square, which has a significant role in the history of the Turkish Republic and was scheduled for renovation.

“In my previous works I was used to shooting myself performing precise movements in public spaces, but never tried to play around with randomness. For this piece my first intention was to document the square with its eclectic condition and the random pedestrians passing by – people, but also pigeons and flying plastic bags (which enrich the composition). I only interfere with the timing by superimposing consecutive time layers; everything you see in the frame actually happened. In this way the recording does not lose its documentary value. At the same time, elements which are used most frequently in a traditional painting composition - such as line, texture, pattern and fragmentation - become visible with this simple interference to temporality.”

- Erdal Inci

Inci’s chosen site for filming Centipedes resonates with the political life of Turkey and with the work’s exhibition in Times Square. In fact, Taksim Square is known as the “Turkish Times Square" – an iconic public space, transportation hub, tourist destination and site of annual New Year’s Eve and Pride celebrations and significant political demonstrations and incidents. The planned “Taksim Pedestrianization Project” – including the removal of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the few public green spaces in Istanbul, for the construction of military barracks and a shopping mall – sparked the broad “Occupy Gezi” movement in 2013 that led to the annulment of that plan, among other concessions from the Erdoğan administration. Centipedes documents the Square in 2015, at the center of life and debate in Istanbul.

Erdal İnci (b.1983, lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey) studied Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Hacettepe University, graduating in 2005. In 2012 he began turning his video works into GIFs posted to his blog erdalinci.tumblr.com. His GIF works have been featured in Zeit Online, CNN, Wired, The Creators Project, The Huffington Post, Canal + and Deutsche Welle. In 2016 he co-founded with Çağrı Taşkın and Serkan Kaptan the artist collective Oddviz, which focuses on the use of photogrammetry to create interactive 3D models and videos.

Moving Image Art Fair was conceived to offer a viewing experience with the excitement and vitality of a fair, while allowing moving image-based artworks to be understood and appreciated on their own terms. Moving Image New York 2018 takes place May 3 – 6, 2018 at 591 Park Avenue (between 63rd and 64th streets) in Manhattan. The newly formed Moving Image Curatorial Advisory Committee for New York 2018 is inviting a selection of international commercial galleries and non-profit institutions to present single-channel videos, single-channel projections, video sculptures, immersive media, and other larger video installations.