SINAN BÖKESOY “THE WALL”: A SOUND INSTALLATION as a part of VIENNA ART WEEK

NILÜFERŞAŞMAZER ow can one describe a gallery space where there is no work in sight and the spectator only interacts with the sound coming out of a pair of headphones?In the foreword of Brian O’Doherty’s famous book “Inside the White Cube”, Thomas McEvilley states the following regarding the galleries: “This specially segregated space is a kind of non-space, ultra-space, or ideal space where the surrounding matrix of space-time is symbolically annulled.” In this way, purified from all kind of signs regarding location and time, the space with four white walls carrying the works, only hosts the world established by the artist. So which worlds does a literally ‘empty’ space open to? Artworks, which we are asked to look at and receive from a single, and even mostly from the fore front; influence the way we experience them through their masses, surfaces, corners, roundness, depths and all other qualities visible to the eye. In this sense, most spectators’ experiences are not at all distant to each other, since it is difficult to go beyond visual descriptions, especially in non-abstract works.But experiencing an artwork that we cannot look at from a certain distance and does not cover a physical extent, would be totally unique in this case. Sinan Bökesoy’s exhibition “THEWALL: A Wall Inst allat ion” opens exactly such a field of experience. The installation above all, requires the interactive participation of the spectator or ‘the recipient’ in this case: The recipient takes a step to the promised experience by using the Ipads in the gallery. Inside the gallery, where there are no visual elements other than the signs hinting at the electronic components installed on the walls, the visitor who puts on the headphones and closes his/her eyes is a guest to two different gardens on the ground floor – as the word “Gardens” written underfoot indicates. In the first one, conversations of a crowd consisting of cheerful people merge with sounds of eating and drinking outdoors. A few steps behind this joyous, carefree atmosphere, screams of children running around mix with roars of trucks and chirps of small birds flying around with the lyrics of an Arabic song. Considered together with the opposite wall, these sounds which belong to a migrant camp open up different political, economic and social perspectives. In this respect, the wall metaphor, which gives the exhibition its name, not only indicates the walls that one is exposed to or even imprisoned in, but also everything that we cannot see behind the walls. The wall, an entity that always creates a division in space and separates one thing from the other, goes beyond being an architectural element here and brings forth all the load it carries. From the acts of dividing, concealing, hiding, protecting, controlling or from the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall to the firewalls against virtual viruses , the ‘wall’ becomes the symbol of a series of dualities: The strong-the weak, the attacker-the protected, the prisoner-the imprisoned... The walls that constitute the gallery space and contain the exhibition attain an additional function with Bökesoy’s works, which is to embody natural acoustics that is imitated. This work based on the concept of augment e d sonic reality, which Sinan Bökesoy tries to develop in mobile platforms for the last two years, invite the visitors to create their own adventures with the route they draw and through unique images they create in their minds with reference to the contrasts such as time-space, abstract-concrete, solid-volatile. “THE WALL” dissolves the perception of being ‘now, here’ through contrary universes that it constructs solely with sounds in an art space, a gallery, typically focused on visual, retinal experience. And in spite of the absence of any visual element surrounding the visitor in physical space, micro design sounds with augmented reality embrace the spectator and create a mental immersion. This empty place where the time and space are unknown to the visitor at first, seems quite full wit the power of the connotations evoked by the sounds that change as he/ she moves