The survey for the archaeological excavation of the Void continues to take shape in İstanbul. The time spanned between the two project updates was marked by its intermittent manifestations, followed by various attempts at projecting its excavation.
The most notable of these occasions was the third workshop in Practical Noumenatics, held in İstanbul in August 2014. For this occasion, a number of members belonging to the research consortium ESTAR(SER)-The Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization (now incorporating the Society for Esthetic Realizers)- teamed up with local artists to work on the question of cultural heritage vis-à-vis the question of loss, with a specific focus on 'the Unrepresented'.
At the time of this project's inception, I knew well the physical location of the interred Void. I had a clear understanding that it could be excavated, discovered and denominated. There was a sense of urgency to this effort. However, the procedure involved applying to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism for a survey or excavation permit, and I had missed the deadline by seven months. Luckily, there was a legal loophole: it was also possible to apply for a treasure-seeking permit. The procedure for this was much faster and required no expertise on the part of the project manager.
If a Void was going to surface in Istanbul, a city that already embodied a multitude of permanent or temporary gaps, fissures and erasures, that it would emerge from an island was self-evident to me. Naturally, the Void would be extremely heavy. I could foresee that once excavated, this colossal space holder would then be carried to the mainland to take its place in our local consciousness - on a monumental scale.
What came next however, was completely unexpected. In August 2014, just before the arrival of the workshop participants, the Void disappeared. Escaped perhaps is a better word to use here, since we never expected it to have a physical appearance. In any case, halting the excavation plans, the Void was no longer there… Thus, on the third workshop on Practical Noumenatics, an alternative mode of access was applied through the resurrection of a technique described in a recently disclosed bundle of documents, now known as the Nachtigall Convolute. This technique enabled the possibility of a temporary, collective experience of the Void.
The Void, it turned out, was not a static thing. Its location was always central, yes, but the center kept shifting.
I attempted to draft a few other treasure-seeking permits to realize that perhaps what was meant by centrality referred, not just to a physical location but also -and sometimes synchronously- to a mental space.
To accommodate this unexpected shift in the progress of the work, the field survey is now extended to span academic fields. Now merging the domains of physical and representational space, the survey for the archaeological excavation of the Void continues. The process is documented in video format.
About the artist
Sibel Horada was born in Istanbul in 1980. She lives and works in Istanbul. She received a BA in Visual Arts from Brown University, and a Masters degree in Art and Design from Yildiz Technical University. Horada has exhibited internationally as part of group shows, and held her first solo show at Daire Gallery, Istanbul in 2012.