8-bit in Istanbul (concept) /2012

Urban installation concept.

The idea of this urban art project is to connect traditional decorative art with images of contemporary digital culture and to prove the possibility of coexistence of such different arts as Iznik ceramics & video-games (recognized by MOMA as art-objects in 2012) within a single art space.

It might seem that there is nothing in common between ceramics and video games, but, in fact, they both deal with imagery constructed of small particles (tiles or pixels). It seems very perspective to show the possibilities of blending such different ways of human art development as handicraft and digital technologies.

The blank walls of the selected buildings (residential as well as industrial) are laid up with panels showing scenes from the well-known 8-bit video games: Super Mario Bros., PacMan, Tetris, Prince of Persia, etc.

1 pixel = 1 tile

8-bit murals in Istanbul 8-bit murals in Istanbul

Why the tiles?

Because Iznik tiles became one of the distinctive symbols of the Turkish visual art and decorating public spaces with ceramic tiles has been (and remains) a long lasting tradition in Turkish cities.

Why the 8-bit games?

With these games, in fact, began the rapid development of digital pop culture, and they are equally recognizable in every part of the world. They are the visual codes of the globalization, familiar to people of all ages, standings and social positions.

The visual aesthetics of the 8-bit games - minimalistic images composed of clearly visible pixels - is perfect for the objectification with traditional ceramic tiles.

Why Istanbul?

As the city standing at the crossroads of East & West, Istanbul has the centuries-old traditions of compounding and combination of various (often — contradictory) cultural discourses; here the most varied ideas, techniques and genres can (and should!) be mixed;

The duality of Istanbul resembles the duality of the images of this project - what looks like a pixel image from the western video game from the 1980's after the perspective change becomes a wall clad with traditional Turkish ceramics from the 17th century;

Istanbul has a complex, developed and multilevel urban space, not afraid of bright colourful shapes belonging to different cultures and epochs.