Artwork removed from Istanbul hotel rooftop by municipality for ‘visual pollution’
ISTANBULOfficials from Istanbul’s Beyoğlu Municipality have forced the owners of a hotel to shut down a rooftop screen playing a video by the artist Işıl Eğrikavuk, citing “visual pollution.”
The work titled “Time to Sing a New Song” was on display at YAMA, a public art installation series screened on top of Istanbul’s Marmara Pera hotel.
“I first learned that there was a complaint about the video for ‘insulting religious views,’ and then learned that the situation was different, that the video was causing ‘visual pollution’ and therefore was shut off,” Eğrikavuk, a former editor and journalist at the Hürriyet Daily News, wrote on her Facebook account.
Eğrikavuk’s work consists of the phrase, “Finish Your Apple, Eve!” and a short animation of a woman’s emoji face turning slowly into an apple. It was scheduled to be on display from sunset to sunrise every day until June 30.
In her post, Eğrikavuk expressed how perplexed she was by the decision, asking why, “In a city where neon lights are dominating the whole public space, is it only one art work that was found problematic?”
She also questioned whether “all artworks containing words by and about women considered to be pollution?”
According to Eğrikavuk’s lawyer, who called the Marmara Pera for an explanation on May 2, Beyoğlu Municipality had first tried to stop the YAMA screenings in February when a video by Pilvi Takala, entitled Worker’s Forum (2015), about an online chat forum used by workers of the “Invisible Boyfriend/Girlfriend” platform, was showing.
The previous project, by Banu Cennetoğlu, was “The List” (2015), which named all 22,342 known migrants, asylum seekers and refugees that had died trying to enter the European Union between 1993 and mid-2015.
“I hope to encourage discourse by bringing this issue to the public domain,” Eğrikavuk said.
“I will continue my struggle. Also, I strongly condemn this censorship carried out by the municipality under suspicious regulations. I call on The Marmara Pera and YAMA to investigate the issue and share it with the public,” she said.