Computers, sculptures, dance gather at Odunpazarı Modern Museum
Hatice Utkan Özden
Eskişehir’s Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM) hosts Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s “Ada,” an interactive kinetic sculpture and installation, welcoming the visitors to play with it. The opening of the exhibition and installation was presented with a performance by dancer Li Kehua on Feb. 15.
The aim of the performance, which attracted many art lovers both from Istanbul and the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir is to show how an artwork is able to get in relation with the audience around it.
“Everyone can touch, feel and play with this installation,” said Smigla Bobinski, noting that “Ada” is a huge, free-floating interactive drawing tool that unearths the hidden creative talents of machinery and is controlled by humans. “However, it is producing its own autonomous language in charcoal marks across the white walls, ceilings and floors of the gallery space,” she added.
The artist’s aim is to let the audience to perform with “Ada” to find their own way to deal with this artwork. “And what I also wanted to do is to let other artists, dancers, performers to find what they can do with Ada,” she said.
Once, a musician was interested in Ada and told me that Ada’s noise while it is moving is magnificent, so he recorded the noise.
Creating “Ada” was a process full of inspiration. Smigla-Bobinski was inspired by the first computer programmer in history, countess of Lovelace, Augusta Ada King. She was an English mathematician and writer and she is still known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.
“So, we can say she was the first computer programmer,” said Smigla-Bobinski, noting that she was a pioneer woman. So, the artist played with the name “Ada.” Smigla-Bobinkski said Lovelace was the first to recognize that the potential of computers lay beyond mere calculation
Underlining how important she was, Smigla Bobinski said Ada King set out to create a machine that could paint and write poetry. Similar to Ada Lovelace, the installation ADA extends the possibilities of automation into a realm of creative generation.
The secret and beauty of “Ada” is that it is both controllable and not at the same time. The visitor may control Ada’s trajectory but how it is going to move cannot be calculated in advance. So, it is a free and also controlled installation letting everyone work with it.
Smigla-Bobinski’s “Ada” idea also coincides really well with the OMM’s being and identity. The museum’s urge to gather people is in parallel with Ada. While “Ada” welcomes everyone to play with it, so does the museum with its architecture and audience engagement programs.
Ideas and art
Smigla-Bobinski developed Ada’s idea, gathering many different approaches from history, technology and art. “We artists do not think just one way or in a horizontal line. Ideas move inside our heads and we collect ideas and feelings, and once in a while they crossover.
That’s when I discovered the idea of creating Ada,” she said.
The installation is a part of advancing OMM’s mission to promote projects that combine art, design and technology. The installation will be in motion at the museum through April 12, marking its inaugural appearance in Turkey.
During an opening ceremony to launch the installation, dancer Li Kehua directed Ada’s initial movements in dialogue with her body, creating its first tracks in the museum.
The OMM, designed with a synthesis of traditional Ottoman and Japanese architecture, opened on Sept. 7, 2019 in Eskişehir’s Odunpazarı district, covering about a 4,500-meter-square area.
The museum was designed by the famous Japanese architectural firm Kengo Kuma and Associates. The architectural design of the building draws attention as it consists of a group of square-shaped blocks that are surrounded by laminated-timber beams stacked on top of each other.