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Zeynep AbesMemory Place

Point cloud models: Istiklal street, My mother's dinner table, Turkish airlines flight

My home has felt like a different place every time I visit. I shared a hope like many others who leave their home countries, the hope to bring something of value back. Yet, this dream has become a harder reality, a reality that we fear will never happen. A naive imagination of emotion freed from the fetters of tradition; individual creativity; justice and tolerance; respect for difference. With such a loss of freedom of thought, home now represents the loss of a collective memory of a peculiar city. A site of intense melancholy that I’m afraid to dream a future in.

Some things have remained the same, a memory that repeats itself every time I’ve visited for the past decade. My mom's act of welcoming me home. I enter the house, all kinds of familiar scents surround me. The dinner table is overflowing with food. An ungodly amount of food, that doesn't even go well together. Some eggplant rice from my grandma, creamy pastries from my favorite bakery, red lentil koftes, crispy calamari from our local seafood place, plenty of veggie dishes drenched in olive oil, spinach borek and some tea along with rice pudding and baklava of all kinds. My mom hops around the dinner table, proudly displaying her work. She asks me what I've missed the most, as she tries to squeeze one last kofte on the plate that's overflowing with food. I feel unconcerned for a moment, and home feels the same.

But the saddest thing is when you feel stable, and suddenly you're out of your home again. And that feeling of loss comes rushing back, where the history is censored and our personal memories of Istanbul’s complex individuality fades.

Project Description

An exploration of three moments of memory particular to the fraying certainty of my home. The piece navigates through visualizations of private and public recollections, delving into the Istanbul I once called home, now existing increasingly more as an idea than a place.

Sounds Designer - Devin Embil
Point cloud model of Turkish airlines flight - Adam Cigler
Special thanks to Jennifer Steinkamp, Steve Anderson, Eddo Stern, Noa Kaplan, Emine S. Tonguc & Ayse Torfilli. Your support is immensely appreciated.

Artist Bio

Zeynep is an artist and curator from Istanbul, Turkey. She studied film and interactive media at Emerson College, later getting her start at LACMA’s Art+Tech lab creating AR installations. She then worked at the Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier Exhibitions and is currently an MFA candidate at UCLA’s Design Media Arts program. She primarily works with archived photography, video, and immersive media. Her subjects revolve around identity, history, and loss of memory. She is deeply influenced by Istanbul’s city culture and in pursuit of exploring shifting identities to navigate the struggle and alienation that arise from changing social environments.