A Site Specific Intervention with exhibition in Sultanahmet/Istanbul in the framework of ABSENT INTERFACES

The artists draw maps of Istanbul to one side of a piece of card board. Then they fold it to a box, write the words YOU ARE HERE on the outside, make two holes underneath, and ask an Istanbul resident to use the box in the streets. By strolling, he invites passersby to stick their head into the box to have a private chat with him. At the end of the talk, he requests the guest to send the box and him to another place in the city. Before he is heading to the indicated direction, he asks the person for an item s/he carries with to collect it.

Preparing the box

The concept of the box, an analogue tool for a private dialogue in public spaces, has been used by Aschwanden & Stamer in Beijing („Head Room“) and Lyon („Instructions For A Foreign City“) to instigate urban communication. The Istanbul adaptation focuses on the practice of personal mapping. The video of the two hour intervention is projected on the flattened box that has become a plain map of the intervener’s encounters, carrying both original remnants, drawn pathways, and moving images of the event itself.

On a map, ‚you are here’ points at the exact location to help the person looking for an address relate his position to the city, since the map functions as an exact model of space. The project YOU ARE HERE yet plays with the notion of simultaneous absence/presence and in/visibility in a ‚mapping space’. Having one’s head in the box renders the person present both in a model and the real space and thus de-localizes the meaning of ‚here’: ‚Here’ also means ‚not here’, yet neither somewhere else. Where is here?

Site Specific Intervention and exhibition in 2008 in Sultanahmet/Istanbul

Concept by Daniel Aschwanden & Peter Stamer