A living bio-sculpture that holds the memories of a famous building and an unknown tree that have been together for better or for worse long enough to immortalize their bond of friendship. These two lives, two timelines collide with one another and rigidify into one single line merging memories to create a new life; emerging from the dormant scraps of the building, and behaves as an extension of the tree, connecting the two virtually and physically. “In Trace of Time” also makes friends easily with the people around, providing several opportunities to pass the time while waiting for a loved one or the next program!
in trace of time
Locus; a place on which architecture or form can leave its mark, which contains a series of events and at the same time defines an event in its own right.
When it is about AKM (Ataturk Cultural Center), not only a building with cultural functions comes to mind but also a lively and dynamic structure which embodies unique natural and acquired features, hosting several personalities that redefine collective as well as individual memory and becomes the ground for various daily and historical events. What makes AKM so special is what it sees, next to what it shows. Through its testimonies that make the flow of time visible, (Ganiç, 2016) gains the value of an unintentional monument (Riegl, 2015) as it imagines, represents, documents, bears witness (Madran, 2001). Its birth is painful. It leaves a mark and points out another one. It affects the lives of many people even pre-existence. It is full of uncertainties. It comes back from the dead, feeding on urban legends. Even though it is demolished and rebuilt, its place in the memories is perpetual, but not the same for anyone. Even if it has completely transformed its appearance one day, and even if you haven't seen each other for some time, it still greets you with a familiar feeling you know very well.
Although it is not as famous as AKM and Taksim Square, a common European Ash tree, aka Fraxinus Excelsior, is included in the lives of both from a corner. A tree no one named, has lived with Gezi Patisserie for quite a long time, recording everything in its memory in a much more systematic way. Even though it does not let us read its annulus history at this time, the fact that it has its business with it, makes their friendship even more interesting.
Even though we don't know what will happen next to these two, who have been together for better or for worse; we wanted to make this new reunion immortal by granting visibility to this moment of two separate worlds coming together in waves that warp the time. We followed the traces they left behind by intersecting various forms of occurrences and flows to each to their own time.
The piece strengthens the sense of this sculptural tree by becoming an extension of it; colliding two lives with one another, aligning two timelines and rigidify into one single line which also has its own unique life from now on, and becomes a means of expression of their long journey’s untold narrative.
The construction and comprehension of time according to a tree is physical and natural. Annual growth rings, as they are added every year, contain a lot of retrospective information such as the age of the tree, dry or productive seasons, fires, diseases, injuries and temperatures. On the other hand, a building commonly follows artificial and virtual anthropomorphic linear time and needs someone to record on their behalf, otherwise it is lost. This sculpture, as a product of their friendship, makes use of both times in form and substance.
The first seed of the tree matches with the first idea that came up in 1937, forming the zero point. When the growth rings point out 2021, the last opening of AKM, a time warp settles AKM in the circular time flow of the tree with its anthropomorphic linear perception of time; the backward flow clearly marks all three grand openings and reveals other important past, present and future events in this loop with the help of AR, VR systems etc.
At the same time, performing arts and flow of the movements of the body, and their relationship with the relativity of time help determine its form while creating a ground for the new focal point of the city. It engages with the pedestrians of the square not only as a meeting point, it also becomes an interactive info center of AKM with breaking news of the program, as well as amateur musicians and performers benefit as a mini-stage.
How can we subtly immerse ourselves in the lives of the AKM building, the European Ash tree, and the people of Istanbul to unveil their harmonious connection, all while avoiding an overt approach? Perhaps, by narrating an untold tale of a profound friendship
entwined within the cyclical nature of time,
we can authentically convey their bond.
The green service corridor just next to AKM, an inter-void with a potential to form an interface in the subconscious minds of the citizens, lately reclaimed as a public space, identifying the dense pedestrian and vehicle traffic route of Gumussuyu -Taksim Square connection, creating a verge at the end of the square and AKM.
A building, a billboard, a void, sometimes vegetation, or an elderly tree as an extension of nature, of place, of us are collected in the memories of urban life. Trees as living organisms that record their own recollections in annual rings, establish the most important connection to the ground and shape their surroundings vigorously.
the traces of time
Every passing year, the tree forges a bond with its surroundings, journaling every little experience to its diary, a natural note in history, another notch in its memory. The sculpture holds onto the strong image of this special bond, shaping the experiences and history of the place and building around with the comfort of the third singular witnessing their relation.
the time wrap
The sculpture, holding on to the layered time of the image it is pursuing, accepts the center as the zero point, and studies a time mechanism that expands outwards like the inflation of the universe. A time warp freezes the moment as a trace back and memory storage of all the experiences and engraves past, present and future into space.
Critical events and milestones in the history of AKM construe the bends, twists, inclines, descents and ascents of the sculpture in elevations, advising the users to hold onto space and time, as nature does, in this journey of the memory that also takes to the future.
Also natural and artificial light represent both sides and both times. The shadow moves around with the tree as a result of natural light creating dynamic visuals, and transforms the energy it stores during the day into fiber optic lighting with micro spots, sharing the glowing scene of AKM at nights and plunges into darkness losing its shape determined by daylight. One of the reasons for not using a dominant light source is not to disturb the circadian rhythm of the biodiversity provided by the tree.
One of the main characters of the story is the materials that activate the relationship with the users are constructed with recycled steel and concrete of AKM, particularly and simply revived with the ruins of AKM, regenerates itself from a piece of it bundled with bio-concrete aka living concrete, increasing the carbon sequestering ability of the tree by 275 times and send a small greeting to the trees that were there in a previous life.
For the sake of fitting in the ongoing spatial action in this influential position with an effort to hold onto it, this imaginative structure, alongside its spatial experience, becomes a landmark that gives a new impulse to the square’s influx.
Occasionally exposed to the magnetic field of the users in daily activities as a crossroad meeting point, touching and feeding on lives in different aspects conducive to gaining more participative and pluralist identities.
As a prospective good friend to both AKM and the tree, instead of having a context on its own, “in trace of time” gets excited to be a part of an integral community.
in trace of time stands as a landmark where morphing time and collective memories intertwine, evoking a multitude of emotions and multisensory feelings that bridge the past and the future, embodying the essence of an extensive friendship.
The idea born from the raw journal of a tree, the sculpture invites to an allegorical journey where the circles mark previous lives and cycles, shedding light on the political-cultural and innate practices of AKM while questioning the impact and contribution of national and worldwide agendas to its process, reconstructing new experiences to the flow of history and provoke some questions on mind.
A checkered witnessing history of AKM challenges its status to present, future and even past generations, contributing to the historical and cultural awareness as a statue in order to enlighten the future, creating more than enough layering in the collective memory of social life over the years, like an oriental plane tree settles in.
a captivating timeline that connects the lives of a famous building and an unknown tree, as the age lines of the tree's annulus ascend, marking significant events and transforming into an inviting shelter that beckons people to gather before these occasions, welcoming for a small break into their intertwined existence.
an imaginary memory
The project acts as a conjunction at the Taksim Square - AKM intersection in the recollections and habits of the city and its inhabitants, while carrying the traces of AKM, Square, Country and World history, it keeps contact with its surroundings. For this reason, reaching towards the square reveals its existence to the restless activities around it and invites them to its inner nature.
While vigorously connecting the human and the square scale in a dynamic gesture, it takes on various characters with its temperamental nature under different lights and perspectives, creating a very distinct and flux state of being.
Thus, it creates a new expressive communication with those around in every turn, diversifying its existence and creating coincidental situations and relationships, not falling into rote. This not only helps it form its unique identity but also an interest in its “raison d'être” not to mention the urban legends that there is to become by stimulating the subconscious.
a watchful sentinel, meticulously keeping tabs on the ever-changing passage of time, while informing and immersing visitors in the rich tapestry of AKM's history, present programs, and future aspirations; serves as a captivating storyteller, enticing curiosity and sparking dialogue about the dynamic essence of the iconic building and its profound impact on the cultural landscape.
a spatial experience
Therefore, being a sculpture or an art object in an imaginative structure, it creates awareness in one of the heavily used public spaces of the city, allowing the individuals to be alone together with their thoughts; reintroducing the phenomenon of “carpe diem”, which has gradually lost its impact nowadays with all these sensory stimuli, by encouraging users to experience, questioning and reinterpreting themselves, time, scale, texture, material, and light.
As the ultimate purpose of all visual and auditory productions, the multisensory experience in various scales and forms while giving the opportunity to view through the story created by the history of space, the object actually invites anyone from all segments of society, emotions and thoughts without subjecting them to any
particular context. It is a layered object where not only history but also experiences and emotions accumulate, that grow and alter at the end of every day. The one who holds on to its place like a tree, connects, revives, and finds the spirit..
nature of the material
“In Trace of Time” seeks relation to AKM’s history not only in the abstract but also in tangible traces. In this way, it shows the desire to live in harmony with nature, giving more than receiving, both physically and sensory. Devoted to their friendship and as a memento from AKM, embodies parts of it onto its material structure.
Therefore, in the simplest terms, concrete and steel wastes from the demolition of AKM get recycled into the materials of the sculpture. Bio-concrete (living-concrete) from recycled concrete aggregate and moss, also known as an air cleaner, turns the sculpture into a projection of a retrospective trace, at the same time helping AKM’s one and only common ash tree in CO2 emissions. Only using 9m2 of the surface area of the sculpture helps as the power of 275 seedling trees grows in the next decade in just a year of time. Also, the moss spread around will give an effect in time and make the sculpture a seamless part of nature.
in trace of time is an ever-shifting line, transforming with each angle, offering a unique view, evoking diverse feelings, and providing beyond captivating shots for photography, it also grants a sense of discovery, invites contemplation, and ignites imagination as viewers engage with its ever-changing form and find new perspectives in every encounter.