Invisible Cities: Karisman

The interview is conducted as part of the SuperRare April Exhibition: Invisible Cities, curated by an and Elisabeth Johs.

Karisman is a generative artist with a CG background who has been feeding himself with urban culture, glitch art, and futurism. He tries to challenge the mediums to meet analog and cyber, past and future, real and surreal. He believes that every asset around is natural, and already is a muse as well as an instrument to create. In his works, he asks the what-if questions about life and surroundings.

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Deduction creates the illusion of one single truth. It is because time is linear and the mind operates in a singular notion. Perception is trapped in binary oppositions but the reality is multiple faceted. Beyond the social evolution, there lies a metaspace with diverse existences. It is called plureality.
A. Describe the cities in your art

I create anonymous cities. They haven’t existed in the past, nor are they a pure projection of the future; but they are cities that are real and imaginary at the same time. The cities I use are every city that ever existed and like no city ever. 

B. How did you become interested in using cities as the subject in your art? Which aspects of cities fascinate you the most?

I love the cityscapes in particular because they are made up of different buildings that are all unique, but also repetitive at the same time. Cities have fractal properties that I play within my art.

C. What do cities mean for you?

Cities are like shared memories of collective consciousness. The human mind always operates with the ideas of time and space. It is impossible to imagine otherwise, where there is no time and no space. We assign meaning to a series of events with the help of time and space, and make them into memories. I am interested in the idea of infinity and timelessness. It’s very hard to visualize time; therefore with manipulating places and cities in particular; I try to indirectly play with the idea of time.

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Cascade of change, but the matter is same at substance.
D. Which are your favorite cities? How do these cities inspire you and influence your art?

Every artist’s first inspirations are their immediate surroundings. Mine was my hometown Istanbul. Istanbul has a very multicultural history, where it was the capital for many empires throughout history. Therefore Istanbul is very diverse in its architectural and cultural elements; where there are historical monuments near the futuristic skyscrapers. I love the chaos in it. I also like New York and Tokyo; for their skylines with tall skyscrapers; and also for the chaotic element they all share. New York,  Tokyo, and Istanbul are all vivid, dynamic, and living cities; which inspire my design aesthetic. 

E. What are you trying to express through depiction of cities? In portraying cities, what are the (bigger or personal) stories you’re trying to tell?

I aim to provoke discussions about the idea of infinity by manipulating spaces. I deconstruct cities to trigger the questions about time. Cities are residences to people, therefore they are more personal than any other place that I can imagine. Through the depiction of the cities, I also make belonging relations visible. My work doesn’t have a declarative narrative, what I am concerned about is not writing a story, but retelling a condition that happened, is happening, and will happen in the future. By playing around with the concept of timelessness I try to create a feeling of infinity where everything and nothing exists together. 

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The dynamics of ourselves and our spaces are on in the same. It’s a feedback loop, a cycle made virtuous or vicious based on the choices we make together. Heterotopias are marginal spaces for the voiceless to construct identities for themselves.
F. What’s your approach to make art about cities (creative process, technique, art genre, aesthetics etc.)

I do generative video-art using real images and manipulating them. The generative aspect makes it possible for the randomized selections from infinite outcomes. I believe this method I use best serves my content. The art I make can be considered postmodern in its technique and medium. My design esthetic is influenced by deconstructivist architecture, glitch art, and op art.

G. What does your ideal city look like?

My ideal city is a Heterotopia; as not things are better or worse, just different. No judgment can be ideal for everyone. Instead, I dream about a city with many realms.

H. What’s the relationship between nature and cities in your art?

Currently, I’m working on ghost cities that don’t interact much with people or nature. The cities I create are already like alive beings, moving, breathing, and behaving just like other living organisms.

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Distortion. Realization. Adaptation. Rejuvenation.
I. What are the little things you want viewers to notice in your art?

Although we perceive otherwise, time has no beginning or end. Just like my video art, it is looped, time is infinite. My work doesn’t wait for its audience but it plays in a loop sequence. This purposeful choice of medium communicates that my art is not a declarative narrative, but retells a happening; occurring continuously. They are self-existent pieces.

J. What’s your dream art project to do?

I am very much interested in the technological aspects of digital art. I am already mixing and experimenting with different mediums and various techniques. My dream art project is to come up with an innovative digital technique that hasn’t been used in art before to create a metaverse in a physical realm.  

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