Kutlug Ataman A Critical Review

Kutlug Ataman
Paradise and Küba
A Critical Review

I felt that these installations worked well within the course content.
I’ll start by showing giving the Vancouver Art Gallery’s website description of the show.

In his newly commissioned video installation, Kutlug Ataman offers a remarkable portrait of twenty-four southern Californians who describe their encounter with that place they call “paradise.” For the first time, Paradise will be paired with Ataman’s 2004 Carnegie Prize- winning video installation entitled Küba, an equally powerful portrait of another utopian community, this one situated on the outskirts of Istanbul.
Here is the link

In being present to view these video installations, you are free to roam about each room. Located across from one another in separate rooms the shows are separately successfully and together compliment each other greatly. I entered Küba first. Old television sets, furniture and a miscellany of chairs were lined up in the room. On the face of each set the was the face of a person speaking the the camera. Their voices crank out of the tv sets drowning each other out. Each speaking their own story, opinion and life. A sense of a world that is not familiar to myself at least, the aged condition of the furniture and tvs lends to a sense of the old fashioned. This greatly contrasted with the pristine white cube chairs, flat-screens and quiet of the Paradise installation. Complementing the idea of Orange County desirable achievement of what some consider to be perfection.

The two exhibitions present themselves as opposites, new and old. But in reality they are one in the same. They are portraits of people. The tactic in which they are presented not on a simple DVD you can take home and watch, but in a space one can spend hours navigating, viewing as a whole, or sitting to listen to an individual. I find the word interview being questioned in a traditional sense, it is not a series of questions being posed and answers and recorded. Its as though Ataman has found little pieces of each person that in themselves lend to this idea of the public as a whole. The simultaneous existence of these peoples voices in the spaces of the two rooms, I find mirrors society in a way.

What I find unfortunate is that those who do not take the time to listen may find that they are existing as opposites, old/new, sad/happy. However I think they are both equally well rounded with negative/positive aspects of the human condition, existing forever unchanged in a variety of different community landscapes.





Here it is.

 When I was Smaller

vinyl installation

My exploration of the vinyl project began with a location, the children’s play area of Granville Island. Having children and once having been a child myself has me examining such areas. The good times and fun that play parks and water parks encompass. Their ability to remove themselves from the more serious aspects of life, and by doing so connect us with more innocent ideas and thoughts. Such a place provides opportunity for contrast of more serious ideas, a place where the more macabre notions will not simply blend in with the rest of the troubles of the world.

My real challenge was how to best utilize this contrast to highlight an idea that is linked with the notions of the park itself. At first I looked to examine parenting and the Supernanny trend in over-parenting, however I found it extremely difficult to visually convey this message utilizing both imagery/text and location to their fullest potential. After play with ideas such as cookie cutter kids I moved on.  I went back to thinking about my location which led me to the play park itself and in particular the slides. They were symbols of youth and excitement however in this age of hyper concern for our children and reports of toxins in baby bottles I thought do we even know what these things are made of. It appears to be a mix of fiberglass and paint. Not exactly organic materials. I utilized the style of an ingredients list we commonly check before purchasing food and applied it to the surface questioning the materials used, our exposure to them, as well as what our level of concern is and should be and how we are probably less knowledgeable about our world and what we are exposed to than we like to believe.

here is the mock up




 here is the text



the installation close up & wide




Just a moment of frustration & rage. I was watching the news this morning and a commercial concerning Parkinson’s  disease aired. It reminded me of a few weeks ago when my boyfriend and I were at a coffee shop waiting for our drinks, I had been observing and older friendly looking guy who had some fairly strong signs of what appeared to be Parkinson’s disease navigating his way about the coffee shop.  I wasn’t paying a lot of attention but I had assumed he had ordered a coffee. Our coffees appeared and he had been there for a long time,  and was trying to get the barista’s attention. She was out and out ignoring him. It was awful. She acted as though she was scared of him completely and obviously avoiding eye contact. He was trying to get her attention to see if she would call him a cab, if I had not rudely pointed out that he needed her attention she would have went on ignoring him indefinitely. This wasn’t a man shouting obscenities, or being improper in any way he was simply asking for help. People are terrible sometimes.

photo lies

I read a comment by Kevin

For me, the weirdest feeling is seeing yourself in film from the past and having the realization that it is the film representation that now forms your memeory of the event. Same goes for photos. Creeps me out every time.

Yeah, it may be a stretch from what you’re saying but that’s just where my mind goes.”

It made me think of a project that I had done. I had had this notion a lot. This notion of our memories not being of the real event but some version of the event that we had concocted through stories and images from the past.

 The project was for my Photo class last semester. We were supposed to make a 3d representation of a photograph. Not necessarily the image in the photography but use photos to create the 3 dimensional. 

I created out of super sculpty, glue, and photos downloaded from the web and printed on matte paper this “brain”.  Putting it bluntly that our memories are in some instances products of the photographs of the moments in our life.





kicking it open

Adoption seems to be a new hot topic these days, I suppose a new open minded society has allowed the subject to emerge from the shadows and lies of the past. Juno getting great reviews (including my own) shows one view of how an adoption might take place, and the amazing thing is that shame and lies and secrets aren’t part of it, which is a far cry of most of the stories from my parents and grandparents. One thing Juno didn’t really address though was the idea of open adoption because Juno herself claims she’d prefer to kick it old testament.  In my case it didn’t quite work out this way.


Ok to start from the beginning no one I know grows up dreaming of placing their child in an open adoption. No one grows up thinking one day I will go through a pregnancy then  carefully choose wonderful people to raise this child as their own. Some people in fact do not grow up dreaming of having children at all.  This was sort of my situation, avoiding the dirty details, I was twenty, and had no clue what it meant to have a child and at 5 months pregnant I had to figure it out fast.  I did know still what it meant to be a kid, and have parents, in my case particularly loving ones. I knew that it was important to have a good childhood, to have resources to provide that. And as Juno fairly adequately stated, I was ill-equipped. 


My search for the perfect parents was not however in the Penny Saver but through a google search for adoption agencies. I chose one and was launched into this notion of open adoption, presented to me originally  as the adoptive parents sending once or twice a year letters and pictures of the child as they grow. I during my pregnancy decided that this little baby was my best friend, the single most important person in my life. Of course I said yes.


My yes however seems to have led to a new world that I didn’t know could ever exist. I placed my little boy in adoption and instead of losing him I gained a family of four. His parents and his brother are amazing. They have been nothing but that from day one. A few months after they took him home, they asked if we could all visit, then again a few months later, and again, this all eventually led to last Sunday when they all came over for dinner, and last summer when they all went fishing with my dad, and to this coming summer when they will all attend my wedding in which both boys will be included in the wedding party.


I spoke at a few adoption information sessions with my little guys adoptive parents, mostly his mom talked, I said a few words, but just a few weeks ago I spoke at an adoption education session without them and on a panel of other birth moms. One girl had just placed in November, one 15 years ago and myself it’s been 4 1/2.  We all had different stories, different relationships, different personalities and attitudes towards adoption and the openness that we cherish so much. We sat their and relayed our stories, to a room full of couples hoping for a child of their own. I think that is the key idea, that the child of their own is threatened by the involvement of a birth mom, that the child could in someway become less their own. Or perhaps its a fear of the drama that could arise from the involvement of birth parents. And truly I would be scared myself, personalities alone can clash in the best situations but personalities and emotions colliding in uncharted territories that is a daunting concept.But the new outlook I took from this education seminar that there is a chance because each of the birth moms who spoke, had an amazing and unique experience and relationship with the adoptive families and we all seemed to have found our own matches that allow themselves to function. And perhaps it is possible for everyone if careful can find their own “match”.Either way I consider myself lucky and I really loved Juno.




just email it

Funny, laying in bed the other morning my step daughter (four) came bouncing in, she was just finished getting dressed. Her and her dad were headed to the island later that day so she could return home. She was laying beside me grilling me on what I was doing later that day, I told her I was working and then taking Lucy to the beach. She asked if she could come and I told her no because it was the day she was supposed to return home. She then informed me her mom bought a new car since she had been at our house and she really wanted to see it. Then laying back pondering for a few moments she turns to me and says “maybe you can just get my mom to email you a picture of the car, then I don’t have to go” Funny its been a long time since I was four and I had never even seen a computer.And then when I finally did, it ran in dos, had no internet and was pretty like this.My First Mac