The ctrl_alt_del sound-art festival, organized by NOMAD, will take place between September 2007 and April 2008. The festival consists of the Opening Concert, Performance Series (live), Workshops, Panels, Presentations, Open Call, Field Studies / Workshops, Exhibition, Radio Programmes, Publication and CD release. The project’s start is concurrent with the 10th International Istanbul Biennial in September 2007, and will address the theme of “remote orienteering” throughout 8 months.
Apart from its connection with navigational systems, “remote orienteering” also involves positioning oneself within interconnected social and political realities along with issues of control.
The development team consists of Basak Senova (TR), Eran Sachs (DE/IL), Erhan Muratoglu (TR), Emre Erkal (TR), Paul Devens (NL), and Can Karadogan (TR).
ctrl_alt_del was the first sound art festival realized in Turkey, in September 2003. It was a collaboration between NOMAD, Marres, Hedah, and Istanbul Technical University Center for Advanced Musical Studies (MIAM). All through the month of September 2003, several events were realized in two cities, Istanbul and Maastricht: (i) an introductory presentation, a CD launch, performances by two artists from the Netherlands and Turkey in Marres (Maastricht); (ii) a panel and workshop series at Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and MIAM; (iii) a series of performances in Babylon, Istanbul during the opening of the 8th International Istanbul Biennial; (iv) a panel, and performance series at Marres; (v) an exhibition at Marres; (vi) an audio CD which was distributed in Europe through Lowlands, and the international distribution of the CD-ROM was carried out by NOMAD. ctrl_alt_del aimed at introducing Turkey to sound-art via sound-art’s pioneering names, together with panels and workshops. More then 30 people from 16 different countries contributed to the project in 2003.
In 2005, ctrl_alt_del took place in the “positionings” section of the 9th International Istanbul Biennial. The project launched on September 16th, 2005 with an opening night performance at Balans Musichall, then continued on the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, Istanbul Technical University’s MIAM studios, laboratories, library and concert hall till September 22nd. The 2005 programme for the ctrl_alt_del project was developed by Basak Senova, Emre Erkal, Erhan Muratoğlu, Pieter Snapper, and Paul Devens. Can Karadoğan was responsible for the logistics of ITU activities as the project coordinator and Nuşin Odelli was in charge of editing of the printed material. 57 people from 12 countries participated in the project.
A simple paradox is evident in today’s world: on one hand an explosion is witnessed in the possibilities of digital communication and mutual exploration, and on the other hand a more physically and mentally divided cultural geography becomes pervasive while creating lethal fault lines. Navigating this newly fabricated uncertainty becomes more and more difficult: more protocols to be mastered, more threshold conditions to appeal to, and more clever appropriation of resources. Surprisingly, in a world with an over-abundance of technologies of eliminating distance, there are now ever greater distances.
As it has been much theorized, cultural imagination today has now shifted from a static value-based model to a dynamic model. Forms, types and tokens of value are given and taken away in local and temporary conditions, creating a terrain, implying a geographical turn. Furthermore, the inhabitants of this geography have to learn to master the art of navigation.
In this cultural milieu, ctrl_alt_del 2007-2008 is focused on this new model of cultural imagination, with two scopes in mind:
- 1. The art of navigation with its possibilities in unlocking technical, social and cultural imagination
- 2. The notions and realities of distance, a quality that is both diminishing and expanding today
Therefore, the theme of the festival “remote orienteering” denotes this juxtaposition, or a switch in current geographical realities. Orienteering as ‘the art of navigating a given terrain’ using a set of rules and tools might be a starting point for our relationship with technology: more and more, we find ourselves relying on abstract methodologies, instead of our own senses when we want to find our way in the maze of complex technical and social realities. Yet following submission, there occurs a switch over the course of extensive usage. The user finds out short-cuts and survival tactics, which work well only with extremely specific local conditions. And secondly, the notion remote signifies the potential of navigational arts at a given distance. Consequently, “remote orienteering” is about tactics of locality that have to be played out in the distance, a possibly remedy for the current challenge.
In this given geographical model of cultural imagination, the position of sound and hearing is also challenged. As a more physical sense than the predominant sense of vision – a sense which has not been subject to abstraction as vision has been – hearing is facing difficult times in this dynamic geography of valuation. For example, previously simple notions of ‘ethnic’, ‘new’ and ‘technological’ signify different directions depending on local and temporal conditions.
Approaching the puzzle, ctrl_alt_del 2007-2008 takes up the challenge in a city that is itself the seat of one such heterogeneous geography. Istanbul houses many fault lines, some of which will also be remotely orienteered through.
As the raw data for scene analyses which compose our cognitive maps, sound is our furthest reaching capacity into three dimensional surrounding. We have a perceptual map of our existence as sonic beings, always situated in a noisy environment, always in relation to sounding bodies in it, including our very own. It is our basis for orientation. Similarly, sound is the basis for various cartographical technologies – from the sonar-based sensibility of bats and dolphins, to sophisticated forms of acoustic cartography used for ocean studies and even space navigation. Every radar uses sounds – albeit above our own hearing abilities – to create a map, a schematic representation of its section.
In the meantime, in orienteering, each point or "control", is a noticeably mapped feature. In the context of this exhibition which is based on sound, each work will be considered as a mapped point of control that questions “the physical awareness” of any possible control mechanism that is created by and through the audience. The works will not only oscillate through the spatial attributes of the exhibition space, they will also remotely generate connections with other locations.
We expect works to address the issues of “sonic maps”, both simulated or perceptual; orientation through sound and sonic technology, in the physical and cultural domains; representation of sound in 3-D or the division into “zones” (of proximity, of intensity, of danger, of sonic behavior); the use of sound in military technology and in social control mechanisms; private or subversive sonic cartography, maps which subvert the imposed planned spatial narrative; the praxis of “sound-walks”; the ambivalent semantic nature of sound the its potential in creating non-uniform symbolic maps; overlaid maps as multiplication of possibilities – what would simultaneous maps sound like?