Layer Zero


Layer Zero is material-wise totally unoriginal. It consists of ten digital collages, remixing found images from an unknown Turkish military zone and designs of British textile designer William Morris (1834-96).

I remember the rush of ecstasy when I bought the found images six years ago from a junk dealer in Istanbul. Six years farther away I was from conducting my military service, a constitutional duty for Turkish men. Just as I do not know the faces in these images, I thought, they would not know me for who I am. We would be piled up in the layer zero, divorced from other layers that make us unique individuals. I felt an inner turmoil. So, I digitized them and played with them, to replace the anxiety with the joy of creative play. Hence, I divorced the military images from their context and treated them as raw materials.

Working with found images has its connotations on the cultural assumptions of authorship, ownership, and originality. This is where Morris enters into the equation. Morris was one of the key figures of the Arts & Crafts Movement, which was frontier in getting the works of artistic craftsmanship protected under copyright law in the UK. Morris’ influence in expending the scope of copyright protection made overlooking his authorial intention in his textures a charming idea for me. It is fun to imagine what Morris would think if he saw the designs he made for interior design remixed with unknown Turkish soldiers in the field. Thus, the textures are dislocated both in time and place. However, I should emphasize that these uses do not intend to undermine the quality of the Morris textures. Rather, I chose the textures to create a contrast with the soldier images. The colourful textures, on the one hand, represent the interior, the home, and the familiar. The black and white soldier images, on the other hand, represent the unknown, where one disregarded from his projection of himself and rendered into a yes-man.