Ahmet Rustem Ekici continues his series in which he analyzes the relationships related to body and architecture. Ahmet Rustem, who led his audience to a new space experience with “Sauna” after the “Hammam” series, which is a 2019 augmented reality exhibition, has created an online experience that lasts approximately 12 minutes about to the relationship between queer culture and sauna.
Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Ateş Alpar, BeraberCo- Cihan Bacak, İsmet Köroğlu, Berkin Gülten, Chorus Of Body, Ece Cangüden, Fırat Uran, Hakan Sorar, Hossein Edalatkhah, Mert Çağıl Türkay, Muhittincan, Numan Okutan, Selin Göksel, Şafak Şule Kemancı accompany İlker Cihan Biner’s exhibition text on the Sauna walls.
The first phase of the sauna series, which will be exhibited in 2 stages, will be exhibited online. The exhibition, consisting of 21 different areas and also experienced as 360-aspect artificial reality, will be simultaneously published on Art50net and Aredeko sites on February 25, 2021.
Ahmet Rustem’s artificial sauna has works of 15 artists presented on the walls, such as artworks, murals paintings, amendments seen on the walls of a gay sauna that actually exists. The exhibition, which analyzes the architecture of the sauna and its relationship sites, is toured with a guiding sound. Ahmet Rustem, who set the exhibition by looking at dozens of different saunas he experienced, bases on the objects of desire of space fiction and gay sauna websites in the Sauna series that he has rebuilt artificially.
The sauna exhibition, experienced with computers, phones, tablets and VR glasses, consists of sections such as Entrance, Dressing room, Wet Areas, Sauna, Steam Room, Dark Rooms.
Click to enter the exhibition
SAUNA AS A TECHNO-QUEER PLACE
İlker Cihan Biner
“In my secret garden, I’m looking for the perfect flower”
Going away, leaving and escaping does not actually supposed to mean giving up from this world. It does not correspond to mean in quest of a shelter as well.
Sometimes want to get away from everything that makes you rooted, isolated and immobilized without a backward glance. Although this situation is not facile, it also contains a lot of troubles.
The question of ” Where will I go?” is sorrowful. But as the heteronormative shells surround your body intensify, and suddenly it becomes inevitable to escape from the dark pit called patriarchal society. Intension of sexual desires and desire to touch others begin to fray out the shell.
Escaping opens doors. It impowers your breath. However, the way is long, struggle is multi-layered. Where and how to escape is vital.
Some saunas hide in various places of city can be called escaping locations. These locations where bodies are coalesced into another and physical contacts are intensified turn into spaces which go beyond binary gender domination, rooting and becoming immobilized breakable.
The fact that Ahmet Rüstem Ekici continued with the Sauna after Hammam exhibition points to the possibility that these places can build queer worlds.
The concept of mystery shine out in the space that the artist has digitally created. But this concept does not always mean blurry, vision-based, exotic forms.
There are many sections such as Locker Room, Steam Room, Wet areas in the digital space. The concept of mystery highlights integrity/collectivity. In this respect, Sauna is an interaction location. Contact in a dark room, sexual desires that appear on wet surfaces? Body fancies in the steam room make the experience of many queers visible.
This digital work by Ahmet Rüstem Ekici has another meaning.
When you physically enter a Sauna, you can touch the walls, smell the air of atmosphere or abandon yourself to many more experiences.
Unfortunately, there is no such feasibility in digital platform. Then why does the artist engage in this fiction?
The Sauna exhibition meets at the intersection of what is material and what is not. So, in a sense, we have the opportunity to fully examine and analyze this digital space, while at the same time witnessing queer sexual experiences. As a matter of fact, the artist creates a new form of memory by recording the traces of many sexual practices that have been ignored, ejected, tried to be suppressed in this space. The field, with paintings/drawings and photographs from eight different artists on the walls, marks a completely fluctuating, non-linear art democracy. This democratic form opens the door to the emergence of Sauna work in the line of queer being a concept that sheers away and going beyond the ordinary concept… Along with this method developed by the artist, we can always talk about crossing the border for places that open the door to Lgbtiq+ individuals that do not consist only of sexual experiences of cis-gays. In this way, Ahmet Rustem Ekici’s effort to stay away from representation while creating a place of memory shows a struggle, but carries the power to be inclusive.
Finally, after hammam exhibition, The Artist’s visual storytelling continues with the Sauna. Now let’s end with a poem by Lale Müldür about the impact of these works;
“Oh I’m going to somewhere I don’t know
Somewhere you never know
Am I going there willingly?
You are tracing me or not?
My makeup is flying out of my eyes
A strong wind blows
My dresses are flying
The snow begins to falling
Oh, I’m going to somewhere I don’t know
Somewhere you never know.”
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About Ahmet Rüstem Ekici
Born in Adana in 1983, Ahmet Rüstem Ekici graduated from Bilkent University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design in 2008. He worked as an art director in television set, studio and stage design for ten years. Ekici, who also received an Art Writing certificate from Node Center Berlin in 2015, writes art and exhibition articles on various magazines and social media platforms as well as the blog he founded. The artist gives lectures named “Space Design for Camera” and “Illusion in Spaces” at MEF University Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.
Selected by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and ZERO1 to the San Francisco American Arts Incubator Amplify 2019 program, the artist continues his work with 3D drawings, digital new media programs and spatial installations and adds dimension to her works with the potentials of augmented reality.
Utilizing photography, digital drawing, digital collage, ceramics, 3D Print and ready-made objects, the artist’s works, which deal with the human body and social codes, are shaped around concepts such as gender, belonging, reproduction and existence. He questions the parallels of the body’s relationship with architecture. His site-specific installations are fed by films, events, verbal expressions, and individual experiences that take place in our social memory. While handling the subjects, he uses ready-made objects to reveal his potential with the concept he is processing.
The works of the artist, who also produces AR and VR works, have been exhibited in museums and organizations such as CADAF Online, Thesseloniki Queer Arts Festival, Museari Queer Arts Museum, XX Art Flanerie with Artivive, Kyrgyzstan National Museum of Fine Arts. Turkey’s first solo exhibition with augmented reality, Hamam, exhibited in Galeri Bu Galata.
Feeding on archeology and patterns, the artist continues to work on augmented reality, virtual and mixed reality.