“Panoramic Urbanism: Visualizing Urban History in Istanbul”
Wednesday, October 19, 5:15
Populist historical landscapes that iterate locality are counterparts to global capital’s prestige projects, dubbed frequently as mega projects. Turkey’s first nation-themed miniature park Miniaturk, which opened in 2003, can also be seen as demonstrating a turning point in Turkish politics, as the “vernacular politics” of Islamism moved to the centre, into party politics, and sought to build consensus, at a time when Turkey was optimistic about its long-pending membership talks with the European Union. How to interpret, then, the “Panorama 1453 History Museum,” which opened in 2009? The “Museum” features a 360-degree immersive painting of the principle war that led to Constantinople’s fall to Ottoman Turks in 1453. Can war commemoration, which takes the form of a celebration, be the basis of consensus? The conquest of the city is the key narrative in accounts of national greatness that legitimize not only Islamists within Turkey but Turkey as a leader for the Muslim world. Examining these projects, the talk will reflect on the relationship between the visualization of urban history for political purposes, “panoramic planning,” and the broader phenomenological interest in visuality, “panoramic urbanism.”
Ipek Tureli is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Agnes Martin: The Sexuality of Abstraction”
Wednesday, October 5, 5:15
During the 1950s and 60s, Agnes Martin participated in the discourse of minimalism, particularly in circles where the so-called Zen properties of the practice were being actively explored. Her work first gained notoriety during her time spent among a group of queer artists and friends in New York City in the early 1960s. An analysis of Martin’s work through the lens of queer studies might offer nuanced and unique readings of the artist’s abstract work. Having described Martin as an “enlightened hermit,” Professor Katz will examine the artist’s use of Zen philosophy as a strategy for coping with her lesbian subjectivity, a reading that allows her work to function beyond the parameters of traditional minimalist discourse engaging spirituality and sexual agency.
Jonathan Katz is Associate Professor and Director of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University at Buffalo.