Pivot, with Shahzia Sikander (2013)

— 3 channel HD animation, 5760×1080 pixels, 24p. 5.1 surround sound, 15:40 min

Pivot opens with Lale Müldür reciting her poem “Waking to Constantinople” and transitions into the young poet Firat Demir’s voice. At the same time, seven luminous spheres comprised of Sikander’s gopi hair motif pulsate and visibly gain momentum. This synchronicity between sound and image is intentional in the animation; it is the result of collaborative research by artist Shahzia Sikander and composer Du Yun. Sikander’s animated drawings and Du Yun’s musical score abstract the visual and aural connotations of roughly ten poems by Efe Murad, Nazim Hikmet, and Ahmet Guntun. Sikander and Du Yun recorded the voices of a wide range of people in Istanbul (old, young, male, female) occupying a variety of professions, including conservatory-trained sopranos, a news anchor, and a sanitary worker, to name a few. The sounds are interwoven so that the viewer cannot always identify a text in its entirety. The music creates tension and rhythm while oscillating between audible texts, operatic sounds, and soprano singing. As the recitations transition into singing and the treatment of music and poetry becomes fluid, the poems can be experienced by all, without a translation. Poetic recitation combines with the mutability of the visual into an immersive experience.

13th Istanbul Biennal