Refik Anadol re-interprets the excavation of Çatalhöyük with a media installation

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Refik Anadol re-interprets the excavation of Çatalhöyük with a media installation
Refik Anadol, Çatalhöyük Research Project Archive, 2017, Courtesy of the artist.

ISTANBUL.- Using machine learning algorithms, artist Refik Anadol developed a media installation by using Çatalhöyük Research Project’s archive of 2.8 million data records. Commissioned as part of the exhibition “The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük,” this poetic representation of an archaeological archive can be experienced until January 14th 2018 at ANAMED in Istanbul.

Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) presents the artist Refik Anadol’s media installation, which reinterpreted the entirety of the excavation archive of the Neolithic site Çatalhöyük, in Konya, Turkey. Anadol has visually collated 2.8 million data records of 250,000 finds discovered throughout the 25 years of scientific research conducted by the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Over 1000 relational database tables have been translated into a poetic visual experience.

The archive is a rich digital resource that has been organized by teams of specialists. It consists of millions of pieces of interconnected data including tabular records, diaries, images, and technical reports. The records belong to units, spaces, features, and buildings discovered during the archaeological excavations at the UNESCO World Heritage List site of Çatalhöyük. By employing machine learning algorithms to sort relations among these records, Anadol transforms this knowledge into an immersive media installation that transcends research, archaeology, art, and technology. In an archaeological context, this is the first instance that a data source of such magnitude is being used in an artistic and aesthetic framework.

Born in Istanbul in 1985, Refik Anadol is a media artist and a director based in Los Angeles. Anadol works with site-specific public art through different means, including parametric data sculptures and live audio/visual performances with immersive installations; his works particularly explore the space among digital and physical entities by creating a hybrid relationship between architecture and media arts. He holds MFA degrees in Design Media Arts from UCLA, and in Visual Communication Design from Istanbul Bilgi University. Anadol is the recipient of a number of awards, including Microsoft Research's Best Vision Award, German Design Award, UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Award, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Award, SEGD Global Design Award, and Google's Art and Machine Intelligence Artist Residency Award. Recent site-specific audio/visual performances took place at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), International Digital Arts Biennial Montreal, and Ars Electronica Festival (Linz).

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