To do so, Artut trained a computer with the text from Being and Time. The resulting algorithm formulates Heidegger’s words and ontological paradigms into three-sentence-long statements that sound all too similar to art world gibberish.
Variable consists of a wall-hung metal sheet behind which a network of eight small computers are hidden. Through corresponding holes, the computers project eight-letter words, like “movement” or “approval.” These become the artwork’s randomly generated “titles.” Nearby, a small box containing a five-inch LCD display is positioned where a wall label would normally appear. Viewers can press a button to see the title change and the screen animate with an entirely new digital artist statement.
When the work was displayed in a recent group exhibition
at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center in Istanbul, Artut says, “a couple people who were reading the text said ‘we can’t understand anything,’” to which he replied, “I don’t either.”
But Artut enjoys the feeling of trying to understand what the work means. “I would prefer to leave it to the audience to analyze the work instead of giving them an instruction manual,” he says. While his work functions as commentary, then, it also encourages dreaming and interpretation. He would rather “have nonsense statements than provide heavy meanings.”
Fundamentally, though, the work is an opportunity to reflect on the all-too-frequent absurdities of complicated art writing, in which adjectives and clauses resolve into nothing but a maelstrom of confusion. While humorous in Artut’s work, this experience has more serious ramifications in its ability to alienate people from the art world.