Science is in the air. It features in our daily lives, and even in the art world. The omnipresence of science can act as a timely aphrodisiac to inspire artists about the future. All the while, human nature is steadily being reshaped by technology, preparing to face the upcoming ecological challenges affecting us all. Istanbul, that magical meeting point of East and West, recently served up some fresh viewpoints on the fusion of art and science.

The symbiotic affinity between art and science is complicated. Killing and healing one another, in turns. The two have always coexisted, from Leonardo Da Vinci to NFT collectibles. Yet, a whimsical balance is a rare find. People have become fascinated by the digital arts. Screens and projections are everywhere.

However, science never sleeps. Even though digital technology is further democratised through the Internet and smartphones, the next wave soon comes along. A space-age renaissance emerges, triggered by current ecological disasters and the privatisation of space flight. The speculative arts arise, exploring what human life will be like when we flee from the dying Earth to other celestial terrains.

In 2019, İpek Yeğinsü curated a group exhibition called Intergalactic. Ekin Su Koç, one of the participating artists, used her Moon or Mars series (2019) to delineate a scientific yet humanistic speculation. Ekin says, “I came across a documentary about Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon. It was a very alienating experience. The pictures of the Moon are rendered in grey, without colour. Also, I noticed that the Moon and Mars are the most researched celestial bodies. We are collecting information, trying to interpret and imagine them. There were also lots of illustrations, which are kind of fancy and sometimes unrealistic. I question how human life will be in the future.”

Ekin Su Koç, Conquering Moon or Mars IV, 2021, Acrylic, collage, dried plants and epoxy on canvas, ø 80cm Photo: Ekin Su Koç

Emre Hüner, Unknown Parameter Extro-Record, 2021; exhibition view [ELEKTROÐZOLASYON] Arter, Istanbul; photo: flufoto

Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Kanatlar ve Akcigerler [Wings and Lungs], 2021; photo: Zeynep Fırat

Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, (detail) Kanatlar ve Akcigerler [Wings and Lungs], 2021; photo: Zeynep Fırat