VBKÖ – Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs


Failing Matter(s)

Artist Panel on the Agency of Failure

12. June 2022, 15:00–16.30 (Central European Summer Time; local time in Austria)
Online: https://bham-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/89318055891?pwd=RndhQ2dPNDVLZ1VkeXlpcFVra1JNQT09

Ülgen Semerci, Deniz Sözen, Burcu Yağcıoğlu

A virtual artist panel with Ülgen Semerci, Deniz Sözen, and Burcu Yağcıoğlu, followed by a live Q&A. By sharing our individual encounters of ‘failure’ in artistic experiments with different materials and mediums such as clay, ceramics, analogue photography or magnets and motors, we will critically explore the agency of failure within process-based art practices which involve hands-on-engagement and experiments with matter. What possibilities may ‘failing matter’ offer to shift our anthropocentric consciousness and in which way could embracing failure become an artistic strategy of resistance in our troubled times of turbo-capitalism?

ÜLGEN SEMERCI will present a series of images which form a cyclical narrative. In the series she brings into play various accidental occurrences being adopted into decisions, informing the latter. Images obtained from various sources come together via repetition, imitation and manipulation threading them into an open-ended narrative. In the series a photograph taken with a camera from the 80’s which had damaged the film inside of it is juxtaposed with a photograph that is finger painted on. A digital design for a rug is compared to the photograph of the finished piece, questioning instances of failing in visual communication. In her presentation Semerci will reflect on how her artistic practice has been altered by what was initially perceived as failure of materials and the relevance of time and process, exploring notions of agency, damage and formation.

DENIZ SÖZEN is going to reflect on the agency of failure by tracing how her artistic research suddenly changed its direction through her hands-on engagement with ceramics. Particular focus of her talk will be how unsuccessful experiments of glazing Turkish ceramics with English glaze led to a major shift in her thinking, making her aware of the agency of and our interconnectedness with matter or what she would call “the secret of the earth”: the knowledge about the vital force of matter and the complex web of relations in ecological assemblages.

Experimentation with various materials and production techniques is a key element for BURCU YAGCIOGLU’S artistic process. She experiments with magnets, servo motors, fermentation, bismuth crystals, origami etc. These mediums mostly stay as experiments and find ways of existence within her actual work in indirect ways; as images or footage, and sometimes in the form of workshops. Her engagement with all these materials is informed by the internet; through tutorials, forums and ‘how-to’ texts by both hobbyists and professionals. This particular agent, the internet, defines her relationship with most of the materials she works with. Therefore, for ‘Failing Matter(s)’ she will elaborate on the internet itself as her medium and how failure to obtain the correct information affected her practice in unexpected ways. In her talk she will map her journey and encounters with various online societies and experimentation with curious mediums. 

The presentation will include a video screening documenting Burcu’s experiments with magnetic ink, paper and magnets. The audience will be invited to reflect on the notion of material agency and the loss of control through the magnetic ink’s unpredictable behaviour.

Failing matter(s)


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