İçlek Art Project

The İçlek Art Project is presenting innovative ways of altering reality through physical experiences. It explores the architectural transformation from inanimate to animate entities, or rather, the development of intelligence.

İçlek (içlek – each lack) is a unique Turkish term conceived exclusively for this project. It implies a semi-open structure that permits the environment to flow into its interior. This idea forms one of the fundamental inspirations and architectural principles of evolution.

The İçlek project comprises three stages with the goal of bridging diverse realities by layering them onto one another. Oğuz Emre Bal found his inspiration for the project in the exploration of the relationship between visible and invisible forms, animate and inanimate matters, and their mutual transformative influences.

İçlek empowers the user to go beyond the limitations of their experiences, perceptions, and memories. Bal scrutinizes the relations and interactions between the inner and outer worlds, aiming to reinterpret them through this project. At times, the inside merges with the outside, at other times they diverge, and sometimes they sever ties altogether.

The metaphor of ‘Wormholes’ is employed within the İçlek Project to experience the interplay between the interior and exterior, as well as the connection between urban and cosmic architecture. Wormholes are not just a category in physics but also represent a sculptural form and a method of interacting with contemporary politics.

The first reality encountered in the İçlek Project is our traditional three-dimensional physical world. Since birth, we’ve experienced and learned about reality in this dimension, which is why the project commences within our conventional reality. This approach facilitates comprehension and prepares participants for the transition to other realities. The physical reality comprises 26 distinct 3D-printed sculptures. These pieces appear similar from the outside but differ significantly on the inside. It is possible to open these sculptures to examine their interiors and experience the differences among them.

The second stage of the İçlek Project involves integrating Augmented Reality (AR) into each of these sculptures individually. In our physical world, the techniques and materials we employ offer limited opportunities and possibilities for creating and experiencing transformative spaces, largely due to our current level of knowledge. AR, however, provides the means to extend our vision beyond our physical world. In this part of the project, AR enhances our abilities and aids in unveiling the hidden narratives within these opaque sculptures. With AR, everything becomes transparent and discernable. This level of comprehension eliminates the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds by merging them into a new reality. This new reality, serving as an additional dimension, aids the viewer in transitioning into an uncharted domain. What alters reality and our understanding of it is this newfound dimension.

The third stage of the İçlek Project involves Virtual Reality (VR). In this reality, the viewer entirely transcends the confines of the physical world and discovers new avenues for bodily experiences by eliminating all scale restrictions. The scale entirely changes in this reality, leading to a shift in the roles of the sculpture and the viewer. Now, viewers have the ability to experience the differences between the sculptures on their own by navigating through them using VR. They can now associate their bodily experiences with the art itself. This level of understanding amplifies the art experience with a novel world, leading viewers into a new dimension, akin to Alice descending into the rabbit hole.