Erdal İnci, Centipedes, 2015, Ultra HD Video, installation view at 'Midnight Moment', Times Square, March 2018. Photo: Erdal İnci
Erdal İnci's HD video 'Centipedes' will be exhibited as part of 'Midnight Moment', a programme running on electronic billboards at Times Square, New York every night, until 31 March.
Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. Presented by the Times Square Advertising Coalition and curated by Times Square Arts since 2012, it has an estimated annual viewership of 2.5 million.
Centipedes represents a departure in Inci’s work, focusing not on pre-planned movements, but on the natural, chance choreographies of life at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey. In an aerial view, pedestrians and birds cross the Square according to their own particular motivations, completely unaware of the camera. The simple act of improvising a path through public space, an unconscious routine of city-dwellers and a subject of study amongst urban planners, comes into focus as each motion is cloned through temporal manipulation to repeat dozens of times. Individuals are multiplied into peculiar “centipedes” and popular paths are revealed as streams of movement. Though their paths sometimes intersect they never collide, appearing both real and surreal against the still or “photographic” background.
Erdal İnci is a multi-media artist, photographer and painter. He is primarily known as a GIF artist for an ongoing series in which he films himself performing pedestrian but whimsical actions (skipping, jumping, leaping, dramatically stumbling), often in public spaces, and almost always wearing an anonymizing black hoody. Inci edits the footage not just to loop in the full-circle fashion of any good GIF, but also to “clone” the figure within the frame, creating an endless stream of figures in a lockstep choreography. He is particularly interested in featuring busy urban public spaces - often with sociopolitical significance - because he believes they are amongst the most beautiful expressions of human achievement.
Erdal İnci, Centipedes, 2015, Ultra HD Video
İnci’s chosen site for filming Centipedes resonates with the political life of Turkey and with the work’s exhibition in Times Square. In fact, Taksim Square is known as the “Turkish Times Square" – an iconic public space, transportation hub, tourist destination and site of annual New Year’s Eve and Pride celebrations and significant political demonstrations and incidents. The planned “Taksim Pedestrianization Project” – including the removal of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the few public green spaces in Istanbul, for the construction of military barracks and a shopping mall – sparked the broad “Occupy Gezi” movement in 2013 that led to the annulment of that plan, among other concessions from the Erdoğan administration. Centipedes documents the Square in 2015, at the center of life and debate in Istanbul.
Erdal İnci (b.1983, lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey) studied Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Hacettepe University, graduating in 2005. In 2012 he began turning his video works into GIFs posted to his blog erdalinci.tumblr.com. His GIF works have been featured in Zeit Online, CNN, Wired, The Creators Project, The Huffington Post, Canal + and Deutsche Welle. In 2016 he co-founded with Çağrı Taşkın and Serkan Kaptan the artist collective Oddviz, which focuses on the use of photogrammetry to create interactive 3D models and videos. He is also represented by Art On Gallery in Istanbul.