To the City

Gordon Stillman

All images by and courtesy the artist.

These images were taken in Istanbul in the Spring of 2013.

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

Dig into the earth and you will find sedimentation that can describe different geological epochs. You may also find remains of life, or society. If you are an archeologist, and you happen upon a midden, you may get very excited. But if you are Person, you may also get lost excavating historical meaning from it. It may be better to stay on the surface, or know it is so far in the past that you can only stay on its surface and not read its past.

But maybe you can create a future present from the midden, but you would probably get lost doing that.

A midden, the midden here, is a heap—a foundation to excavate, reveal, and renew as it weathers, changes and disappears. Or you could think of the present as future ruin, midden.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

Narrative becomes lost and the objects map the way. A new way every time, until they fall into ruin. And then they can be used to create new objects and new possibilities.

Istanbul is a continuous city, layer over layer. A new city on top of a completely different new city. It is construction and destruction. Densely layered strata. The following photographs were taken in lines between monuments.

Monuments whose meaning and importance shifts over time. A city wall that once protected the city, then housed people in makeshift dwellings, and is now a green space and tourist attraction. Statues of Ataturk, the Bosphorous, and Taksim Square are all still relevant to modern Istanbul, but their meaning and use will change over time; it is constantly changing from one city to the next.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.

untitled, 2013, digital photograph

untitled, 2013, Digital photograph.



Gordon Stillman (b. 1984) is an artist living in Philadelphia. He works primarily with photography, video and installation. Stillman received his BA in 2007 from the College of William and Mary, and his MFA in 2014 from the University of Pennsylvania. www.gordonstillman.com