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Demolished Quarters Istanbul I, Digital C-Print, 100 x 120 cm, 2017

Digital C-Print, 100 x 120 cm, 2017

With the Demolished Quarters series, the artist develops and applies a methodology of visualizing information on metropolises. This method is based on an information-driven approach that translates shifts, fluctuations, destruction, reconstruction, restoration, and seeming renewal into the cartographic realm. Appropriating and using effectively cartography to make clearly visible and comprehensible what cities have lost, Vardarman highlights the specificity of these demolitions. In other words, he points to the where instead of the how, which helps viewers see and appreciate patterns around the changes in the city.

Demolished Quarters of Istanbul focuses on the neighborhoods Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Şişli, Beyoğlu, Kazlıçeşme, and the historic peninsula. The maps document the pieces of the city that are lost and the shoreline that advanced over time. As the landscape of Istanbul rapidly changes with quick demolitions, new high-rises, large boulevards and avenues and as it expands into the sea with artificial embankments, the artist documents the city that was. The irreverent approach to old architecture is comparable to what happened in other metropolises of the world, including Rome and Paris. The maps highlight these neighborhoods and offer an alternative construction or preservation of the city. The use overlapping maps to show what is there now and what used to be point to the ephemeral nature of urban landscapes, presenting a ghost-like presence. This ghost-like presence makes visible at the same time the manifestations of progress in the city. The temporal collapse of the past and the present is an interpretation and a visualization of the facelift of Istanbul, for better or for worse.