November 22, 2017

Refik Anadol
Çatalhöyük Research Project Archive

Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED)

Refik Anadol, Çatalhöyük Research Project Archive, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.


Refik Anadol re-interprets the excavation history of Çatalhöyük with a media installation.
Using machine learning algorithms, artist Refik Anadol developed a media installation by using Çatalhöyük Research Project’s archive of 2.8 million data records. Commissioned as part of the exhibition The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük, this poetic representation of an archaeological archive can be experienced as of November 14, 2017 at ANAMED in Istanbul.

Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) presents the artist Refik Anadol’s media installation, which reinterpreted the entirety of the excavation archive of the Neolithic site Çatalhöyük, in Konya, Turkey. Anadol has visually collated 2.8 million data records of 250,000 finds discovered throughout the 25 years of scientific research conducted by the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Over 1000 relational database tables have been translated into a poetic visual experience.

The archive is a rich digital resource that has been organized by teams of specialists. It consists of millions of pieces of interconnected data including tabular records, diaries, images, and technical reports. The records belong to units, spaces, features, and buildings discovered during the archaeological excavations at the UNESCO World Heritage List site of Çatalhöyük. By employing machine learning algorithms to sort relations among these records, Anadol transforms this knowledge into an immersive media installation that transcends research, archaeology, art, and technology. In an archaeological context, this is the first instance that a data source of such magnitude is being used in an artistic and aesthetic framework.

Anadol’s installation, a search for multidimensional data interaction, has been made possible by the technological sponsorship of Arçelik and implemented by PATTU Architecture. The work will be on display as part of The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük exhibition at ANAMED in Istanbul, from November 14, 2017 to January 14, 2018.

The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük exhibition
The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük is developed to celebrate the 25th excavation season of the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Known for its fascinating cutting-edge archaeological research methods and laboratory collaborations, Çatalhöyük is presented through experiment-based display features including 3D prints of finds, laser-scanned overviews of excavation areas, and immersive Virtual Reality (VR) opportunities that bring the 9000-year-old Çatalhöyük settlement back to life. The exhibition was developed under the supervision of Ian Hodder, curated by Duygu Tarkan, designed by PATTU Architecture, and coordinated by Şeyda Çetin with contributions from the Çatalhöyük Research Project researchers. The project was made possible with the support of Yapı Kredi Bank, a major sponsor of the Çatalhöyük excavations since 1997, and the technological sponsorship of Arçelik. The exhibition will remain open at the ANAMED Gallery in Istanbul from June 21, 2017 to January 14, 2018.

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