‘Progress’, or the advancement of human history, encompasses a number ofruinous and destructive acts. Processes of construction and wreckage are closely li
nked. The ideologies, instruments and technologies of human advancement are intertwined with the reality of natural resource exhaustion, ecological collapse, war, displacement and the precarity of financial and environmental systems. The works of Alper Aydın respond to human interactions with nature – either through subtle interventions with natural settings or more direct engagements with human acts of construction and urban development. Aydın makes temporary interventions within environmental sites to point out the union of ecological collapse, resource depletion and human building. For a past project, he used water-based paint to inscribe upon stones on the coast of the black seathese stones’ exact weight: natural resource turned to rational weighing, and abstraction standing forexploitation and commodification. For the Istanbul Biennial, Aydın’swork D8M, 2017, takes up the emblem of a bulldozer: a full-scale tractor, or machine for razing and displacing natural terrain, has been removed from its natural setting and placed within the Istanbul Modern. There, it is seen pushinga thicketof real trees that were cut to make way for a new airport north of Istanbul, as part of a construction project that is displacing homes as well. Alienated from their ‘natural’ settings, the bulldozer and trees foreground the brutal erasure of nature done in the name of expansion, efficiency and mobility. An emblem of the eradication that comes with construction, the bulldozer appears to roarand flex itself.In a protest against and with humans’ disavowal and forgetfulness of our natural habitats, the work animates and performs the fallouts from the destructiveness in which we find ourselves today.


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