Her artwork titled Indirect, composed in comics format but in a highly painterly aesthetic approach, focuses on how the social media and the images shared in mass via smartphones transform and render life and, consequently, artistic experience virtual.
About the Artist
The Quest and Reflex exhibitions' curator İpek Yeğinsü comments about Balca Arda's work :" Arda’s artistic quests concentrate on areas such as illustration, character design, comics, anime and video. Yet her technique underlines their relation to painting, intensely sensed by the viewer. Her artwork titled Indirect, composed in comics format but in a highly painterly aesthetic approach, focuses on how the social media and the images shared in mass via smartphones transform and render life and, consequently, artistic experience virtual. Just like the other visitors, a couple visiting a Van Gogh exhibition is struggling to photograph the artworks with their smartphones rather than actually examining them. They are so fixated on the impression they are to make in the virtual environment, they necessitate a second frame to be able to see Van Gogh’s paintings.Nowadays, as each and every one of us has become the artist of his or her own image, the meaning of social realm is at the center of Arda’s approach and is closely related to the artist’s deep interest in sociological and political theory, particularly in the question of “identity”. The fact that Arda chooses an impressionist, or more, a “genius-lunatic” figure like Van Gogh to describe the society’s transformation via technological instruments, is not coincidental.
“Cyborg” is the abbreviated version of “cybernetic organism”, defining beings with both artificial and biological parts. This term is also used in naming prosthetic implants that communicate with the impaired or amputated patient’s central nervous system. While in literature and cinema it refers to superhuman beings transformed into machines, in social sciences the name is given to elaborate networks of communication and management. It is closely related to the notions of human-machine relationship and the mechanized human. Debates evolving around this issue question the ethical consequences of the point up to which artificial intelligence is expected to develop. Can willpower, morality and empathy that distinguish the human from the machine be obtained with artificial intelligence? Can the robots be held responsible for the moral aspect of their actions? At what point does a mechanized human being cease to be human? The issue of human- robot ethics that Isaac Asimov tackles in his “I, Robot”, will be one of the highlighted topics of our near future. In Balca Arda’s work Blush No More we encounter a female “cyborg” busted in the toilet. Arda’s ironic approach also reveals itself in the artwork’s title. The blushing reflex, natural and specific to humans, is associated with a being whose toilet necessity is doubtful. Even the cyborg who is being told to be ashamed no more has internalized our society’s judgmental values. So can one talk about morality where willpower is absent? What are the answers if we ask the same question for the humanity instead of the cyborgs?"
Balca Arda holds a PhD from York University in Toronto on Politics of Aesthetics (2016), an MA from Bosphorus University on Political Science including Oppositional Art (2010), an MA from London University of the Arts on Digital Arts - Cyborg Imagery (2006), a BA from Bosphorus University on Political Science (2005), and she has graduated from Galatasaray High School (2000). She is currently teaching Time Based Media,Visual Culture and History of Visuality at Kadir Has University. The artist exhibited her work at London, Toronto, Istanbul and participated to Galeri MCRD's group exhibitions (The Quest and Reflex ) at the gallery and at Contemporary Istanbul 2014.