Bak 17 Is Online!
'Face', 17th issue of Bak Magazine, is now online! Sit back, relax and enjoy!


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Interviews in Bak | 17
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Candaş Şişman
Digital Artist { }
Candaş Şişman

- Digital technology entered rapidly in the creative world and changed almost everything! A few years ago, art books were priceless. Pages and pages full of artworks were in our fingertips. Every page we flipped was like an exciting journey. Today, we browse through tons of creative and amazing artworks very quickly with clicks and we skip each work after looking at it for just a few seconds. Even if we like some of them very much, we forget about them in a day… Consumption is mind-blowingly fast and doing something unique is almost impossible. In such a situation, Candas Sisman comes to the stage as a creative who does art.

What differentiates your work from all the other pieces that we see everyday? How do you evaluate this consumption craziness in visual arts?

I'm trying to combine the traditional and the digital by using the technology with an innovative point of view and coming to a result where there is pureness and emotions. Instead of producing logical pieces, I prefer going to the emotional side. That kills the coldness and rigidness of digital creations. My wish is to be able to create, with the use of all mediums, complex structures which look very simple and pure.

Of course we are impressed from many things we see in our environment, so I don't think that the pieces I create is unique. Actually we should question what unique is. In my opinion, what we create is the synthesis of what we see around and the things that impress us. The important thing is our choices. It's how we combine the different possibilities and datas that we gain. To sum it up, you should produce as much as you consume, and after copying some stuff for a while, you should incorporate them and put them into a different level with your own perception and point of view.

You produce different artworks in different disciplines, from motion graphics to posters, audio design to performances. Sometimes you form mechanical relations with geometric shapes and digital touches, sometimes you create surreal compositions with a pencil and sometimes you combine different mediums and produce more organic pieces. Are these the results of an artistic quest or just some delightful discoveries?

Quest will never end. As a person who likes to express his inner thoughts and who thinks that producing something is as crucial as breathing, I can easily say that technique is nothing but the language that you create by that technique is very important. Each discipline is another way which can be followed and questioned. The result is what makes sense, regardless of the chosen technique, so I'm trying to avoid categorizing the disciplines literally. The good thing is, they are all different from each other. I'm interested in how people react to which medium. My aim is to use all those reactions together.

Among all those different disciplines, which one lets you impress your audience most?

As I mentioned, being able to use everything together is what makes me excited. Using sounds, images, heat, smell and all the things like that… However, I can only do this in the future. Until now, I enjoyed more progressive works, not like audio, performance or animation works but the pieces that include time, place and moment. To make it more clear, sound is what makes me excited most. Because it opens a different door and presents a different way of communication.

Haydarpasa Train Station, the magnificent, iconic building in Istanbul, a great team with talented young creatives and an amazing visual feast… Can you tell us more about Yekpare project? If you had the chance to work on such a project anywhere in the world, which place would you choose first?

It was a very very difficult thing to accomplish such a project like Yekpare. It was a teamwork as you say and the result was great. Being a part of such a big production helped us climb more than one step at once. Seeing your visual design on such a huge surface is amazing. Beside that, using traditional artistic elements like Ebru (marbling) and Hat Art (calligraphy) was important to us in terms of modernizing our cultural background. 

During the performance in December, weather was quite bad. Our projector was standing on a dock on the sea and it was swinging to sides because of the waves and the wind which caused some technical difficulties. Despite that, the result was great.

Such a big public projection mapping show didn't take place in Turkey before Yekpare. That makes us proud. It was also good that the project was not only for the art enthusiasts but for all the community.

The place that I would like to do this again would be Kaaba in Mecca. It's a piece built B.C. but it's still very modern and minimal. Its location, its importance for the mankind and the impossibility of performing such a show there really fascinates me. Plus, mapping step would be very easy…

These days, we read significant amount of positive articles about Istanbul's art scene, especially in foreign media. Some of them even named Istanbul as the new art center of the world. Do you agree with that? 

On one side, there is an amazing city surrounded with exhibitions, art shows and events, and on the other side, there is an extremely conservative government that has major problems with even sculptures, caricatures and nude paintings. How do you evaluate the future of Istanbul when you consider these two sides?

Istanbul is a very important city in terms of its location and history. We simultaneously experience the Eastern and the Western cultures. If we realize this richness and learn to live together, we'll be much stronger. Art is one step further in that sense and it is fed by both sides, which is of course very appealing for the West.

It's good to see that the qualified constitutions are being formed and qualified people are beginning to get up on the stage. Besides that, number of varieties go up and the quality of the exhibitions raised significantly. For example, it's really surprising and pleasing that Borusan Music House in Istanbul hosts great performances and accepts a show like 'The Element and The Light'. These are all positive things.

On the other hand, conservatism is getting stronger everyday. This has a lot of side effects. However, I think that the art cannot be executed in a very comfortable and happy environment. It can only come out of a problematic nature. It might be useful to look at Turkey like that. Because there are tons of things to criticize, tons of things to be fed from… The agenda changes - or is changed - everyday. All of those give us a lot of materials to work with.

When I think personally, there is quite a difference though. What I'm seeking is a way of perception and a language, unlike all the existing ones. It's apart from all those current issues, problems and maybe the whole system. The difficulties that I experience, my observations and my psychological state lead me to a different quest, which makes me think that we should benefit from Istanbul. 

I guess I don't have to talk about that conservatism. I hope this is another step in the evolution of human and the systems like religion, money and government will disappear with the help of science, awareness and technology. That would give us a simpler and happier way of living.

Your works have been shown in festivals in different cities and you're awarded many times. Among all those events and people that are impressed by your work, whose reaction has made you excited most?

The most exciting thing was the award that I got with my Flux project from ARS Electronica ( It was great to have such an honor and it was also great to see my work at the festival and in ARS Electronica Museum. I strongly recommend you to join that festival since it's a great opportunity to see where the humanity has reached.

What was the most heart-breaking moment in your life as a creative?

It's not like an heart breaking moment, but it's really upsetting that I couldn't get a good education at the university. It would be great to work with more open-minded teachers. I'm not using this as an excuse, though. I always tried to educate myself and my best teacher was the Internet.

It's also possible that the negative effect of not having a good education might have given me the energy of researching and working harder.

Beside that, art negatively affects people's mental health and social condition, and this doesn't end. This is a good and a difficult thing…

Among the external factors that affect your creative process, how strong is the cinema? What kind of movies and which directors do you like most?

I think it's not a very significant factor for me. Actually I like watching documentaries more than fictional movies but of course there are the ones that I like. Movies such as Enter The Void, Antichrist, The Tree of Life, Matrix, Taxidermia, Artificial Intelligence and Hukkle are really good. Overall, music is more important than cinema and literature for me.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you want to give us some clues about? 

I used to create animations and do projection mapping as a freelancer for some time and then I founded NOHlab with my coworker Deniz Kader. These days, we are working very hard for it. As our latest work, we designed and directed Offf Istanbul's partner title project on which we collaborated with Robotika (

Beside that, I'll open my personal exhibition which will be held in PG Art Gallery ( in December, next year. I will try different techniques in terms of installation and it won't be anything like my previous work.

The last one will be an audiovisual performance, which will be premiered in Ankara Cern Modern Arts Museum. Ankara State Polyphonic Choir ( and Alper Derinbogaz ( will contribute and it's going to be a very exciting project. 

Theme of our 17th issue is 'Face'. When you close your eyes and think, what comes to your mind about that word?

It's the most important part of the body since it's the only one that shows the emotions so intensely.


I hope, one day, systems like religion, money and government will disappear with the help of science, awareness and technology. That would give us a simpler and happier way of living.


- Candaş Şişman / Bak 17
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