Interview with the artist: Oguz Meriç

Interview with the artist: Oguz Meriç

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did your interest in art begin?

I grew up in a small city, in a restricted and disciplined military environment. I spent the first years of my life in a “uniformized” environment, consisting of multiple backgrounds. I see this uniformity as the first stage of humans’ robotisation. The military logic, the chains of command; these form a structure very similar to programmed robots. Although this type of environment hindered me in some ways, in many other ways it also gave me the opportunity to see the world from a different view.

I started photography by taking photos of my father’s fighter aircraft.

When a German pilot, who joined our fleet through an exchange program moved upstairs from us with his English wife, I got the opportunity to learn a bit more about the world. In the following years, we moved to Istanbul and I got accepted in the photography department of the MSÜ (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Academy).

Can you summarise your photos in 5 words?

These might also summarise my life:

  • Get rid of everything that is useless.
  • Everything in the shot has a meaning (although sometimes even I don’t know why).
  • Instincts are important, they show personality.
  • Technical perfection is very important.
  • A photograph must have correct lighting, colour and tones.

Energy 2 – image © Oguz Meric

What are you inspired by during your creation process?

I am of course heavily influenced by the things I see. However, the photography has such a problem that it isn’t always easy to find and to capture the image in your head. It is a serious issue to be always dependent on something or someone.

“Technology rapidly entering every aspect of our lives causes us to distance ourselves from the real world. The “real world” almost doesn’t exist any more.

There are quite a few Cyberpunk elements in your works. What is it about this movement that interests you?

Technology rapidly entering every aspect of our lives causes us to distance ourselves from the real world. The “real world” almost doesn’t exist any more. Even our food is made out of artificial ingredients that look like food. It is almost like the smart phones in our hands control us. A set of “data” tells us what to do. Everything that we do is recorded on our profiles in the cyber environment, and we are manipulated by our interests and weaknesses. There have been movies about robots taking over the world for years. In the end, we became robotic.

There was a similar situation on the military environment during my childhood and teenager years. Pilots used to keep guard over a plane carrying atom bombs in their hulls. They were all ready in case the alarm went off commanding them to take off and bomb the coordinates given to them. This was actually a robotised group; a machine ready to execute the incoming commands. I felt then how close people were to being robotised. I guess this is the effect of those years on me.

Spirit 1 – image © Oguz Meric

What do you think awaits art and artists in the future?

Art is of course very affected by the developing technology. People have more opportunities now. But it boils down to what is done with these opportunities.

During the years that I was a professor at the university, some of the students believed that these opportunities were very important. I used to tell them that technology and the machines were tools that made life easier, but photography requires heart and mind. If you don’t have a light in your heart or mind, even the best camera in the world won’t make you a photographer. It will just make you a cool person.

When I look at the world today, I see there are more “cool people” than actual artists.

Energy 1 – image © Oguz Meric

All images of the artworks belong to artist Oguz Meric.

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