In contemporary art

The Point Where Heat Stood (2003), an installation by Mike Nelson at the Eight Istanbul Biennial took place in an old gilding atelier in one of the rooms of Buyuk Valide Han. The  location, in the midst of a labyrinth-like streets and sorroundings, made gettingto the site and finding the room of the exhibition an adventure and also a significant part of the process of Nelson’s work’s presence.

The work was composed of a two level photographer’s darkroom in which photographs were hung drying on ropes.  These were pictures from different corners of the space of the building and neighbourhood, and many people took some of these photographs as they left, some leaving notes and other objects in return.  A man working within the building held the key to the room and informally became a guide, taking visitors for an overview of the city from over the roof, thus becoming a part of the process itself.  The artist chose this space as his venue after searching from across the city.  The work was impressive, witty, and, was politically significant.  It brought together groups of people, namely the art goers and the local workers and merchants, and made them engage with each other and their surroundings through access to the work.

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