For On The Streetpresented by Clark Construction

Sympathetic Motion

by Berfin Ataman

Get to Know the Artist

Interview moderated by Eames Demetrios






Searching for the Sun


Artist Statement

“Although my work takes many different forms most of my sculptures are mobiles. All of the submitted materials are real-life sculptures made with soft materials and move with the help of electronics. My sculptures are an exploration of humans’ relationship to non-human objects and systems that they encounter and interrupt each day. I am interested in systems that make up and surround the artworkds which concern interconnectivity, logic, memory, emotion, and interaction. In most of my works, I try to create systems between my sculptures. The sculptures and the systems they create become a part of the architecture and an extension of it for the audience to interact with. All of these elements give the audience a sense of liveliness. The way I think about systems in sculptural form is influenced by nature and natural creatures. It will become apparent that my pieces visually resonate with the underwater world through the spaes and colors that I use. The varioius colors, shapes, and movements in my artwork direct how the audience perceives the suclpture and the site that surrounds it. I work with fabric because it responds to the movements in a different way than other materials. It is light. It reacts to movement more organically.Over the past years, I have also been experimenting with the sculpture’s placements in different forms of architectural spaces and how the interaction between the audience, sculpture, and space man alter according to the design and movement of the sculpture. I try to keep in mind the architecture, the material qualities of the sculpture, and the audience’s past to create a unified experience. My most recent work expands on my research and thoughts on architectural mutualism. Gordon Pask came up with this term, he explains, “a bulding is only meaningful as a human environment. It perpetually interacts with its inhabitants, on the one hand serving them and on the other hand controlling their behavior. In other words, structures make sense as part of larger systems that include human components and the architect is primarily concerned with these larger systems... meaning mutualism between structures and men or societies.”




Looking For Some Air


“My aim in these projects was to investigate relationships between mechanical objects that have physical qualities within a closed system and the system’s relationship to the architecture and the audience. It is a meditation on how two very separate entities like the visitor and the art piece can affect each other physically but not be aware of the unseen consequences that may follow their physical interaction creating an architectural mutualism. At the time I was working on these series, I was experimenting with movement that is relative to the form of sculpture but that can also be randomized by mechanics and electronics. I was specifically interested in how behaviors and feelings are evoked through observed movement, and why humans instinctively characterize something that is in motion. I wanted to further understand how humans' reaction to a moving object changes depending on different design qualities and motions of the objects. The design decisions therefore are made in order to exploit the human’s need to bring moving objects to life and give them an experience of interacting with something non- identifiable and non-human.”





The Artist




Berfin Ataman is a Turkish/ German artist. She got her BFA in Theatre Design from the University of Southern California, her Post – Baccalaureate degree from the School of Art Institute Chicago, and her MFA from UCLA. She has shown her work in Chicago, Los Angeles, Istanbul, and South Korea in galleries and museums. Over multiple collections and projects, she has explored the internal and external perception of movement as they relate to the body, space, and non-human objects. Her medium is fluid according to each collection but has been materialized as wearables, installations, and other soft, kinetic, sculptures.



The Category

The ‘On The Street’ Category was open to any type of work experienced on the street, this ranged from fashion, skateboards, cars, vehicles, transportation, street art, etc. The concept behind the category came from the museum’s connection to specifically urban art forms. 


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2020 DESIGN AWARDS