‘Sculpture for Rainwater Harvest’ was initially installed on the roof of the exhibition venue, it’s pipes passing through the front wall and depositing water into a tank in the front space. Constructed from simple materials, over the exhibition’s 47 days it accumulated 82 kg of rainwater. Rainwater harvesting is a practice that was widely used in Istanbul historically and one that the artist sees being used again as an alternative to the ecological and social displacements and use-restrictions of state and privately owned dams. ‘Sculpture for Rainwater Harvest’ is thus a speculative tool that raised the question of how water should be governed on the Sishane Otopark site – which is privately owned but designed as a space for public use – whose collected rainwater is used for landscape irrigation.
The sculpture’s ten cones were installed in dialogue with the architecture of the parking building, extending the roof line by filling out empty space within its facade. Öztat often engages with the history of the sites she exhibits in by highlighting negative space, as in ‘Ghost Light’, 2014 set in a former theatre, in which a light was turned on only during the hours the gallery is closed.
Öztat utilized some of the collected rainwater to make a series of watercolours around the nightmares she had during her research into the commercialization of water. She discussed her research at ‘Recounting Nightmares to Running Water’, a performance and video presented offsite at SALT Galata in which she used ‘Sculpture for Rainwater Harvest’ as a speculative tool to reflect upon the context in which her nightmares occurred. Departing from the folk belief that nightmares flow away as they are recounted to running water, she imparted her nightmares to the audience by giving her paintings away. Öztat also went on to produce ‘In the rivers north of the future,’ 2015 a series of 25 watercolours, each paired with the bottle of harvested rainwater with which it was made. In both works the artist sought to evoke values and qualities of water that fall outside of economic growth and development and therefore do not find a place in dominant discourses.
The research process initiated by The Moving Museum evolved into a collaboration with Fatma Belkis, with whom she presented at the Istanbul Biennale, 2015. This installation, titled ‘Who Carries the Water’ (2014–ongoing) displays materials and practices encountered during the pair’s research trip to study autonomous, anonymous and dissenting ways of living articulated between 1998 and the present during the struggles against the construction of run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plants in a number of Anatolian valleys.
Iz Öztat (b. 1981, Istanbul) is an artist living and working in Istanbul. She received her PhD in Art Practice and Theory from Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul, her MA in Arts and Communication Design from Sabanci University, İstanbul and her BA in Visual Arts from Oberlin College, Ohio. Selected solo exhibitions include Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, 2014; Maçka Sanat Gallery, Istanbul, 2012; PiST Interdisciplinary Project Space, Istanbul, 2008. Recent group shows include Pi Artworks, London, 2017; Sharjah Biennial 13, 2017; Heidelberger Kunstverein, 2016; Macka Art Gallery, Istanbul, 2016; 14th Istanbul Biennial, 2015; Balkan Artist Guild, London, 2015; Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore, 2015; Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Istanbul, 2015; Rampa İstanbul, 2014; Nesrin Esirtgen Collection, İstanbul, 2014; Institut d’art Contemporain, Lyon, 2013; Matadero Madrid, 2013; Apartment Project, Berlin, 2012.
The works ‘Recounting Nightmares to Running Water’, 2015 and ‘In the rivers north of the future’, 2015 are dedicated to the public domain.