Intercontinental

2017

 

Intercontinental is a video and sound piece the artist recorded on a visit to the city of Istanbul. During ten minutes, the viewer is taken on a walk around the Intercontinental hotel, which is located right next to Taksim square and Gezi park in the very center of the city.

The building was originally built as Sheraton Istanbul between 1959 and 1968 by german architect Rolf Gutbrod and was at the time the city‘s first skyscraper. Despite its unusual shape, the building‘s facade presents itself as concrete or glass only, depending on the point of view. When seen from the south and east, the more wealthy areas of the inner city, the hotel shows its sides equipped with floor- to-ceiling windows. However, when seen from the north, the district mostly inhabited by people from lower income groups, the concrete front blocks the view from the city to the hotel and vice versa. While it can be assumed that the architect chose the uncommon shape of the hotel in order to capture as much natural light as possible, the building might as well serve as an example of how the availability of natural resources not only correspond with but also actively shape the segregation and gentrification within an urban environment such as Istanbul.

As an additional artifice, the artist has altered the original sound to resemble an impressionistic soundscape, ranging from melodious when the windows are visible, to jarring and menacing when the viewer is confronted with the concrete face, further emphasizing the possibilities and impossibilities of contact between the different inhabitants of the city. Being filmed from the ground level, using only fundamental recording equipment, the assumed position of the viewer in the video remains an unprivileged one.

Art © Gregor Vogel 2020