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  • The Strawberry Effect

    Angela HUANG & Alex TAHINOS, "Real Fictions II: Pier Gardens." Model.
    istanbul TURKEY

    Istanbul Technical University

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Meriç ARSLANOGLU: “The Strawberry Effect” project takes place in the factory of the man-made experience where the natural ceased to …

    … exist, beside the Hudson River, in the end of the “High Line” promenade and investigates artificial environments of the future and speculates about innovative synthetic materials with the help of biochemical experiments. The relationship between New York City and nature depends on artificial experiences, just like acquired strawberry flavour. Imagine in the early 60’s, when strawberry flavours were not common. People would have to say, “Wow, this artificial flavour just tastes like real strawberry!” Fast forward some 50 years to now, when you would hear: “Actual fruit of strawberry doesn’t taste like instant flavour anymore.” It is an acquired taste. We have slowly acquired a taste of a strawberry far from the true fruit.“ Totally designed instant chemicals, but we call it “strawberry” flavour. It reminds living in NYC.

    Main social elements of the Manhattan’s city structure such as “Central Park”, “High Line Promenade” and in the future “Lowline Park” are man-made environments pretend to be natural. Designers of the “High Line Park” state that it is highly designed for looking natural, just like “Central Park.” This city transforms a post-industrial railroad to a promenade with wild meadows, creates forest from a rectangular lot. What if we try to design an environment which doesn’t pretend to be natural? It means designing artificial experiences and synthetic ecology, designing instant flavour without imitating strawberry.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    MA: I was pretty much influenced by 80’s synth wave (cyberpunk) graphics within the scope of my diploma project. Beside this, Edward Hopper’s paintings enable me new horizons for the atmospheres of the render scenes in my projects. After I have defined “artificiality” term as one of the keywords in the conceptual progress, I researched specific topics of interest. Félix Guattari’s “The Three Ecologies” led me to get the information of architecture by “ecosophy” (ecosystem) of its place. In the pursuit of connection between synthetic environments and “Ballardian” landscapes of New York, materializing process equals the spatialization of local social-cultural practices by using the “protocell” solutions. At this point, works of Rachel Armstrong and Philip Beesley captivated me deeply.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    MA: I was reading William Gibson’s “Sprawl Trilogy”, William S. Burrough’s “The Soft Machine” and Félix Guattari’s “The Three Ecologies”. Listening to L.A Priest’s “Inji” (2015), Glass Candy’s “B/E/A/T/B/O/X” (2007) and Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” (2016) mostly. At that time I watched “THX 1138 (1971)” , “Blade Runner (1982)” again and again and also “Westworld (2016-) TV Series”.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?:
    MA: R&Sie… Architects – François Roche