'brain fog | artists pick artists [2022]'

'brain fog | artists pick artists [2022]'

For the sake of earthly ambitions such as raising existing standards and improving the quality of life, we, as the founders of modern life, have built social patterns that involve complex and fast-paced systems in contrast to simple and static social structures. Experiencing its positive and negative consequences in parallel with the ordinary flow of life, we remained confident that this choice would save us time, ease our lives and increase our level of comfort. Given that we are highly emotional beings, we never seriously considered how the conveniences we have created might challenge our mental and physical health, and thus we voted for the “fast option”. How does this state of acceleration, which in a sense is equivalent to denying the nature of our evolutionary process, affect our neurocognitive nature and the ecosystem that we are part of? Being exposed to heaps of information in endless mirrored rooms, how can our constantly occupied minds use clear reasoning to distinguish the imaginary from the real or the true from the false?

The scientific term that best reflects this state of mental cloudiness that we are experiencing is “brain fog”, which, although being mentioned in medical books and articles for years, we have started to hear more frequently during the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought radical changes in our lives. Brain fog, which occurs when people’s cognitive functions are pressured, is not being defined as a disease, but rather as a “state of discomfort” that can cause new neurological complications and trigger other diseases. While reducing basic cognitive functions such as thinking and focusing, brain fog also seems to cast an invisible veil over attention, creative thinking and problem-solving abilities, which are the basic components of human survival instincts.

As a consequence of social life coming to a standstill during the mandatory quarantine period at the beginning of the pandemic, effects on the prefrontal cortex (forebrain) region of the human brain, which is responsible for performing “higher cognitive” functions appeared. This negative impact on the forebrain, which plays a key role in the execution of brain functions such as memory, decision-making, perception and executive control, created something like a mental cloudiness for some. The blurring of mental acuity created by brain fog brought about a feeling of depersonalization stimulated by losing touch with reality. People, uncertain of their memories and becoming alienated from themselves and eventually from their surroundings, seemed to resemble Meursault, the indifferent main character in Albert Camus’ novel, “The Stranger”:

“… Never in my life had I seen anyone as clearly as I saw these people; not a detail of their clothes or features escaped me. And yet I couldn’t hear them, and it was hard to believe they really existed.”

It seems as a paradox that the “speed” created by modern humans with effort and dedication for the sake of an improved quality of life actually turns out to “slow down” the very same human race that created it in the first place. The contradiction between speed and slowness leads to a similar switch between problem and solution. While remedies like meditation, brain exercises, balanced nutrition and physical activity are presented as ways to eliminate the blurry effects of brain fog, to what extent does the 21st century modern lifestyle dominated by the sedentary behavior model allow for this?

The exhibition highlights the state of “staying in the moment” as if trying to remind us of the voluntary and obligatory reasons behind our actions that led to abandon the focus in our lives. It invites all blurred minds, influenced by the foggy atmosphere around us to the act of remembering. It also offers a “mental break” that allows to escape from the chaos of modern life. Through the dialogue established between the space and the works, the exhibition creates for the audience, an opportunity for social interaction and new perspectives. For many years, .artSümer has been carrying out the group exhibition concept titled “Artists and Guest Artists”. Within this framework, artists represented by the gallery have each invited another fellow artist from the contemporary art world to take part in the exhibition. With the intention of dissipating the fog, the artists have laid their focus on collective consciousness, trying to nudge our memories, recall the present and offer areas of mental experience.

Gallery Artist:
Cansu Çakar
Merve Çanakçı
Gözde İlkin
Serkan Demir
Onur Gülfidan
Volkan Aslan
Erdal Duman
Civan Özkanoğlu
Ekin Saçlıoğlu

Selected Artist:
Berk Kır
Nazlı Khoshkhabar
Hera Büyüktaşcıyan
İlhan Sayın
Canan Demir
Sinan Logie
Mehmet Ali Boran
Blanca Viñas
Deniz Üster