The question would be: when is paper an object? If we do not pose it from preconceived intentionality like paper architectures when the paper is asked to perform in an exhibitionary field or as a declarative? When certainly not when it is asked to stand in, if not be an illustrative witness of a great idea withheld from completion? It is a simple question, when is paper an object? Or, let’s turn it around, and ask again, when does an object become paper? Is it unfathomable? The question assumes a tertiary importance in the digital realm of the present moment, when both paper and object can be replicated and enhanced in ways that no previous agency was able to allow for. It becomes embedded within the same medium. You would not need a loop to study it closely, or bring a color filter in to enhance different registers not available to simple vision, or hold it against the light, and compare it via a reference book, a tool library, another thing or an object. All the diverse and specific tools you may need previously have become concurrently present and historical. The object travels within relational indices flawlessly and in the order of things, the very order’s purchase on the real itself becomes irrelevant, effectively obliterating the breach between paper itself and its restlessness, its propensity to become an object. If we are to retreat to the experience of the exhibitory with full bodily operations still in high gear --we see with our bodies-- precarious registers take over. As much as I think of exhibitions as orphan objects, often inferior to the complexities of research stimulating them, as we translate inefficiently our intentions to discourses in space, as much as we know they are not in the same order of the “book” and that they lack the intimacy of an obsessive conversation with a colleague, casting the exhibition as yet another allegory of the cave is not the point here. There is the surplus that the orphan object transports, moving between language and objecthood, obtusely stubborn, and that is why I still subscribe to it. The voice in the exhibition makes that question still viable, if and when is paper an object. As we gaze under glass vitrines at open pages of books, architectural drawings and then glance back to the exhibition text on the wall we discern differences and multiple voices in the space as different conflictual tools bent into discipline. It is when we collapse the differences onto a third medium --our present digital world-- we can absorb more efficiently but we know that we know less somewhere else. The two do not unseat the other, they are different and necessary.
It would have been an amazing privilege, a joy, something hard to imagine for most of us to have been born in a city with a great library present in our memories. That was unfortunately not the case with Istanbul.