AR installation for the launch of Apple Bağdat Caddesi, Istanbul

In Tin&Ed’s augmented reality installation, Speaking Vessel, ancient-seeming objects materialize atop empty Apple store seating. One moment there is almost nothing—air, silence, space—the next, enormous, shimmering 3D vessels begin to reveal themselves in strips, like images caught in the process of loading. Their surfaces are swirling and kinetic, a moving canvas created in the app Procreate for iPad, and animated in a real-time game engine. Dancing around every curve, the variegated patterns not only recall ebru—the Turkish term for marbled paper—but aqueous surface design techniques first used in China and Japan, which arrived at Anatolia via the Silk Road. Used here, they’re an ode to the interconnectedness of cultural histories, and to open artistic exchange.

As viewers get closer to a vessel, they’ll spy gold linework bisecting the abstract patterns: drawings of bodies, beards, small groupings of trees.

Tin&Ed incorporated sketches from fourteen Turkish artists, which move and stretch and seem thoroughly alive. (The artists’ silhouettes are hidden in the vessels’ forms.) They also collaborated with Istanbul-based sound designer Oğuz Öner, whose soundscapes emerge from deep within the pots, like ancient spirits awakened. Moving between vessels, new audio compositions emerge, layering vocal textures and field recordings in Istanbul with modulated clips of Turkish percussive instruments, as well as the lyre, dulcimer, mey, ney, and oud.

Like phones, ceramic vessels are communicative objects; in fact, they may be the oldest “device” of their kind. They contain messages of beauty, pleasure, history, and faith. They are signifiers of human endeavour, evidence of our very existence, and of our attempts to connect with one another. In Speaking Vessel, they call out to us, eagerly awaiting our reply.