[-empyre-] Layers of ISEA2011: Corporate/Financial

Nicholas Knouf nak44 at cornell.edu
Sat Sep 17 01:04:43 EST 2011

Hello -empyre-,

I'd like to add another layer to the list: the corporate/financial one.

I want to write about the experience of entering into the main location
for the conference, Sabanci Towers.  This requires being checked off of
a list and then traveling through a metal detector with your belongings
x-rayed.  You find yourself in front of two gleaming towers of uncountable
numbers of floors that reflect
the blue sky.  You realize that this is
not the university, but rather the headquarters for Sabanci Holding
(https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Sabanci_Group), which
appears to be the largest industrial and financial conglomerate in
Turkey, while also the organization behind the founding of Sabanci
University.  Once you make your way through men and women in perfectly
tailored business suits and executives being escorted into Mercedes to be
driven to power lunches, you find yourself in front of another metal
detector and x-ray machine which may or may not be used (I didn't have
to go through it when I entered).  Inside is bland corporate decor not
unlike anything else in the globalized world.  Hacker or DIY space this
certainly is not, and the internet seems to block anything that doesn't
travel on ports 80 or 443 (meaning any local e-mail clients on computers
or smartphones won't work; Blackberries won't work; and seemingly only web traffic will go through).  For your
400EURO fee you are still required to pay for pastries.

I find the totality of this environment rather problematic for an ostensibly academic
and artistic conference and could write much more about it, but will
refrain for the moment.  But I did want to describe this for those of
you who are not in Istanbul.


nick knouf

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