Asli Aydin
Batu Sayici

Advanced Democracy Park

A journey through the state of "Advanced Democracy" in Turkey through Gezi Park and the words of the Turkish Prime Minister himself.

Introduction to Physical Computing,Materials and Building Strategies

The Advanced Democracy Park explores the current state of democracy in Turkey, often referred to as a state of “advanced democracy" by the Turkish government.

The Advanced Democracy Park is a replica of the Gezi Park in Istanbul, a park in which mass protests took place this past summer (#direngeziparki #occupygezi #direngezi). Users explore the Turkish Prime Minister’s statements by cruising around the park as a penguin, a figure that become a symbol of the protests because of a penguin documentary shown by CNN-Turkey while the protests were taking place. While the penguin travels through the park, it chooses where to go and hears a recent democracy related challenge depending on its choice. At the other end of the park stands a 3D printed replica of the Prime Minister himself. What happens at the end raises questions on the role of government as well as the real state of democracy in Turkey, a country known to be secular since 1923 and a bridge between the east and west.

We have been following the events and the politics of the country closely. During the protests, we collected videos of police brutality and "non-democratic" statements made by the ruling party. And it has been getting worse since the protests.

The target audience is anyone and everyone who strives to live in a democratic state; anyone politically conscious and emphatic. Our goal is to inform and keep the conversation going about the undemocratic ways of the ruling party.

User Scenario
The Advanced Democracy Park is an interactive game/installation, with which the user gets to play. The user has an object - a penguin (also a symbol of the protests) and walks around the park with the penguin making choices along the way - between phrases like "freedom of speech""arts""women issues" etc. Once the user puts the penguin on a choice, the 3D printed prime minister makes a statement about the issue. To learn more about it the user presses a button. At the end the user ends up at the Gezi Protests (a video of the protests start playing on a screen). The piece leaves the user with the impression that choice is an illusion because it doesn't matter what route the penguin takes, it ends up at the protests.

The park is a replica of the Gezi Park in istanbul - the 3D printed (7 inch tall) Prime Minister will stand in the middle of the park. The statements come through an arduino that sits under the park.

It has been a great process in which we learned more in depth about the political situation in Turkey. Also, it has been a great and challenging journey to go through the process of adjusting the concept to a foreign audience.