We Are Working For Better

Photo series, Backlit Print, Lightbox 110x57cm, 2011

The rules that regulate the structure of traffic; roads, vehicles and pedestrians, these rules are the most common social arrangements in our daily life. Traffic is a perpetually dynamic situation; the vehicles, moving back and forth in different directions, indicate the constant flux of human activity. At this point, the term traffic may seem as a space to form ‘metaphors’. It is both chaos and an order; this order may be a sign of the oppression by the state, and affiliated institutions, on the individual and his visual surroundings. So, since much imagery and many situations are entangled in the reality of traffic, what space can be created for artistic expression in this context, on the thin border between reality and fiction? 

The acts in traffic are functional; the traffic police are the ones to judge on the ‘universal’ rights and wrongs. If a police car is towed away we are facing a self-critical system. In a situation that surpasses the functionality of the acts in traffic, something worse than a traffic ticket, an accident. You don’t have to worry, in that situation there is also someone to take care; capitalism. Insurance companies will be interested in the damage of the vehicle more then caring about the victim. But still, there will be the doctors in the private hospitals to take care of the victim, why? because you are going to but yourself in expenses, being cripple. City halls are always working for the better and therefore they can change the direction of a highway even if it’s only one house blocking its way.

So, is there a chance of an artistic expression in all of this? When looking at Suat Öğüt’s photo series We are working for better, we see that the events are turned into a motto by inverting the situations -or more precisely by ‘re-configuring’ them. When the police car is towed away, it comes to mind that the red and blue sirens on the police cars are the elements that code how people need to behave in a certain traffic situation. Who is not affected when the system is always ‘working for the better’, from the red and blue decorated police cars, parking officers or tow trucks? Now we have to ask ourselves; should we get troubled by these images? If the city halls are always ‘working for the better’, then there is no need to tow away anything: Long Live Bans!

Fırat Arapoğlu