Memo Akten: Simple Harmonic Motion

Visual/Sound Installation

‘Simple Harmonic Motion’ is an ongoing series of projects and research investigating complexity from simplicity – specifically the emergence of complex behaviour through the interaction of simple multilayered rhythms. It is inspired by natural and mathematical phenomena, as well as works by the likes of Norman Mclaren, John Whitney, Steve Reich, John Cage, Gyorgi Ligeti and Edgar Varèse.

The initial motivation for the project is a personal abstract memoir of growing up in and experiencing Istanbul. Inspired by Orhan Veli Kanik’s poem ‘Istanbulu dinliyorum’ (“I’m listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed”), it is a very non-literal sonic interpretation of the cultural diversity of the city; a collision of cultures and intertwined opposites: progressive vs conservative, religious vs secular, liberal vs authoritarian, extreme decadence vs severely moral; interwoven, not only in the same city, but in the same streets, the same buildings.

To see at
One Arts Plaza

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Memo Akten is an artist from Istanbul, currently based in London, UK. His work explores the collisions between man and machine. Fascinated by trying to understand the world and human nature, he investigates technology’s role in learning more about ourselves, how we connect with each other, and our relationship with nature, science, culture and tradition. Combining conceptual work with investigations into form, movement and sound he works across many disciplines including video, sound, light, dance, software, online works and large-scale immersive installations and performances.


Integrated with his art practice, he is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London at the intersections of artistic, expressive human-machine interaction and data dramatization with artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing. He draws inspiration from fields such as quantum mechanics, astrophysics, molecular & evolutionary biology, abiogenesis, neuroscience, anthropology and philosophy.


In 2013 his collaboration with Quayola ‘Forms’ won the Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica. Since 2009 his works ‘Body Paint’ and ‘Gold’ have toured with the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Decode exhibition. In 2014 his work with Marshmallow Laser Feast ‘Laser Forest’ was part of the Barbican’s Digital Revolutions exhibition. His work has been exhibited and performed around the world at venues such as Royal Opera House (London, UK); Tate Britain (London, UK); Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (Moscow, RU); La Gaîté lyrique (Paris, FR); Holon Museum (Tel Aviv, IL); EYE Film Institute (Amsterdam, NL); STRP Biennial (Eindhoven, NL); FILE Festival (Sao Paolo, Rio, BR); Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Lisbon, PT).

Photos: Copyright Scogin Mayo

A biennial public art event of light, video and sound.

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