TEVAFUK – TRIAL FOR MERGING ISLAMIC CALLIGRAPHY AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE PROCESSING

TEVAFUK – TRIAL FOR MERGING ISLAMIC CALLIGRAPHY AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE PROCESSING

Halil Atasever

Istanbul, 20, 01, 2012

Abstract

This research paper examines a trial of merging Islamic Calligraphy and open source software Processing. Qualitative Research is conducted with researchers and Islamic Calligraphers in order to defining the limits of the artwork that is created in the end of the research. Tevafuk, the Arabic word, establishes the definition of the conceptual framework of the Processing code created by the author. Tevafuk the artwork generates infinite examples and serves in a different level than the Islamic Calligraphy itself.

Keywords: Islamic Calligraphy, Processing, Islamic Art, Open Source Programs, Coincidence, Khatt

Introduction

Hossein Amirsadeghi, the founding director of Art&Patronage Summit held at the British Museum and Royal College of Art in January 2012, claimed that there has not been any culturally significant artwork created in the last five centuries in the Middle East.1 It was a hard statement to swallow for the audience in the summit, and it is for the artists currently living and working around Middle East, even it has its own legitimate background. Although it cannot be stated as easy as that, I myself as a designer and an artist find it very rational that Amirsadeghi was right in a sense that as Middle Eastern people we are having a creative backwardness in art.

Without having the fear of failure, and having the consciousness about this issue, my assumption is that; New Media can be a very successful way for the Muslim Artists to express themselves and defeat this creative backwardness in art. New kind of programs due to the development of technology serves highly effectively for the sake of the artists, especially when these technological devices are easily accessible and learnable.

In this research, my aim is to find a way that can merge Islamic Art and New Media. For this reason, what I choose was two different platforms that have not been met before; Islamic Calligraphy, also known as Khatt, and Processing.

The reasons behind these choice should be defined briefly. First of all Islamic Calligraphy is the very basic element of Islamic Culture. From the beginning of the seventh century with Prophet Muhammad, copying Koran led artists to place an emphasis on writing more than before. This aim, in a time period of fourteen century resulted in various kinds of writing styles, can also be perceived as fonts in a sense. Creating figurative drawings was not always the first choice of the Muslim Artists so, Islamic Calligraphy is widely accepted all around Middle East and raised thousands of calligraphers so far.

Beside various programming environments, why Processing is chosen for this research should be stated. Processing can be defined as an open source software which is created for artistic expression mainly in visual arts.2 Because this software is royalty free, it means that it is open to all kind of scholars and individuals and generates series of open source environments for everybody so it becomes easily reachable via blogs, websites, meetings etc.

Mainly a calligraphic artwork does not allow to the beholder or the observer to interact with it in a sense that we interact with a computer. One cannot change its characteristic by observing it. Specifically for this research, creating an artwork that allows interaction easily can be realized by using Processing. The tutorials of the software and “processing.org” helped me a lot to understand how to use this software and how simple it is to learn and practice it. Here I should express my appreciation to Ben Fry and Casey Reas who are the founders of Processing.

Research

After defining these two spheres, I started to search for clues if this kind of merge has been attempted before. Thankfully but also surprisingly I could not come up with any kind of trial so far. For this reason, I conducted a qualitative research to find out what kind of synthesis is possible and what is the validity of it, if there would be any kind of synthesis.

I tried to find Islamic Calligraphers mainly in Istanbul because this happened to be the easiest way for me because I live in, beside, Istanbul is a city that so many Islamic Calligraphers are located. Another reason for this is Istanbul is a place that you can easily find art directors one side and the Islamic Artists on the other. I should state that it was my expectation to find out young calligraphers who are really into New Media sources and using them, unluckily there was not seem to be an artist having these qualifications.

Throughout the interview sessions that I had with the Islamic Calligraphers, Khattats, and researchers, I realized that they are provided with the knowledge of Adobe programs and these programs are widely used among these artists with the aim of arranging letters on the paper before writing texts with reed pen.

Not a hard thing to understand that they are still so engaged to the traditional education of Islamic Calligraphy and although they are open minded to every kind of new technology contributes to their artworks and their working process, they are not so prone to search and find out what is out there in the means of software.

It was very interesting that all of them welcomed me with a great sympathy. Moreover, again all of them tried to warn me about few issues so that I may be able to understand the safe area that can be worked on and go further. It was not something unexpected because Islamic Calligraphy is Islamic and this art have margins that cannot be omitted easily. Going back to fourteen century before this art actually started with copying Koran, so the texts are generally taken from Koran, even they are not taking from Koran they have Islamic connotations.

After having all the materials about this issue and the interviews, I may be able to understand the margins of this issue. Before trying to create an artwork it is very directive to discover these in order not to be disrespectful to any kind of artist, Muslim or Islam itself.

These are the some statements discovered throughout this research process that can determine the limits of a new trial of an artwork such as this research. In my humble opinion these statements are really directive for the ones prone to find synthesis. More detailed explanations can be found in Literature Review of this research.

First of all reed pen is the obligatory tool for naming an artwork as Islamic Calligraphy. Fullstops. Although this first sentence breaks my all devoutness to this research, it is a widely accepted statement among the Khattats. But new kind of trials should be out there, but naming should be different.

Secondly this kind of synthesis should be attempted by an Islamic Calligrapher himself/herself. So that there would not be any kind of distortion of the letters.

Thirdly, the very crucial element in this art is the form of the letters. They have been developed throughout the centuries and standing in their final state so they should not be distorted.

Fourthly, although Oliver Leaman claims the opposite, Islamic Calligraphy is something that can be understood in a certain context. The form of the artwork can create joy for the beholder who does not know Arabic or Koranic verses, but for the sake of fulfillment of joy, the meaning is crucial and the knowledge about the meaning of the text increases the value of the work in the eyes of the beholder but not vice versa. The form of the text can improve the affect of the work but this is not something that can be achieved all the time.

Methodology

Bearing all these limits and knowledge in mind, I had to find answer to two different questions. First, what kind of text should I use in Processing? Secondly, what should I do with Processing? What kind of program should I write?

In that very moment while I was thinking about the answers, I remembered that I was very captured by one of the works of Mehmet Özçay who was one of my interviewee. In his work named Hurriyet3 (illustration 1), Özçay succeeds very hard thing that can be achieved. He used form of the text to improve the meaning of the text. Because it is not always possible to find a meaning that can be visualize with the form of the text. Text is a poem written by Sultan ibn Ali Al-Owais and it is translated as : “My freedom is the most precious aspect of my life Without it all my life is frivolous.” In the artwork, Özçay locates the “hurriyet” (freedom) in the center of the work. What we see above is the first sentence of the poem that is : “My freedom is the most precious aspect of my life” and the the other sentence located below is: “Without it all my life is frivolous.”

What we see in here is that Özçay establishes a connection between the meaning of the text and the form of the text. Islamic Calligraphers generally find it hard to create this kind of establishment but if it is accomplished, the joy of creating it is Alice in wonderland. For me, it was very directive example to proceed my research . I started to look for a conceptual playground for myself that I can visualize and also create something in Processing.

By using Processing you can create many different kind of artworks. The idea I have been running after finds its background in interactivity because if there is a trial about creating an artwork that can be regarded in New Media this should be interactive. This should not be meaningful to upload scanned images to Processing and display them in Processing screen. Moreover there has never been an interactive Islamic Calligraphy artwork, so it would be inspiring for many people.

The concept as a creative solution: “tevafuk

Tevafuk,


توافق

is an Arabic word, also used in Persian, basicly have these kind of meanings: match each other, go together, coincidence, encounter, by chance. In this research more than it is literal meaning, I am interested in its reflection in the cultural context, especially in Turkey.4 This explanation is important when we think that any kind of Islamic Calligraphy is important with the meaning of the text.

This word actually replaced by Muslims in order not to leave any space for coincidence. Let me explain it more simply, anything that can happen to a Muslim whether it is planned or not, because there is a greater planner that is God, there would be no space for coincidence or chance.

So, in daily life dialogs, we mostly encounter with this word as follows; when a Muslim individual interpret a coincidence as a coincidence or chance, he or she is warned that this situation or event is not a chance but this is tevafuk. Generally believers do use this word when they encounter something which they did not expect but happy with the outcome of this.

Tevafuk – the artwork

With the very effective contribution of my colleague Servet Ekber Ulaş5, I wrote a Processing code that is using PNG files of the letters of tevafuk word. This little code takes the letters of the word and creates a different compositions by locating them in to a certain space different each time when it is run. Here you can see the code:

PImage f;

PImage v;

PImage k;

PImage a;

PImage t;

void setup() {

size(1024, 780);

smooth();

v = loadImage(“v.png”);

f = loadImage(“f.png”);

k = loadImage(“k.png”);

a = loadImage(“a.png”);

t = loadImage(“t.png”);

hat();

}

void hat() {

float x=random(512);

float y=random(390);

float lowrange=-100;

float hirange=100;

translate(random(lowrange,hirange),random(lowrange,hirange));

image(v, x,y, 440, 320);

translate(random(lowrange,hirange),random(lowrange,hirange));

image(f, x, y, 440, 320);

translate(random(lowrange,hirange),random(lowrange,hirange));

image(k, x, y, 440, 320);

translate(random(lowrange,hirange),random(lowrange,hirange));

image(a, x, y, 440, 320);

translate(random(lowrange,hirange),random(lowrange,hirange));

image(t, x, y, 440, 320);

}

void keyPressed(){

}

And the examples that are created by using this code can be seen as follows:

1 2 3

What is actually happening in here can be interpreted as tevafuk. Similar to the work of Mehmet Özçay here I am trying to create a relationship between the meaning of the text and the form of it. But here not the form of the letters but the interactivity takes a role to emphasize the meaning of the artwork. Here the author of the work has a plan to create an artwork by arranging the letters on space randomly. The decision is consciously made for arranging the letters randomly and the code is written by the author himself. However, what is interesting in here is this: beside the consciousness of the author for the work, he does not know the outcome and cannot determine the outcome of the work. So every time this code is run, a new artwork will be created without the knowledge of what will happen next.

If we take this issue to another level like the relationship of consciousness of a Muslim individual and his God, this artwork will also create another meaning. A Muslim individual accepts the superior knowledge of his God taken for granted. In the very moment this person interacts with this work, as clicking run button, he will also accept the idea that he will not be able to know the outcome of the work he is actively participating in but God knows the outcome of it. So again in here, he is the deciding unit without any power each time he encounter with the composition of letters that is leading his mind to tevafuk as a concept.

Conclusion

Before the last words, I would like to have a little explanation and criticism about this work.

When I re-examine the work what I see that I did not use reed pen writing which is defined as the obligatory rule for the Islamic Calligraphy tradition. Because, when the calligraphy scanned and uploaded, briefly when it is transferred to a different medium, it loses its qualification as Calligraphy and it becomes an image. However, I do not see this as an obstacle but an oppurtunity. This work itself can be a source for Islamic Calligraphers themselves to have an abstract composition.

What I admit in here is that, for naming this work as Islamic Calligraphy will be wrong according to the information that I am not a calligrapher. But this work also expands itself by using the basic elements of Islamic Calligraphy, so I would like to leave naming issue out to the masters of this art. The value of the work is not emphasized in here by naming it, but the effect of it.

In this research I tried to create an artwork that can be a pathway for Islamic Art, mainly for Islamic Calligraphy. I believe that these kind of synthesises can improve Islamic Art. Because New Media tools are much accessible more than ever and day by day they are becoming more easy to use. Accepting that Khatt itself is an abstract art, new kind of trials should be examined by using open source softwares. As Elif Şafak stated in her TED Talk6, it is not a big thing that we try but trying to drill little holes to a wall that surrounds us in order to see the other side.

Literature Review

While searching for an appropriate example that can be considered as New Media Art using an Islamic conceptual framework, I realized that there is not enough published materials dealing with both Islamic Arts and New Media Art. However, I came across with Enfoldment and Infinity – An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art written by Laura Marks and the website http://enfoldment.net/ created by Finn Brunton. 7Enfoldment.net explores specific concepts taken from Laura Marks’s book and turns them into artworks via Processing which is an open source programming platform created for artistic expression. Before examining the works on Enfoldment.net, aesthetics of enfolding and unfolding should be stated.

Marks takes Deleuze’s interpretation of Leibniz as the smallest unit of a matter is not a point but a fold. In this point, she builds an analogy between New Media Art and Islamic Art because in both, point establishes a relation with the whole universe. Moreover, Marks establishes a connection between Islamic Atomism which is developped by kalam theologians named Mu’tazila, especially by Abu al-Hasan as-Ash’ari (Basra, 873-935), further Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (1058-1111) and pixel-based graphics. Briefly, Islamic Atomism defines the universe as a composition of indivisible minimal parts and the accidents appear to them. For Al-Ash’ari, the knowledge about these accidents or the reasons behind them are not legible for human mind. Furhermore, Ghazzali refuses the significance of the reason but certain faith is a must to understand the process of dasein in the level of atoms based on the command of God. Explaining this point Marks quotes from Muhsin Mahdi as follows: “The atomistic world does not have its inner structure but emphasizes God’s activity at every point”.

Similarly, disappearence and appearance of every single frame on screen throughout a movie gives a direct analogy; the observer sacrifices these single frames for a greater subject. In that very moment, frames are not related to each other but they serve for a larger entity. Marks states that;

In terms of enfolding-unfolding aesthetics, atomism emphasizes the level of information, while refusing any claim on how it is related to (unfolded from) the level of the infinite. It demands faith.”

Building upon Islamic Atomism, the relationship between pixels and rhomboid mark on paper used in Islamic Calligraphy (Khatt) gives rise to another kind of analogy Marks described. ‘Abbasid geometer Ibn Muqla creates the proportions for calligraphy on a certain basis; using one little rhomboid mark on paper with a reed pen.8 Every letter has its own proportions based on this mark. The standardization of the calligraphy starts within the 10th century Baghdad, Abbasid capital, later this standardized form of the writing passes to Ottoman Empire. What is crucial here related to the New Media is the resemblance of the pixels on the screen and the rhomboid points in Khatt.First of all they are fixed and cannot be changed. Secondly these units are infinitesimal and there is nothing to unfold. Thirdly and the most importantly they create extensive infinity, by being capable of infinite iterations. The artists are capable of creating infinite variations by using algorithms. Although the software and the hardware, even the imagination of the artist is limited to the immanence of itself, this proceeds to a point very much close to infinity.

Highlighting this conceptual background, I would like to discuss one of the work that is available on Enfoldment.net. There are nine different works created by different artists. However I would like to explain one of them.

Collision Test” which can be accessed under the title of Rational Relationships on Enfoldment.net is the first work related to the book.9 Here the artist, Kim Asendorf creates an experimental sketch like a dynamic network refers to the explanations of the unfolding structure of Marks’. The algorithmic process of an artwork that is hidden reveals itself as the relationship between infinity, information and the image. The certain similarity can be read between the Islamic Architecture and New Media artworks.

laura

When it is analyzed, what can be observed in this specific work is the conceptual background finds its base on Laura Mark’s writings and these are built upon Islamic Genealogy. The standpoint of the other works on the website also have the same characteristic notion. The question rising here is if it is possible to identify this work as an Islamic Artwork? Although it is not the only reason, considering the artist statements on the website, we cannot talk about the possibility of naming these works as an Islamic Art piece because the artists themselves did not claimed that. Furthermore, what I am looking for is the collaboration of Islamic Calligraphy (Khatt) and Electronic Arts, so this work and the other works from various artist on the website cannot be efficent examples for this aim. On the other hand it can be defined as a good attempt to using Islamic Ideology for the sake of Islamic Art. Bearing in mind that this kind of background is possible, I would like to take this research to another point.

Going back to the main question, the possibility of merging Islamic Calligraphy and Processing, one thing should be stated about the Islamic Calligrahy. Islamic Calligraphy intrinsically has two elements which are indispensable; text and the form of it. If this is a trial for merging Processing and Islamic Calligraphy, both should be appear in the artwork. But how?

Locating the calligraphy itself, as it is, into Processing screen may not be a logical solution. Imitation of the existent and familiar forms by replacing the art into the digital media still existing.10 Starting from this point new set of questions have arised. If Processing is used as a medium of the artwork, how should it be used? Can playing with the text or forms will be appropriate? Or will it be possible to define the artwork still as Islamic Calligraphy or it is now bunch of Arabic letters? For the sake of setting up the borders of the research, I would like to give different thoughts on text and the form association.

Oliver Leaman examines how to analyze an Islamic Calligraphy in his work named Islamic Aesthetics An Introduction. Leaman briefly describes that the relationship between the form of the calligraphy and the text can be merely interconnected. The observer who does not know how to speak Arabic can easily enjoy Islamic Calligraphy just because of its refine abstract form. Moreover the letters themselves are so unique and they serve for the beauty of the calligraphy even the meaning of the text is not a sacred but an ordinary one. 11

On the other hand, describing specificly the artist who are using Islamic Calligraphy elements in their works, İrvin Cemil Schick critisizes the way how Islamic Calligraphy’s form is over estimated more than its meaning. Indicating several artists’ names, Schick quotes from Nan Freeman and states that attempts for creating a new artwork by using the elements of Islamic Calligraphy is like usage of newspaper by Cubist Artists; meaning is detached from the form, moreover writing can be located reversely if it is needed. 12

During this research, I had a chance to have an interview with Irvin Cemil Schick 13and he clarified that he considerably open to the new artworks from different Muslim artist because he believes that using Islamic Calligraphy helps these artist to identify themselves and represent themselves in a different ways comparing to the other mediums. Addition to this, he claims that in order to enjoy Islamic Calligraphy one cannot separate the form and the meaning. He says; “I am a mathematician and I enjoy solving problems but this may not mean to any other person. If you would like to enjoy Islamic Calligraphy, you should understand that. All of them are meaningful in a cultural matrix that you cannot simply leave out.”

What is a fact that cannot be rejected is the quantity of Islamic Calligraphers who are working traditionally is more than the ones that are trying create a new way. Icazet is the name of the system of ratification in the traditional calligraphy education. After a certain time and practice when the master decides that the student is ready to work by him/herself, he let his/her student work independently and the education is over then. This degree is important in traditional education of Calligraphy because students generally traces the same pathway after their masters. By this way, the knowledge for a certain technique is preserved. Even in a country like Turkey of which language is transformed to a new language using Latin Alphabet, the significant value attributed to the traditional education enables this art to live. So the ideas of the Islamic Calligraphy masters are valuable in order to determine a way that can be perceived as new. For this reason, I conducted in-depth interviews with several Islamic Calligraphy Artists (Khattats), mainly asking them what they are thinking about the future of the Islamic Calligraphy, in order to understand the borders more precisely so that the reason I wrote this paper can be more respectful.

Firstly, I had a meeting with Payman Hamed via Skype. Payman Hamed is a Persian Calligrapher and Art Instructor born in 1975. Coming from a Calligrapher family, he has been writing calligraphy since he is 6 years old. He lives in Los Angeles, California and delivers his art all around the world via his website persiancalligraphy.org.14

Payman Hamed sees Islamic Calligraphy as a music and claims that text and form are detachable like lyrics and the sound itself in a song. Because he lives and mainly distributing his artworks in US, he encounters that generally the beholders do not know the meaning of a work but Hamed gives little texts and tells them what this artwork means and what this artwork is about. He approaches this issue positively and thinks that giving this knowledge to the people himself and waiting for the observer to discover the meaning lying behind the form is exciting for them. Although he thinks that there are conventional codes that is needed for the pleasement of the eye, he is prone to try new ways and think about the aesthetics beside the meaning. Because for him, not only the meaning of the text but also the form itself (the shadows, curves, coloring and with many other aspects) is essential for the interpretation of the observer and he adds; “Essence is the voice”.

He is using a computer for specific arrangements of the letters and says that using a computer for a certain organization of the letters can be made on paper but using a computer reduces the time for creating another artwork. “Like using a calculator”he says, “you should know mathematics to use it, so it is not cheating”. When I ask him about how I can classify an artwork created in Processing, he takes this idea one step back and reminds me that if I have an attempt like this, I must have the certain knowledge to practice Islamic Callligraphy and then try to do this. “It is like saying keyboard killed the music, even for the keyboard, you need a base knowledge. If you have it and you try this, why can not it be classified as Khatt?”, he says.

My second interviewee was Mehmet Özçay who has been working as Islamic Calligrapher (Khattat) approximately thirty years.15 His colorful Jali style stands out easily among the others. He uses dilute color inks that enables the movement of the reed pen to be seen. His calligraphic panels are in different script styles are currently in various museums and personal collections all over the world.

Özçay thinks that an art-lover is independent from the relationship of the form and the meaning of the text. However, knowing the meaning of the text is always creating more value for the observer. Considering the evolution of the Islamic Calligraphy, he believes that this evolution was possible because of the importance of the text that is sacred, that is Holy Quran. He, himself also do not like the repetition of the artworks created before but he is stressing the point that the knowledge about classical, traditional calligraphy must be a base for new attempts. Most importantly, he says that the forms of the each letter have evolved to a point that is perfect now. He says; “It is not possible to capture this certainn form by using a brush. It must be a reed pen.”

When we discuss about some of artworks created by the painters/calligraphers using Islamic Calligraphy elements, he continues; “I am not against the new styles but by the time you distort the form of the letters, these works cannot be considered as Khatt anymore. They are something else now.”

Another issue that is highly important for this research that is defined by Özçay was the attempt of relating the form of the text and the meaning of the text. It is the attempt of the organizing the letters on the paper in order to support the meaning. Özçay describes this attempt as an hard work but not impossible. Furthermore when it is done, the form itself also give the meaning of the text in another way. However, trying to catch such a supporting notion of the form causes the artwork look cheezy.

Thirdly I had chance to have an interview with Gürkan Pehlivan who was a student of Fuat Başar who is one of the most admired masters both in calligraphy and marbling. 16In the very beginning, Mr. Pehlivan stated that any kind of artwork that will be created upon this valuable history of Khatt should be respectful to the traditional aspects of Khatt and should not lead this art to corruption. When saying that, he was actually emphasizing the mastery level of the ones lived and worked for this art such a long time. “There is castle we have”, he says; “We can paint it, we can put another brick on the walls of this castle”. Actually he was very enthusiastic while he was telling me that even steel can be used for Khatt and can be installed in to a mosque. Emphasizing the reed pen as I have encountered with the other interviewees, Mr. Pehlivan states that the development of this art is very attached to its culture and certain rituals. “Primary rule of writing is reading of it. If you have any value of readibility, any kind of process for development of this art will be more proper”, he says.

Moreover, he believes that a foreigner to Islamic Culture can enjoy from Islamic Calligraphy only as an ornament. But one thing that should not be forgotten in here is these writings actually refer always to another meaning. Not all, but mostly the letters in Arabic refers to various kind of symbols. He says that; “knowing the context of this symbols can create a sparkle in the mind of the beholder.” What can be deduced here is the meaning and the text are unseparatable in terms of contextual knowledge.

Lastly, I had came up with a name advised me by different calligraphers, Assistan Professor Savaş Çevik.17 He has been working as a calligrapher since 1974 and still working on it. He attended more than 70 different exhibitions and had 22 personal exhibitions. Beside, he has been writing articles, giving lessons and taking part in different conferences.

Dr. Çevik admits that using computer programs helps a lot to a calligrapher and this is a very effective way to finish an artwork as soon as possible. But also this art is threatened by the distortion of the letters. “People are using Khatt as an ornament sometimes, it bothers me”, he says and contiues, “It is effective to use computers but the craftsmanship of the work leaves behind, so everybody use it without knowing its value.”

Like Irvin Cemil Schick, he also thinks that new trials created by artists for the sake of expressing and defining himself should not be blocked. Because Khatt is a huge art genre so every kind of artist can find a place for himself. Moreover he adds, “Khatt is an abtract art form, it can be regarded as modern, what is classic in here is the anatomy of a letter and the education.”

After our meeting, Dr. Çevik shared few articles with me that he wrote about this issue. One of these articles is named as; “Hat Sanatımızdaki Klasik ve Modern Uygulamalar Hakkında Bazı Düşünceler”18 and can be translated as; “Thoughts on Classical and Modern Practices of Khatt Art”.

In this article he actually draws certain lines which can be used as a tool for this research to categorize an Khatt work as modern or classical by enumerating them. Here I would like include few of the clauses he enumerated which are relevant to this discussion.

In the 3rd clause, he states that Khatt as a practice modern or classic should be created by Khattat, otherwise it may not be considered as Khatt.

In the 4th clause, he claims that any kind of mixture of arts with Khatt, whether it is with classical or modern, it must be analyzed in a different point so cannot be considered as modern Khatt.

In the 13th clause, he states that any kind of text that is repeated, except the symmetrical arrangements, can be regarded as Modern Khatt.

In the 15th clause, what Dr. Çevik claims that artworks which do not include any meaningful text can be regarded as Modern Khatt.

So, interpretations from all these published materials and interviews can be stated as below:

If there is a trial purposing a new path for Islamic Calligraphy, reed pen is an obligatory medium to use, and the person using it should have his/her mastery in Islamic Calligraphy.

Secondly, meaning and text although can be seen as unseparatable, considering the perception of the beholder and the level of joy from the artwork, meaning and text are unseparatable. Although a single letter defines a certain level of knowledge, it is very attached to the cultural context.

Thirdly, form of the text may improve the affect of the meaning of the text in certain conditions. However, this kind of aim sometimes may end up with a very unauthentic solution while arranging the letters on paper.

And lastly, if the discussion is about New Media, it is for sure that the artwork should be level ahead of being a still image on the screen.

1Colline Milliard. “The Middle East “Has Been More or Less Culturally Moribund for Hundreds of Years,” Says Art & Patronage Summit Director,”www.artinfo.com, http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/755972/middle-eastern-art-is-500-years-behind-says-art-patronage-summit-director (accessed January 20, 2012).

3Mehmet Özçay, “Galeri”, http://ozcay.com/galeri/mehmed#50, (accessed January 20, 2012).

4İsmail Kara, “Dil/Tevafuk,” http://www.farklar.net/Dil/tevafuk.html, (accessed January 20, 2012).

5Sabancı University Master of Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design Student

6Elif Şafak, “Talks,” http://www.ted.com/talks/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fiction.html, (accessed January 20, 2012).

7Laura U. Marks, Enfoldment and Inifinity – An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2010)

8Sheila S. Blair, Islamic Calligraphy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), page: 56.

9Finn Brunton, “Rational Relationships”, Manners of Unfolding, http://enfoldment.net/6-1/, (accessed January 20, 2012)

10Lanfranco Aceti, “What if the Only Legacy of New Media Is a Static Image? The Curatorial Struggle in Preserving New Media’s Aesthetics and Art Practices.”www.LanfrancoAceti.com July 10, 2009. http://www.lanfrancoaceti.com/pdf/legacy_new_media.pdf (accessed January 20, 2012).

11Oliver Leaman, İslam Estetiğine Giriş (İstanbul: Küre Yayınları, 2010), pages: 60 and 78.

12İrvin Cemil Schick, Bedeni, Toplumu, Kainatı Yazmak (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2011), pages: 51 and 55.

13İrvin Cemil Schick, personal interview, İstanbul, December 2011.

14Payman Hamed, personal interview via Skype, İstanbul, November, 2011

15Mehmet Özçay, personal interview, İstanbul, November, 2011

16Gürkan Pehlivan, personal interview, İstanbul, December, 2011

17Savaş Çevik, personal interview, İstanbul, December, 2011

18Savaş Çevik, “Hat Sanatımızdaki Klasik ve Modern Uygulamalar Hakkında Bazı Düşünceler” (paper presented at Hüsn-i Hat Buluşması, Cemal Reşit Rey Konser Salonu, October 28, 2007).

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