SPARKED: Atif Akin, Professor of Visual Arts

Mason Gross School artists discuss the elements that fuel their work


I think that the most inspirational things in life are people, especially when they come together and take action to transform something. Like revolutions or civil rights movements or occupy movements... It is very much like art, if not art itself. They might be loud and distracting at the time. Furthermore their transformative power does not only inspire but also sets the conditions to renovate the thinking and working grounds. They beget the moments when life is more interesting than art and this provokes me to think again about what else can be done.


In spite of all the devastation and frustration that disasters bring along, they can also be seen as the commonwealth of our collective conscious. They mobilize masses, creating social movements, so they are political and intriguing at a personal narrative level.


Teaching is one of the most socially engaged and inspiring acts. It requires systematic thinking, a contextual definition, research and presentation and each of these stages evokes different paths creating a very rhizomic chain of thought.


They work on solid systems to acquire meaning despite being made of “meaningless” elements. Abstract but workable. Equal temperament is a very good example of such systems. These systems, like philosophy, provide a poetic methodology to reach truth. Analysis of these methods allows one to apply them for various modes of creation and visual arts is one of them.


These films are the substances of the mechanical image culture. Whatever type of mechanically reproducible image type that you are dealing with—photography, video, data-driven, motion graphics etc.—they all reflect timeless audio/visual strategies for the most effective expression.


The sea is a dynamic, smooth space that contains all the traces of time and presents them to its explorers who constantly navigate. The sea and thoughts are in constant flux and in interaction with each other.The continuum of getting far on water iterates memories and ideas, forming a creative loop almost like waves and tides.

Posted April 2015