Orkan Telhan is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and researcher whose investigations focus on the design of interrogative objects, interfaces, and media, engaging with critical issues in social, cultural, and environmental responsibility. Telhan is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts - Emerging Design Practices at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design. He holds a Ph.D. in Design and Computation from MIT's Department of Architecture. He was part of the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Laboratory and the Mobile Experience Lab at the MIT Design Laboratory. He studied Media Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo and theories of media and representation, visual studies, and graphic design at Bilkent University, Ankara. Telhan's individual and collaborative work has been exhibited in venues including the 13th Istanbul Biennial, 1st Istanbul Design Biennial, Ars Electronica, ISEA, LABoral, Archilab, Architectural Association, the Architectural League of New York, MIT Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.
A Now for Menam
A Now for MENAM integrates various historical and contemporary practices of time keeping across the cultural geography of Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Instead of unifying the different time zones and calendar systems used within this vast geography, the calendar offers a set of discursive perceptions and experiences of time embedded within different cultural artifacts and symbolisms—jokes, recipes, news, or visualizations of high-frequency trading. The application brings together the slow and the fast, the personal and the social, the past and the future and algorithmically curates a 'now' to be shared across MENAM.
"The calendar offers a set of discursive perceptions and experiences of time embedded within different cultural artifacts and symbolisms—jokes, recipes, news, or visualizations of high-frequency trading"
The calendar works as a mobile application that delivers images, videos, information or text from different archives and online sources. The format refers to the calendars published in Turkey since 1900s known as the "educational calendar with time" (Turkish: Saatli Maarif Takvimi). These calendars offer a daily digest of practical information—quotes, recipes, remedies, suggested names for newborns—as well information about significant events from the past. A Now for MENAM offers a contemporary take on this format and offers a critical commentary on the periodicity, synchronicity and the continuity of temporal experiences in an intellectual geography shaped by a multitude of social, cultural, and political experiences. The calendar also functions as a temporal navigator for the CULTURERUNNERS RV and customizes its content based on the RV's travel routes.