May you be happy at the gardens of Paradise
Step inside and remain there for all eternity.
(From the preserved lintel inscription at the main entrance)
Alatza İmaret constitutes a typical example of a monument that has been embraced by and fully assimilated in the urban fabric. Throughout the centuries, the monument has been used by a great number of ethnically and socially diverse people – their diversity aptly reflecting the multicolored decoration of its old minaret.
The Beforelight group has focused on the monument’s Here and Now, while also nostalgically reminiscing about its historical references. The QR-esque lighting installation recalls the “arabesque” technique of decoration, which is frequently used in Islamic architecture, while also conversing with the lace patterns used in traditional Greek weaving. The image of QR codes is a modern manifestation of this repetitive, web-like pattern. Furthermore, just as arabesque in Islamic art becomes a visual expression of the Eastern tradition’s worldview, and the fabrics in traditional Greek weaving teem with the scents and experiences of many generations, the QR code cherishes information about the modern world. At this point, light takes the lead. Artificial light sources replace the sun, imitating the infinite game of light and shadow, just like the repetitive geometric patterns of Islamic art flirted with the prying sunbeams. The Beforelight group met the people living near Alatza İmaret, who can steal glances of the monument by simply looking from behind their curtains. Using the art of photography, Beforelight captured images and moments of the human geography of the neighborhood. The history of the monument engages in a dialogue with the personal stories of the people who experience it in the course of their daily lives.
Using their QR code-enabled cell phones, visitors can “read” the images of the people living in the Alatza İmaret neighborhood and their relationship with the monument.Upon seeing these images, visitors realize that the gardens of Paradise are present Here and Now.
3D image: Haris Heizanoglou
The Beforelight group collaborated with the photographer Stefanos Tsakiris, who specializes in digital photography and handmade art printing (3w.stefanostsakiris.com).
Α Greek-based creative group that carries out artistic experiments with the use of light. The team members use expertise from architectural and stage lighting design, while BEFORELIGHT group creates light installations and light art happenings in order to present the dynamic nature of light. BEFORELIGHT have installed their work in open public spaces of cities like Thessaloniki, Volos, Athens, Rotterdam and Chania. Additionally, they have presented their work in art exhibitions, such as the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival-Street Cinema, the Video Art Festival in Athens, as well as the Theocharakis Foundation, the Benaki Museum’s Café, the Museumnacht in Rotterdam and the foyer of the Acropolis Museum. Their latest public art interventions are the light installation for the action Syn-oikia Pittaki and the project Oh my CAD! for the White Tower in Thessaloniki. BEFORELIGHT conceptualizes, designs and applies light art and design, in an effort to encourage public collective experience with natural or artificial light. They follow a process which takes site specificity into account, along with the innovative use of old and new lighting devices. BEFORELIGHT members are: Eliza Alexandropoulou, Dimitra Aloutzanidou, Cristina Ampatzidou, Konstantina Evangelou, Kelly Efraimidou, Dimitris Theocharoudis, Maria Lazaridou, Vasilis Ntovros, and Eirini Steirou.