Graduate

Obtaining the Master of Art degree of the VACD program at Sabancı University involves a 4 semester long period of rigorous study which combines studio work in art, design or theoretical study related to these fields, and which form the three main tracks of the program. The degree requirement is a fully articulated studio project or a written theoretical dissertation which revolves around a cohesive query, concept or topic that can be applied to at least one of the three areas of investigation of the program, and which as a finalized product is expected to be presented to a jury at the end of studies.

While students may choose to remain solely within any of the three main tracks indicated above, due to the increased nature of hybridization in the overall field of art, design and related theory we also make provisions for hybrid projects/written theses which spread themselves out over two or more of these fields, or combine the expertise and methodologies of them into novel outcomes which reside at their intersections.

Our faculty is comprised of a small but strongly committed group of individuals, whose output and recognition well extends into the international arena of art, design and theory; and a significant number of whom can profess to hybrid expertise and interest areas that lie at the convergence points of several related, but nonetheless distinct, fields. In the expandable/collapsible listings below you will find an overview of our individual areas of proficiency, our work media, and the creative/research topics as well as the theoretical areas which especially interest us or relate to us. Please navigate through them in order to find out more about us and the educational opportunities of our program. 

Graduate admission deadline is April 29, 2016.

For further information about Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design Graduate  Program, please contact Program Coordinator Onur Yazıcıgil (oyazicigil@sabanciuniv.edu)

Faculty Members (in alphabetical order)

Erdağ Aksel

ERDAĞ AKSEL received his degree in Fine Arts from West Virginia University’s Creative Arts Center. After working in Bilkent University for ten years, he joined as founding faculty member of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sabanci University. He has had many solo exhibitions in Turkey, U.S.A., Poland and UK. Aksel’s work has also been featured in the (2nd) Istanbul Biennial, (45th) Venice Biennale, and has contributed to numerous group exhibitions in Turkey, U.S.A, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, Hungary and Japan.

Erdağ Aksel’s works are in various private collections as well as in museums such as Istanbul Modern and Tate Modern.
Website: http://www.nesneler.com/

Lanfranco Aceti

LANFRANCO ACETI works as an academic, artist and curator. He is also a Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths College, department of Art and Computing, London and the Editor in Chief of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (the MIT Press, Leonardo journal and ISAST).

Lanfranco Aceti was the Artistic Director and Conference Chair for ISEA2011 Istanbul, and currently works as the gallery director at Kasa Gallery in Istanbul. He has a Ph.D. from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. His work has been published in journals such as Leonardo and Art Inquiry and his interdisciplinary research focuses on the intersection between digital arts, visual culture and new media technologies. He has worked as an Honorary Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, Virtual Reality Environments at University College London, exhibited works at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London and done digital interventions at TATE Modern, The Venice Biennale, MoMA, Neue Nationalgalerie, the ICA and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Previously an Honorary Research Fellow at the Slade School of Fine Art, Dr. Aceti has also worked as an AHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, School of History of Art, Film & Visual Media and as Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and he supervises Ph.D. students at Goldsmiths College together with Professor Janis Jefferies.

Lanfranco Aceti’s theoretical work and artistic interests are in contemporary art, visual culture, inter-semiotic translations between classic media and new media, contemporary digital hybridization processes, avant-garde film and new media studies and their practice-based applications in the field of fine arts.
Website: http://www.lanfrancoaceti.com/

Selçuk Artut

SELÇUK ARTUT lives and works in İstanbul. He has received his BSc in Mathematics from Koç University, Istanbul and his MA in Sonic Arts from Middlesex University, London. He has received his PhD on Philosophy of Media Communications. Currently, he is teaching Sound, Interaction, Philosophy of Technology, Art, and Culture courses at Sabancı University as a full-time faculty member.

His artistic activities are mainly focused on contemporary media practices on human technology interactivity. Artut is artistically represented by Galllery Zilberman, Istanbul
Website: http://www.selcukartut.com/

Elif Ayiter

ELİF AYİTER is an artist, a designer and a researcher, working at Sabanci University FASS since 2001.

Her investigations for both creative work as well as research are focused upon 3D virtual worlds, creative identity, avatars and Play. In her virtual incarnation as Alpha Auer, she is a well known fashion designer for unisex avatar appearance in Second Life. She has transformed the creative activity and theoretical frameworks involved in her virtual fashion store ‘alpha.tribe’ into academic publications in journals such as the Journal of Consciousness Studies, IJACDT and Technoetic Arts, as well as book chapters which she has authored and that are mostly based upon the query of virtual identity and creativity within the context of avatars and virtual worlds.

She has presented creative as well as research output at conferences including Siggraph, Creativity and Cognition, Computational Aesthetics, ISEA, ArtsIT, Consciousness Reframed, Towards a Science of Consciousness, SPIE, and Cyberworlds. More recently her art work has been shown at Tomorrow City, Korea (2010); [SPACE] Gallery, London (2011), ‘ISEA2011 Uncontainable/Hyperstrata’ at Kasa Gallery in Istanbul (2011) and the French National Museum of Costume (2011).

Elif Ayiter is the chief editor of the journal Metaverse Creativity with Intellect Journals, UK. She is currently studying for a doctoral degree at the Planetary Collegium, CAiiA hub, at the University of Plymouth with Roy Ascott.

Elif Ayiter’s areas of creative activity and theoretical writing are in 3D virtual worlds, avatars, blogging, creative writing, cybernetics, art educational theories, multiple creative identities/selves (pseudonyms and heteronyms), ‘play,’ ‘produsage’ (collaborative virtual creativity), and virtual appearance and fashion.
Websites: http://www.citrinitas.com/ , http://www.alphauer.com/

Selim Birsel

SELİM BİRSEL has obtained a Certificate in Graduate Study at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques, Paris and B.F.A., M.A. from Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble/ France. A professional visual artist working with diverse media such as drawing, painting, installation, photography, video, performance, he has been exhibiting his works in national and international shows since 1990. Selim Birsel also involved in curatorial activities: He has been responsible for organizing and curating Sabanci University’s KASA GALLERY between 1999-2010, and he is a directing member of BJCEM since 1999. He currently teaches art studio visual arts (undergraduate and master degree) classes.

Selim Birsel's latest shows include "The Jester, Flaneur, The Gardener and The Cook” (solo),  “A Conceptual Heritage”, İstanbul 2011, “Abbara Kadabra”, Mardin Bienali 2010, “Backyard” 2009 İstanbul (solo), “Section” 2009 Diyarbakır (solo), “In and Out of Istanbul” 2008 Philadelphia, “Time Present Time Past, highlights from 20 years of the International Istanbul biennial" 2007 Istanbul, "Modern and Beyond" 2007 Istanbul,
"Curetting: Open City (Yoko Ono)" 2007, "Empty Speech (3 Artists from Beirut)" 2008 Istanbul, “Şebeke” (Video Exhibition of Turkish Artist) 2010 Maison des Arts Geoges Pompidou, Cajarc, France.

Selim Birsel’s areas of creative interest are drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, music, making exhibition, contemporary art history and modernity.
Website: http://www.selimbirsel.com/

Murat Germen

MURAT GERMEN is an artist using photography as tool of expression. He holds an MArch from M.I.T. and received the AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal. His articles and photo series are published in various journals, magazines and books, presented in conferences such as SIGGRAPH, ISEA, Mutamorphosis, TSC, CAe, CAC2, EVA-London, eCAADe, ASCAAD. Murat Germen participated at nearly fifty inter/national solo/group exhibitions and his work is displayed at venues such as C.A.M. Gallery (Turkey), ARTITLED! Contemporary Art (Netherlands-Belgium), Rosier Gallery (USA). About fifty editions of his artworks are in personal/institutional collections inter/nationally, and some are sold at Sotheby’s, Christie’s auctions.(http://www.artnet.com/artists/murat-germen/past-auction-results).

Murat Germen’s areas of creative interest are art, photography, computational art, digital art, art & technology, interfaces, visual culture and theory, visual representation, architecture, urban planning, blogging, creative writing, and concept development.
Website: http://www.muratgermen.com/

Stephanie Paine

STEPHANIE PAINE teaches photography history, experimental video and studio classes at FASS. A photography and video artist, she holds an MFA degree from Purdue University where she researched the use of video as a perceptual device. Her work has been shown at the annual Digital Graffiti Festival in Florida, Tütün Deposu in Istanbul, and File Magazine Online. She specializes in pinhole photography and camera building techniques. Her latest photographic work focuses on the physical effects of the degradation of a small town, and she is currently exploring the phenomenological relationships between human and animal experience.

Stephanie Paine’s artistic interest include pinhole photography, video, and photographing interior spaces; and her theoretical work focuses on the phenomena of the body and the use of technology as a perceptual device.
Website: http://stephaniepaine.com/

Bratislav Pantelic

BRATISLAV PANTELIC is an art historian and theorist. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania (1994). He was awarded prestigious fellowships such as CASVA, Mellon, Dumbarton Oaks and Kolb. At FASS he teaches courses in the history and theory of visual arts and architecture. Bratislav Pantelic has published on diverse subjects ranging from the interaction of architectural style and political ideology in the Middle Ages and the role of the visual arts, design and architecture in nationalism, identity formation and cultural policies in Central and Southeastern Europe. Recent publications include articles in Journal of Design History and Nations and Nationalism.

Bratislav Pantelic's areas of interest include: visual arts, design, architecture, religion, politics, ideologies, nationalism, identity.
Website: http://people.sabanciuniv.edu/~pantelic/

Maryse Posenaer

MARYSE POSENAER is teaching several art history classes that focus on 19th and 20th centuries. Before Sabancı University, she worked at several institutions such as METU (Ankara), EMU (Famagousta Cyprus) and İTU (Istanbul). Maryse Posenaer has a BA in sociology from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Brussels) and a MA & PHD Candidate in History of Art from the University of California at Berkeley. Her primary focus is art education, but she is also very much interested in museum work, in particular with students’ various practical use of art history knowledge at Sabancı University’s Sakıp Sabancı Museum.

Maryse Posenaer’s interests are 19th and 20th century Western art; 19th century Ottoman art, art and women; art and museums; socio-cultural conditions of art practice. 

Yoong Wah Alex Wong

YOONG WAH ALEX WONG is a media artist and designer. He obtained his MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia, USA. His courses are in digital modeling, computer animation, digital video, motion graphics and arts. Alex Wong was the Animation and Academic Event director for ISEA2011 and received numerous honors such as the International Photography Award (IPA), PX3 Award, The Spider Award, Worlds Photographic Award and the Worldwide Photography Gala Award. He gave practical photography, video and computer animation seminars and workshops at academic institutions such as University of Bremen, Germany, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. His artworks have been showcased internationally, at venues in Brazil, France, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Turkey and USA.

Yoong Wah Alex Wong’s areas of creative interest are computer animation, video, motion graphics and arts, and Photography.
Website: http://myweb.sabanciuniv.edu/alexw/

Onur Yazıcıgil

ONUR YAZICIGİL is a visual communication designer with an emphasis on typography and type design. He received his MFA in visual communications design from Purdue University where he researched the evolution of humanist and grotesque types. He won the first prize in typographic excellence in 2007 from the Society of Typographic Arts in Chicago, and his posters were exhibited in the United States, Italy, South Korea and Turkey. He gave talks at TypeCon and ATypI and lectured on various topics in typography. His latest humanist sanserif typeface, Duru Sans was bought by Google to be used in the Google Webfonts directory. Onur Yazıcıgil is teaching visual communication studio classes, typography, and advanced illustration. He is the co-creator of ISType™ (Istanbul Type Seminars) as well as a board member of ATypI™ (Association Typographique Internationale).
Website: http://onuryazicigil.com/

Wieslaw Zaremba

WIESLAW ZAREMBA received his MFA and PhD from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland, where he continued his career as lecturer until 1997. Following employment at Bilkent University for two years he joined Sabancı University in 2000. He developed student and faculty exchange programs between Sabanci University and the Lodz Film School, the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Gdansk and Rome.

Wieslaw Zaremba is a professional artist working with media such as drawing, painting, photography, lithography. In over 35 years, his work received national and international distinctions including a first price in painting in Gdansk Art Biennale in 1986, a Bene Merito distinction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland for promoting Polish art abroad in 2010, with exhibitions in Germany, Holland. France. Italy, Belgium, Turkey, Norway, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, USA and Poland. Zaremba’s works are in various private collections mostly in Germany, Norway as well as in the Bremen Graphotek, and the National Museum in Gdansk. His curatorial activities are mostly in the academic world, including the student art gallery `Baszta` and the professional Drawing Gallery `Nowa Oficyna` in Gdansk. He also serves in the committee of Sabanci University’s FASS Art Gallery, since 2001.

Wieslaw Zaremba’s interests lie in teaching, documentary photography, drawing on paper glued on canvas, mixed media and oil painting.
Website: http://myweb.sabanciuniv.edu/zaremba/

Michael Bishop

“By no means am I interested in developing worksthat feign contemporary science and technology, however I am very interested in the slippage between fields of inquiry.” More precisely, Michael Bishop is interested in building collaborations with faculty and graduate students in other disciplines including - Anthropology, Engineering, Bioscience, Architecture, Agriculture and Art & Design. His studio practice has roots in the Funk and Anti-War movements of 1960s and ‘70s San Francisco. Holding an MFA from San Jose State University, his mentors included Fred Martin and Bruce Conner.

Among the awards he received are: California Arts Council Fellowship; National Endowment For the Arts Grant; John Michael Kohler Arts & Industry Residency; Kurtz Art & Technology Residency, Wertheim, Germany; Guest Artist Residency, Akademie für Bikdende Künste Johannes Gutenberg Universitat, Mainz, Germany. Currently exhibiting at Limn Gallery San Francisco, he has completed public art works in California and Colorado. Bishop chairs the Department of Art & Art History at California State University, Chico.

Areas of Study

Building blocks: Creative New Media Practice

While our program’s faculty is well endowed in offering instruction and expertise in traditional media which needs no further introduction (such as painting, drawing, sculpture in fine art, and graphic design, typography and the like in design) we would specifically like to draw attention to new media technologies which we routinely integrate into the creative and theoretical output.

New media technologies and practices have become a field which today’s artists and designers cannot avoid all too easily in their work. The state of the current technologies and their social effects has deeply changed not only our practical, day-to-day lives but also our conceptions as well as our perceptions. Indeed this change is likely to have caused one of the fastest transitions that human kind has ever undergone. The critical aspect of this condition is that this transition will keep accelerating as computational and telematic technologies and devices proliferate at an exponential rate. At Sabancı University’s VACD program we pay great attention to this transitory situation and ensure that our art and design students are endowed with the capacities to cope with this circumstance. This is where the term new media is a key, and the alphabetical list below will show you the main areas upon which we focus upon within this term.

Important Note: All of the following new media fields/technologies should be considered as the areas of implementation, or the structural components of a full master’s thesis project which involves a concept, an idea or a narrative in which these building blocks are utilized; and which falls under the jurisdiction of one of the three main tracks of our program – Visual Art, Visual Communication Design or Theory of Creative Practice - or possibly also as a hybrid of two or more of these three main tracks. 

. 3D Modeling and Computer Animation are inseparable as they are closely link to each other. Besides learning and understanding the digital modeling tools, ways of modeling, modeling techniques, modeling for animation, character design, rigging and other phases, students who wish to focus on this research area will generate an animated short film to support the under-researched discipline of animation theory. Exploratory research practice is encouraged. In its interdisciplinary approach, this study field addresses both artistic practice and theory in Arts & Media, Design and Visual Culture. While projects may vary, students may also implement 3D animation on various multimedia and creative practice projects.  
Related Faculty: Yoong Wah Alex Wong.

. 3D Virtual Worlds, Gaming and Virtual Reality: Online virtual worlds as well as self-enclosed/offline virtual reality systems present many vistas for creative work as well as theoretical research: When it comes to creative activity they involve many aspects of visual design, including virtual architecture, the creation of virtual interiors and geographies, issues related to ambience such as lighting, and character creation, coming about through avatar appearances. In terms of the theoretical aspects surrounding these spaces some of the issues revolve around fields and topics such as Presence, immersion, virtual reality, Play, virtual economics, produsage, collaborative creativity, ludology, narratology, virtual identity, cyberpsychology and cyberpsychology.
Related Faculty: Elif Ayiter.

. Augmented Reality is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented), by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Augmented Reality has been coming into prominence as a tool for artistic expression as well as a part of design solutions particularly through the proliferation of hand held devices such as smart phones through which computational interventions into the display of reality can be undertaken with relative ease.
Related Faculty: Selçuk Artut, Ekmel Ertan.

. Information Art is a practice of art that has been influenced extensively by computer technology, and some contemporary forms of art such as performance art, visual art, and conceptual art. The information art courses offered at Sabancı University course reviews several conceptualizations of the relations between art and technology. Related Faculty: Selçuk Artut, Ekmel Ertan.

. Info Graphics: Information that surrounds us in today’s complex world faces the risk of ambiguity. How can we identify this multi-layered information and clarify its form? What are the most effective ways to describe and explore natural and man-made worlds, and help ease the complex procedure of information design? What types of methodologies are used to analyze and communicate statistical information, and bring order to the built environment through graphical elements? This field explores the nature and conventions of information design, and its long-established ground-rules. Visual concepts of information graphics are explored such as, color and visual hierarchy, visual economy, layering and separation, data ink-ratio and data density.
Related Faculty: Elif Ayiter, Onur Yazıcıgil.

. Interaction Design has a main focus on behavior of human action with interactive systems. The interaction design courses offered at Sabancı University VACD program aim to focus upon contemporary digital materials such as software, electronics and internet. Thus, the main concerns of this field involve creating low level solutions - tools, protocols, etc. - to let people and machines talk to each other for any given purpose. Students work on common hardware and software methods and tools to understand the medium and to design their own interfaces for their design or art projects.
Related Faculty: Selçuk Artut, Ekmel Ertan.

. Interface Design: Interfaces rule how people interact with their environment and link audiences to any informative material to be conveyed. Interfaces are mediators between input and output. The simpler the interface is, the less time we will waste in interaction and hopefully the more time we will spare for our personal interests / leisure. The objective of the interface design master’s thesis work is to inspire students to construct innovative ideas independent of physical, cultural, educational constraints. Cross-platform thinking is endorsed and inventive exercises like making students who are not educated as architects create visions for architecture are envisioned. Our approach encourages students to integrate daily life experience into their design philosophy, be pro-active and feel responsible in finding solutions for the improvement of daily interfaces. Interface design is about creating contextual conversations between human and machines through new interfaces or by reusing the existing interface methods to give information, tell stories, or express ourselves. These interfaces can be either screen based or physical installations, which in many cases also undertake to offer playful user experiences.
Related Faculty: Murat Germen, Ekmel Ertan.

. Motion Graphics/Arts: Motion Graphics and Arts are designed as non-narrative, non-figurative based visuals that change over time. A misleadingly simple explanation of motion graphics would be "graphic design in motion." The distinction of non-narrative, non-figurative based visuals is to separate motion graphics from the larger general definition of animation or film. Motion Graphics and Arts often incorporate video, film, animation, photography, illustration, and music. The boundaries of these related art forms are difficult to delineate, especially with multimedia works: for example; how sequential images, forms of communication and application of Motion Graphics and Arts to related disciplines in motion picture, creative multimedia, video art and installation can be further researched in this distinctive area? This practical research question should be composed and supported by theoretical writing and analysis, conceptual development documentation, technical and artistic implementation toward the final thesis submission.  
Related Faculty: Yoong Wah Alex Wong.

. Photography: Documentary or fictional, photography is indeed a tool of individual testimony. This fact should not prevent photography from making novel worlds from scratch, in addition to representing, interpreting, and sharing already existing worlds. Photography is a very powerful communication apparatus and the increasing use of it in contemporary art proves this fact. New possibilities of content creation, dissemination and printing after digital image making / processing instruments, enabled photography to develop a distinctive aesthetic in the artistic realm. The photography courses offered at Sabancı University VACD program aim to form a sound basis for individuals motivated to be visionary creators using unique visual / artistic languages rather than being mere practitioners or operators.
Related Faculty: Murat Germen, Stephanie Paine.

. Sound Design explores sound fundamentals as an ingredient of art and design, focusing on varied sound segments for installation, performance, video/film, WWW, and audio. The sound courses offered at Sabancı University VACD program aim to relate to sound as a material; teaching acoustics as the nature of the material, its composition and textures, and how to recognize its nuances, weaknesses, and strengths, teaching ear training to develop the ability to recognize the audio material in basic ways; size, shape, dimensions, and color, the introduction of using everyday sounds as compositional material.
Related Faculty: Selçuk Artut.

. Video: Graduate students who wish to concentrate in video study must work hands on processes and study area of script writing and directing, as well as cinematography and editing. Students working in a narrative genre write a script for their final video project, connecting, contrasting, analyzing and interpreting their script and video project to the referred sample. In addition to learning fundamental principles of digital cinematography and imaging, students explore the creative problems and possibilities introduced by the marriage of digital tools with the art of cinema. Cinematography is an interpretative process that culminates in the authorship of an original work rather than the simple recording of a physical event; it involves an artistic research with the technical constraints of camera, lens, camera angle, distance and movement study.  Finally, students approach editing from both the ideal and the real perspective, emphasizing both the technical and theoretical aspects of editing video images and sound. As the final video project takes shape, the student investigates alternative editing strategies in the post production process corresponding to the readings, referred video samples. This practical research should be supported by theoretical writing and analysis, conceptual development documentation, technical and artistic implementation toward the final thesis submission.
Related Faculty: Yoong Wah Alex Wong.

. Wearables/Fashion Art: Wearable art in the context of creative practice is defined as an interdisciplinary subject, comprising skills from craft processes, technology and industrial methods associated with fashion, textiles fiber and material construction as well as fabrications found in the fine arts; all these combined in a single dynamic identity of a reconciliation of industries and craft skills with artistic components. A second topic which also falls under this jurisdiction is virtual fashion design and the creation of apparel for virtual representations of the ‘self’ in avatar mediated environments, or the exploration of novel forms of identity inside virtual worlds.

These wide-ranging creative practices, applied to the ergonomic rational of the human body active designs which open up new possibilities for art and design investigations related to these fields.
Related Faculty: Elif Ayiter for virtual fashion art and Selçuk Gürışık for wearable art.

. Web Design is a medium which has long become ubiquitous, and thus should no longer be taken to cover stand-alone sites only, but instead should be considered in all of its ramifications such as the blogosphere and collaborative sharing platforms, indeed very much as the conveying mechanisms of an indigenous Web Culture. Thus, we no longer see web design as a standalone medium but rather as a receptacle/cover within which diverse purposes ranging from artistic expression and advanced interactivity, to documentation and creative writing via blogs, to the sharing and extending of creative output through creative sharing domains can be acted out. We therefore, encourage our students to become full participants of web culture by creating a strong online presence, particularly through blogging activity and creative sharing/networking platforms such as Flickr, YouTube, tumblr, vimeo, DeviantArt and the like. Related Faculty: Elif Ayiter, Ekmel Ertan.

Building blocks: Artistic Media

A particular medium, material used by an artist to create artworks influences his/her visual language and content to be shared. The basic experience and skill needed to use various media available for artistic creation gain prime importance, as there is the potential danger of deploying a particular technique in an inappropriate context. Experience comes with experimentation and skill, though known to be inherent, can be acquired through time. Once both are established, the artist has the ability the set the proper connection between the notions of concept / idea / theme / content and artistic media, so as to initiate reasonable communication with the audience. The building blocks for such a practice can be wide-ranging and cover the gamut from traditional art media such as drawing, painting and sculpture to contemporary media such as photography, video, installation and a wide range of digital technologies such as the ones listed and described under Creative New Media Practice on this webpage.    

Building blocks: Art History

This is an all important tool to develop an awareness in all VACD graduate program students (working both towards practice based projects as well as theoretical theses), regarding the significance of art and history, so that they will learn to appreciate and express the cultural significance of art and understand its evolution and purposes. While the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sabanci University provides comprehensive learning in all of the eras and aspects of Art History through its undergraduate humanities courses, the main objective of those art history courses that focus on 19-20th c. art, mostly painting and sculpture, is to provide students with an understanding of the some basic art concepts as well as an understanding of how modern art and the period beyond constitutes a radical departure from the classical western art tradition.
Related Faculty: Maryse Posenaer, Bratislav Pantelic. 

Building blocks: Graphic Design

is the creative field of graphic production and providing solutions for specific subjects, objects, and/or problems related to the visual representation of products and concepts through graphical devices, which are utilized to enable informational procedures to which products and services are held subject in order to bring about their successful dissemination on the marketplace. The field deals with the visual presentation of commercial identities including visual identity (logos and branding), publications (magazines, newspapers, and books), advertising and product packaging. Graphic Design utilizes typography and image integration to compose on two-dimensional surfaces, as is generally the case, but also in three-dimensional planes such as architecture, vehicles and other diverse objects from gift items to t-shirts.

Important Note: All of the following graphic design technologies should be considered as the areas of implementation, or the structural components of a full master’s thesis project which involves a concept, an idea or a narrative in which these building blocks are utilized; and which falls under the jurisdiction of one of the three main tracks of our program – Visual Art, Visual Communication Design and Theory of Creative Practice - or possibly also as a hybrid of two or more of these three main tracks. 

 Visual Identities and Systems

Almost all graphic design projects revolve around the creation of visual systems, in which all components work together as a continuous, integrated whole, rather than in the creation of discrete, stand-alone objects. Such systems are expected to flow seamlessly from product to product as well as from page to page in multi-page documents. They will involve an integration of diverse elements from type, to images to shapes and color systems, which are all expected to interact within easily discernible semantic and visual hierarchies. Thus, any graphic design based thesis project will, of necessity, have to take into account this all important principle of graphic design work as its fundamental basis of operation.

Related Faculty: Elif Ayiter, Onur Yazıcıgil. 

Illustration

The term illustration can be broadly defined as the visualization of a specific subject as a drawing, painting or photograph. As such, illustration focuses on the visual representation for a certain mood or attitude through the media listed above. Various illustration techniques are experimented with in search for creating unique visual tones. Research projects vary, but include illustrating text for posters, and character and story development for fairy tale storybooks.

Related Faculty: Onur Yazıcıgil. 

Typography

is the backbone of graphic design, which basically deals with the ‘design of text’. It is the knowledge of creating and organizing letters, words, sentences and paragraphs to communicate an idea. The elements of typography can be further studied and analyzed critically in order to tackle more complex issues of typesetting and typographic problems. Experimental approaches in constructing and deconstructing type, and continuous typesetting is researched as part of semantic pattern visualization. Major topics are: the anatomy of letterforms, the evolution of type and classification systems, creating typefaces, choosing types for specific typesetting rules, composition and page layout, legibility, readability and expressive qualities of lettering.

Related Faculty: Onur Yazıcıgil. 

Typeface Design

As the names suggest this field is highly focused on the creation of typefaces created for specific media such as print, computer screens and smart-devices. It deals with the complex production of creating an alphabet in which each letterform displays an aesthetic form, as well as work smoothly with the rest of the alphabetical and non-alphabetical glyphs. In an ever-changing world, people inherently continue to alter their voices, either in the form of speech, art, engineering or letter making, in order to adapt to the prevailing needs and tastes of the time. Typefaces are also not unaffected. Through studying the history of typefaces a historical context is established and upon that context new typefaces are designed in response to needs of the visual culture we continue to modify.

Related Faculty: Onur Yazıcıgil. 

Main Track: Visual Arts

Main Track: Visual Arts

The graduate degree in Visual Arts at Sabanci University is a custom-fitted program exclusive to the specific candidate’s artistic direction. The program aims to bypass the borders between design and fine arts, traditional and new media, artists and scholars. The 500 level studio courses taken from a faculty of practicing artists make up the core of the Visual Arts studio program. Students are expected to independently develop their own body of artistic works. (paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, installations, performances, digital or web based art, documented interventions, artist’s books or photographs, etc.)   

Working in their individual studios for the duration of the program students regularly meet with their main advisors to discuss their projects, ensuring an essential and informed connection between the research and studio components of their work Whatever media and genre students select to work in, the program is designed to enrich students’ praxis, encourage change, and present resources for contextualizing work in the wider art world. Through the interdisciplinary structure of Sabanci University the program intends to generate a space for students of diverse backgrounds to interact with each other as well as with a wide range of artists, social scientists, theoreticians, media practitioners and visionaries.

The graduates of Visual Arts program are expected to become independent artists. Thus, along with collective and individualized studio critiques; issues of professional practice and presentation methods are researched and reviewed in the final semester of the program. Consequently, the art creative practice can be considered as a “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art), and students are incited to forge visual vocabularies which are based upon this idea of the all-embracing art form.  

The following instructors can instruct and advise you in the creative work which you wish to conduct in this field: Lanfranco Aceti, Erdağ Aksel, Selçuk Artut, Elif Ayiter, Selim Birsel, Murat Germen, Wieslaw Zaremba and Yoong Wah Alex Wong. Please refer to their individual CVs and websites to decide which of them may be closest to your own interests and work medium. 

Main Track: Visual Communication Design

Main Track: Visual Communication Design

The graduate degree in Visual Communication Design at Sabanci University is a custom-fitted program exclusive to the specific candidate’s creative direction in the related design fields. The program aims to bypass the borders between design and fine arts, traditional and new media, and artists, designers and scholars. The 500 level studio courses taken from a faculty of practicing designers and specialists of the related new media fields make up the core of the Visual Communication Design studio program. The students are expected to independently develop their own body of work, coming about as a cohesive, conceptually and topically sound project which is related to a specifically formulated design inquiry, in other words addressing a particular problem or concept that looks to design principles and applications for its satisfactory resolution and/or representation.    

Working at their dedicated workstations for the duration of the program students regularly meet with their main advisors to discuss their projects, ensuring an essential and informed connection between the research and studio components of their work Whatever media and genre students select to work in, the program is designed to enrich students’ praxis, encourage change, and present resources for contextualizing their work within the wider design industry.

The graduates of the Visual Communication master’s program are expected to become designers or design theoreticians, working independently or within the mainframe organizations of the industry, as art directors, creative directors, or design consultants, who have a firm grasp both on traditional design concepts and theories as well as their implementations within contemporary computational/telematic technologies.

Instructors / Advisors for a master’s project in the Visual Communication Design track (alphabetical by last name): The following instructors can instruct and advise you in the creative work which you wish to conduct in this field: Elif Ayiter, Selçuk Artut, Ekmel Ertan, Murat Germen, Selçuk Gürışık, Yoong Wah Alex Wong, and Onur Yazıcıgil. Please refer to their individual CVs and websites to decide which of them may be closest to your own interests and work medium. 

Main Track: Theory of Artistic Practice

Sample Topics

Sample Topics

The following is a small sampling of some of the topics that some of us take a special interest in. Please note that this list is not exhaustive-our interests are certainly not limited to these issues alone but delve into many other areas and subjects also. Therefore the following selection is only provided to give you some general ideas and inspirations whilst you ponder upon your own future project/thesis topic which you wish to work on in our program.

Bisociation

is a term coined by Arthur Koestler in his famed 1964 book ‘The Act of Creation.’ According to Koestler, Bisociation defines the workings of a mental matrix in which two or more completely unrelated ideas come together to suddenly bring about the creative act, which is revealed as a novel artifact or notion, that may even be seemingly unrelated to its progenitors. While in its higher manifestations such creative acts materialize as artistic output or scientific discoveries/theoretical work, as you go lower down the ladder the very same matrix/thought process also provides the output of humor – the joke. Thus, Koestler proclaims that jester and sage are nothing but alternative disclosures of the selfsame creative identity and that all creative acts ultimately rely upon this unexpected collision of hitherto unrelated thoughts and (in the case of artwork) also of course visualizations and even physical objects.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork/design project the faculty members who are also interested in this subject as a part of their own creative practices are Erdağ Aksel and Elif Ayiter.

Should you wish to examine bisociation as the subject matter of a written theoretical thesis, the faculty member interested in this topic as part of her theoretical research is Elif Ayiter

Body language

is a form of mental and physical ability of human non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously. Psychologist James Borg states that human communication consists of 93 percent body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves. In psychology, the sub-field of affect display or affective display examines the externally displayed states of mind or emotions of human beings. Affect display refers to the impetus for observable expression of emotion through facial expressions, hand gestures, tone of voice and other emotional signs such as laughter or tears is a part of a series of non-conscious or conscious cognitive events. Many aspects of the expressions vary between and within cultures and are displayed in various forms ranging from the most discreet of facial expressions to the most dramatic and prolific gestures.

When it comes to the creative visual fields, focusing on the movements of the body and face expressions, especially under special lighting conditions, creates a theatrical atmosphere in the studio, or indeed in any type of setting, through which an enhancement of human body language can be achieved and its translation into artistic concepts and projects which examine the many implications of this topic can be actualized through media such as drawing, painting, photography or video.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork/design project, the faculty member interested in this topic as part of his own creative practice is Wieslaw Zaremba

Collaborative or Shared Creativity/'Produsage'

This topic examines socially networked, collaborative activity within online creative sharing domains such as the blogosphere, Flickr, DeviantArt, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Facebook, as well as online 3D virtual worlds, MMORPGs and the like.

Quoting Axel Bruns who recently coined the term ‘produsage’ we can define a framework for this subject as follows: “In collaborative communities the creation of shared content takes place in a networked, participatory environment which breaks down the boundaries between ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ and instead enables all participants to be the users as well as the producers of information and knowledge - frequently in a hybrid role of ‘produser’ where usage is necessarily also productive. Produsers engage not in a traditional form of content production, but are instead involved in produsage - the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement. Participants in such activities are not producers in a conventional, industrial sense, as that term implies a distinction between producers and consumers which no longer exists; the artifacts of their work are not products existing as discrete, complete packages; and their activities are not a form of production because they proceed based on a set of preconditions and principles that are markedly at odds with the conventional industrial model.”

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork, design project or thesis the faculty member who is also interested in this subject as a part of her own creative practice and theoretical research is Elif Ayiter

Human & Technology Relations

Human-technology relations are currently experiencing a period of profound change. The root causes of this change belong to the moment when humankind fitted to start walking upright that allows hands to use apparatuses as latent extensions of the human body. In a technologically saturated society, human-technology relation plays an essential role in establishing rules of a contemporary life with its demystified dimensions. Current advances in widespread use of technology increasingly made the subject a central feature of society and culture. However, if mentioned relations are to be analyzed only from a perspective of how humans use technology, there remains a lack of understanding of the other side of our symmetrical relation - that is technology to human relations. Besides the reciprocal relationship between humans and technology that has always been inherent to our understanding and the overcoming of our limitations of the external world, ethical and social impacts of human-technology (technology-human) relationships need to be investigated with further questions concerning technology. The following keywords are informative: Assistive Technologies, Physical Interaction btw Humans and Technology, Technology for Art and Design Practice.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork, design project or thesis the faculty member who is also interested in this subject as a part of his own creative practice is Selçuk Artut

Individuation/Social Representations of Identity

We are at a stage of world history where representation is replacing the represented, in other words the “real” thing. Present-day “realities” cannot immediately be paired with truth, genuineness, honesty anymore. The supposedly liberal yet latently hegemonic system continuously takes advantage of constructed / idealized representations of lavish life styles in order maximize consumption, ruthless competition, ambitious desires. An individual who strives to stay independent and truly free, has to remain very cautious, agnostic about components like images, symbols, signs, signifiers that are used in such representations. This is possible only through the comprehensive and ever-dynamic studies on these components. Substantial research on representation in cognitive, semantic and cultural (local / global) dimensions will help artists / designers / individuals in general to be more aware of systemic abuses and ready to find alternatives for bypassing these.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork, design project or thesis the faculty member who is also interested in this subject as a part of his own creative practice is Murat Germen

Legibility/Readability

Although the terms legibility and readability tend to usually be linked to typography and textual content visualization, they are a part of a much wider spectrum within the visual fields and indeed also extend to creative fields such as literature and sound/music, where the same aspects of ambiguity regarding the content of such output is also to be found. The minimum requirements to distinguish text type constitutes for typographic legibility, and this same standard can also be utilized as an approach in all creative arts in investigating the legibility of ‘content’. Even the shapes and forms of mundane objects which surround us have varying levels of legibility – while some are immediately identifiable with regards to their meanings and purpose, others possess far greater ambiguity which open doors to different interpretations as wells as multiple and yet concurrent points of view. Thus the decipherment of these attributes also addresses the field of cognitive science and visual perception. Readability however, takes legibility even a step further. It is the quality that makes text, symbols, icons, and architecture easy to “read”, and thus inviting to the eye. This aspect of readability involves as much social analysis as it does visual analysis, since such attributes are also very often culturally conditioned.

Should you wish to examine legibility and readability of creative content as the subject matter of a visual project the faculty member interested in this topic as a part of his own creative practice is Onur Yazıcıgil

Multiple (Virtual) Identities and their Relationships to Creativity

The creation of multiple identities is nothing new; indeed it is a historic phenomenon coming about as the ‘pseudonym’ in literary activity. While it may be argued that alternative identities were created in history mostly for the purposes of concealment due to political concerns or gender-based bias, nonetheless there is considerable evidence that other factors which were unrelated to these issues were also at work – particularly as evidenced in the cases of authors such as Lewis Carroll/Charles Dodgson or Mark Twain/Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The most notable of the cases that involve the creation of many identities was undertaken by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, during the first half of the 20th century. Pessoa’s alternative identities however went beyond being mere pseudonyms and instead were developed into fully discrete personalities, therefore becoming ‘heteronyms’ which were utilized for the enhancement of the artistic prowess and versatility of their creator.

This topic therefore bases itself in such a historic practice but takes it into our present day, into the electronic/telematic sphere, where it can be observed that departing from literary output alone multiple creative selves translate themselves into composite visually/narrative or ‘visually enacted’ entities as online virtual personas. This particularly applies to three dimensionally embodied avatars that through the multiplicity of the accounts created by one individual may also be considered to be instruments that are being used for creative purposes.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork, design project or thesis the faculty member who is also interested in this subject as a part of her own creative practice and theoretical research is Elif Ayiter

Open-source: Data Collection and Visualizations

We are surrounded with sensors, surveillance cameras and other ubiquitous systems, which produces data from our humanly bodies and daily behaviors. We believe this and many other data should be open to everyone who wants to use and utilize it in any way. Open data will bring more transparency, optimization, participation and collaboration to our lives. One of the interests of this field is the conceptualizing, designing and developing of new non-commercial public new media interfaces and artistic installations.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork, design project or thesis the faculty member who is also interested in this subject as a part of his own creative practice is Ekmel Ertan

Play

Although the concept of ‘play’ finds much discussion and grounds for implementation in the virtual realm, particularly in three dimensional gaming worlds and the metaverse, the instructors interested in this topic all wish to take this notion further, into the very creative act itself – regardless of whether this comes about virtually or in the physical, analog world. Therefore artworks and projects which are based upon the pendulum of unselfconscious ‘play states’ on the one hand and the self-observation of such states on the other hand – culminating in playful installations, scenarios, devices and other diverse sorts of hybrid output, through which the process of the creatively playful act itself is manifested, fall under the bailiwick of this topic.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork the faculty members who are also interested in this subject as a part of their own creative practices are Erdağ Aksel, Elif Ayiter and Selim Birsel.

Should you wish to examine the juxtaposition of ‘play’ and creative activity (or indeed ‘ludology’ as an intrinsic component of gaming and 3D virtual worlds), as the subject matter of a written theoretical thesis, the faculty member interested in this topic as part of her theoretical research is Elif Ayiter

The Vernacular and the Transformation of 'Found Objects'

While art work can be created from ‘scratch’, an alternative route however, is to utilize the found object as a fundamental building block of artistic output. Such found objects very often originate in the vernacular – the ordinary, the everyday object, the disposable one, indeed the one which may already have been discarded, often to be found in junkyards and second hand shops, a thing (or even an idea) which one may come upon inadvertently whilst looking for something else entirely.

That the Dadaists made usage of this procedure almost exclusively in their artworks is no coincidence, since the manipulation of such almost-overlooked everyday objects into new definitions and purposes is deemed to be singularly effective in bringing about mindsets of heightened unconsciously based free association that are deemed to be highly conducive to creative thought flow. Thus the artist/collector of vernacular artifacts may often transform his treasures into artworks which are either built directly from their placement as the components of newly emergent artifacts; or by transforming them into novel state of preciosity through the usage of unexpected materials or by juxtaposing them with seemingly unrelated media and content.

Should you wish to concentrate on this topic for the conceptual backbone of your artwork the faculty member who is also interested in this subject as a part of his own creative practice is Erdağ Aksel

Graduate First Placement Information

Graduate First Placement Information

 
Institution Name
 
2015
Branding to Be
Freelance Artist
Düğme Film
Royal College of Art, MA
Socar Turkas Enerji A.Ş.
 
2014
Animagroup
Arzu Kaprol Textile
İKSV
Freelance Artist
Art Craft-Türkiye
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Sabancı University
Marche Event Managament
 
2013
Freelance Artist
Sabancı University, Kasa Gallery
Ping Digital Agency, Senior Art Director
 
2012
Digital Projects
Dolphin Professional Network
İstanbul Bilgi University
Zuraff Creative
Smartiks
ManvsMachine
Freelance Artist
 
 2011
MagiClick Digital Solutions
Istanbul University, PhD in Philosophy
Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Yeditepe University, Instructor
Kumpas Print
Freelance Artist
Istanbul Technical University, PhD in Industrial Design
Morhipo
MagiClick Digital Solutions
 
2010
Koyugri
Kargart
Çilek Ağacı
Gallery Apel
C.A.M. Gallery, Designer
Drop Multimedia Solutions
Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Sabancı University, Teaching Assistant
Freelance Artist
 
2009
Damla Media Production
Filika Design
University of Southern California, MFA in Animation & Digital Arts
Sabancı University
 
2008
Cornell University, PhD in Theatre Arts
Artist
Bahçeşehir University, Instructor
Istanbul Technical University, PhD in Industrial Product Design
Mana Digital
Media Lab Helsinki
 
2007
Galeri Nev
Kadir Has Univesity, Instructor
Kofti.com
CPM Istanbul
Lancaster University, PhD in Innovation for Digital Economy
University of Glasgow, MFA in Fine Arts
Central European University, MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology
Goldsmiths University of London, MFA in Art Practice
 
2006
Central European University, MA in Gender Studies
Dijital Wonders
Karachi University, Instructor
Adnan Menderes University
İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
Sanofi Aventis
Okan University, Faculty Member
 
2005
Finansbank
Freelance Designer
Emirgan Export
Mavitan Sculpture Atelier
Curator
Delta Yazılım
Galatasaray University, MA in Media and Communication Studies
 
2004
DBB and CO
Autodesk
British Council
Curator
 
2003
University of Applied Arts, Vienna, PhD in Cultural and Intellectual History
 
2002
University of California, San Diego, PhD in Critical Studies & Experimental Practices
Contemporary Istanbul

Degree Requirements

Non-Thesis Degree Requirements

The VACD M.A. program offers a rigorous study within a wide spectrum comprising visual arts, visual communication design and related theory. Students admitted come from diverse disciplines, backgrounds and formations. Formally, 11 courses plus a noncredit term project need to be successfully complete: Students with sufficient preparation before admission may well get their diploma within two or three semesters while others may need to enroll various preparatory courses there by spending four semesters or longer. Close collaboration of the student with his/her project advisor is an essential aspect of the program and student advising is expected to lead to an early student/ advisor matching.

No ALES / GRE / GAT is required for the "MA Non-Thesis" track but all the other admission requirements of the "MA with Thesis Program" also applies to "Non-Thesis" track.

Program Requirements may vary according to the year of first enrollment. Please click below to see the program requirements for new students.

Continuing students may track their program requirements on Student Resources web site based on the relevant level (undergraduate/graduate), year of first enrollment and program.
Further info...  

With Thesis Degree Requirements

 

Formally, 9 courses plus a noncredit preparation seminar and either a thesis or a studio project need to be successfully complete: Students with sufficient preparation before admission may well get their diploma within two or three semesters while others may need to enroll in an introductory survey course and various preparatory courses there by spending four semesters or longer. Close collaboration of the student with his/her thesis advisor is an essential aspect of the program and student advising is expected to lead to an early student/thesis advisor matching.

Program Requirements may vary according to the year of first enrollment. Please click below to see the program requirements for new students.

Continuing students may track their program requirements on Student Resources web site based on the relevant level (undergraduate/graduate), year of first enrollment and program.
Further info...  

Application Requirements

Yüksek Lisans Başvuru Koşulları

Lisansüstü programların başvuruları ilgili kabul jürisi tarafından programın belirlediği koşullara göre değerlendirilir. Kabul süreci jüri tavsiyesi üzerine Enstitü Yönetim Kurulu’nun onayıyla tamamlanarak adaya duyurulur.

Görsel Sanatlar ve Görsel İletişim Tasarımı programına başvuran adayların daha önceki işlerinden oluşan bir portfolyo sunmaları gerekmektedir. Adaylar ayrıca yazılı sınava ve mülakata çağrılır. Yazılı sınavlar ve mülakatlar İngilizce yürütülür.

Online başvurmak için...: https://admission.sabanciuniv.edu/

Daha fazla bilgi için 

Fees & Scholarships

Fees & Scholarships

Students are informed regarding the scope of Graduate Educational Scholarship provided prior to their enrollment during the admission process. Graduate scholarship recipients are proposed by the Admission Jury based on students' academic history, then evaluated by the related Graduate School Administrative Board, and finally confirmed by the President of the University. Continuation of the scholarship depends on the decision of Faculty according to GPA.

Further info...  

Apply Online



 

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