Somebody Else’s Car

Ahmet Öğüt

27 March 2005

Double slide projection. Variable dimensions.

In Somebody Else’s Car, Öğüt transforms two found cars using readymade paper cut outs. Without requesting the owners’ permission he clads the first all in yellow and with the final addition of a boxed sign on the roof, the car adopts its new identity as a standard Istanbul taxi. On the flanks of the second car he applies graphics and on the roof a blue, white and red emergency siren and again, with remarkable dexterity and finesse, the originally plain white car is transformed into a police car. Öğüt accomplishes each makeover as if performing an act of vandalism and yet his actions result in no more damage than the owners confusion and likely amazement on returning to their vehicles.


Through a simple operation of displacement of codes, in this work Öğüt raises the question of the mediation of symbols in the perception and meaning of objects which inform our material culture. The signs and message they build, together with the artist’s action, define or reshape the nature of the car: its specific features, brand, model, all are erased and reconfigured in a new context and new medium subject to the social functionality of the vehicle.