Deniz Tortum

About the Artist

Deniz Tortum is an artist working in film, video and new media. He is a graduate of MIT Comparative Media Studies and the Open Documentary Lab. Tortum came to MIT after studying film at Bard College. As an undergraduate, he was interested in international art house cinema and avant-garde films that were in close dialogue with the video art world. At Bard, he made experimental films and one independent fiction feature film, Zayiat, which was selected for SxSW and !F Istanbul Film Festivals.

His most recent film If Only There Were Peace (co-dir Carmine Grimaldi) premiered in 2017 at True/False Film Festival. He is currently a fellow at Harvard Film Study Center where he is working on a film about a hospital in Istanbul. He also is a Creative Advisor for the CMS course Hacking VR at MIT. Current research interests include virtual reality, machine vision aesthetics, and decentralized computing.


After growing up in Istanbul, Deniz Tortum moved to the US to study film at Bard College. Until recently, Deniz had been based in New York, working on several documentary projects. He has also been a board member of New York Film and Video Council, the longest running non-profit organization in New York. He currently works with the Open Documentary Lab, works in film, video and new media. His first feature film, Zayiat has been screened internationally, including SxSW and !F Istanbul Film Festivals. Curator Ulya Soley says of his single channel video, Corridor of Memories Walkthrough, this anti-game “stands at the intersection of game and video art, which enables a sort of slacktivism, inviting the audience to watch but not to participate.” His work interrogates how technologies of vision—from linear perspective to virtual reality—shape the way we make sense of the world.

Filmaker Magazine: True/False 2017 Critic’s Notebook 1: Resistance and Futility

Daily Sabah: Virtual Reality takes center stage at Istanbul’s Independent Film Festival

Buzzfeed: Perception And Embodiment In A VR Documentary

Huffington Post: Uncertainty in Post-Coup Turkey Is Refueling Istanbul’s Art Scene

Blog: VR Through A Long Lens: Deniz Tortum Lends Historical Perspective Ta A New Medium

September 55 VR piece, installation view, Istanbul, 2016. Photo: Courtesy of Deniz Tortum.

Selected Past Projects