Sea of Marble: A Navigational Convergence, 2010

Installation, Symposium, xurban_collective
6000 C-Prints, Pedestals, Computer Projection, HD Videos
Sanat Limani, Antrepo No:5 Istanbul, European Capital of Culture 2010

An exhibition project by xurban_collective
5 November — 26 December 2010

5 November / Kasım 2010 18:00

Sanat Limanı, Antrepo No:5, Tophane, Istanbul

4 December 2010
Sanat Limanı, Antrepo No:5, Tophane, Istanbul

Ursula Biemann (Zurich) & Shuruq A. M. Harb (Ramallah), TJ Demos (London), John
Palmesino (London) ,Vyjayanthi Rao (New York), Alex Villar (New York), Relli De Vries (Tel-Aviv)

xurban_collective: Project Directors Guven Incirlioglu (Izmir) and Hakan Topal (New York), Designer Mahir Yavuz (Linz)

Project Partners: Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mortenbock (Vienna/London)

One can identify countless physical traces of both natural and cultural events in any landscape. Endemic vegetation, landforms, as well as the remnants of civilizations are infused on top of each other and characterize specific geography. The sea as an ever-changing, relatively flat space conceals all the traces of time and transforms them into mythologies. Both the land and the sea are in constant flux with different viscous properties. They touch each other and form a complex, oscillating line of infinite length.

The project Sea of Marble: A Navigational Convergence (2009–10) is developed as an exhibition and a symposium, and aims to address the seas as defined by various manifestations of global trade, economy, and the flow of bodies. It endeavors to develop visual and narrative strategies to tackle the particularities and potentialities that the sea presents.

The sea of Marmara, located in between the Black Sea and the Aegean, literally means ‘the sea of marble’ hosts one of the major fault lines expected to bring a catastrophic tremor to Istanbul. In addition to several earthquakes, prison islands in Marmara mark Turkey’s recent grim political history of coup d’etats and most recently hosted the country’s most wanted Kurdish guerilla leader. The sea is highly polluted by manufacturing and oil industries. On any given day, hundreds of ships stay anchored, waiting for the next big global agitation. In this respect, the seas are transmitters of history, wealth and culture as well as a source of biological richness and are also the bearers of scourge, oil spills and chemicals, and the invading jellyfish and the disappearing reef. The oil tankers and container ships sail to the effect of millions of tons, accumulating and transferring immense wealth from one part of the world to another. Refugee boats also sail across sometimes to catastrophic ends either while at sea or at their destination. Recent events such as the Gaza aid flotilla, the British Petroleum oil rig disaster in the Gulf Coast of USA, island disputes between China and Japan, the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 and the opening of the northern sea route are examples that we all follow with curiosity.

Sea of Marble: A Navigational Convergence project is conceived in three parts. First, xurban_collective’s exhibition is based on the visual research in cities including Athens, Marseille, Istanbul, Izmir and New York. Second, a symposium will take place on December 4th, 2010 at Antrepo No:5, an old warehouse in Istanbul port. Participants of this symposium include Ursula Biemann (Zurich) and Shuruq A. M. Harb (Ramallah), TJ Demos (London), John Palmesino (London), Vyjayanthi Rao (New York), Alex Villar (New York), and Relli De Vries (Tel Aviv). xurban_collective and their project partners will take the role of moderators and respondents for each presentation along with Aslihan Demirtas (New York). A third of the project is part is a book and the website which will gather and archive the project’s visual materials, presentations and discussions in a unified format.