STRAIT

SALT BEYOĞLU

MAY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2015

WANDERER ABOVE THE TANKER TANKERİN ÜSTÜNDEKİ GEZGİN
Sessiz filmden bir kare
Neyran Turan’ın izniyle
WANDERER ABOVE THE TANKER
Still from the silent film
Courtesy Neyran Turan

SALT Beyoğlu, Forum



In March 1994, a dramatic accident occurred in the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul. Nassia, a 100,000-ton tanker carrying crude oil from Russia, collided with a cargo ship at the northern exit of the Strait. The cargo ship exploded and ran ashore, while Nassia immediately caught fire and released over 13,000 tons of oil spill into the sea. The fire continued for weeks causing a devastating environmental disaster.

The accident marked a delicate moment in the history of the Bosphorus Strait. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of the Caspian oil reserves in the 1990s, the Strait became one of the six busiest oil-shipping “choke points,” along with the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Dover. Compared to these other routes however, the Bosphorus Strait stands unique as it is not only one of the narrowest routes, but also passes through the heart of Istanbul, a city of over fourteen million citizens. What complicates the matter further is the geographic form of the Strait, with its sharp and narrow turns, making it one of the riskiest and most difficult channels to navigate in the world.

Recalling sociologist Ulrich Beck’s claim that “even the most…moderate objectivist account of risk…involves a hidden politics, ethics and morality,” contemporary concerns regarding the transit of colossal oil tankers through this navigational route, have been conflicted with the controversies around transnational energy pipelines and various other large-scale infrastructural and urban transformation projects in Istanbul.

STRAIT brings this framework to architectural and public imaginaries by manifesting the Bosphorus Strait through the tangible experience of an installation object. It introduces the idea of the geographic object, in this instance, an extrusion of the Strait shorelines without articulating its actual topography. By rendering the Bosphorus as a constricted experiential condition, the project positions geographic scale as an architectural problem. The STRAIT object amplifies the interplay between architectural and geographic scales by re-constructing the crenelated shorelines of the Bosphorus through local crown moulding [kartonpiyer] profiles, an ornamentation technique typically applied to the corners of interior ceilings.

In addition to the installation, the STRAIT object is rooted in a geographic fiction illustrated through a series of drawings presented in the form a silent film. While this geographic fiction tells of a colossal oil tanker becoming stuck in the Bosphorus Strait, the STRAIT object itself becomes one of the characters in the fiction.


Design and research: Neyran Turan

Project team: Neyran Turan, Mete Sönmez, William Trotty, Amelia Hazinski, Melis Uğurlu, Anastasia Yee, Louise Weiss, Sam Biroscak
STRAIT AS OBJECT BİR NESNE OLARAK BOĞAZ
Sessiz filmden bir kare
Neyran Turan’ın izniyle
STRAIT AS OBJECT
Still from the silent film
Courtesy Neyran Turan
Neyran Turan is an architect, and currently an Assistant Professor at Rice University School of Architecture. She is also a co-founder of NEMESTUDIO, a research and design collaborative based in Houston. Turan’s work draws on the relationship between geography and design to highlight a range of aesthetic and political possibilities for architecture and urbanism. She holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a masters degree from Yale University School of Architecture, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Istanbul Technical University. She is the founding chief-editor of the journal New Geographies, and is the editor-in-chief of the first two volumes: New Geographies 0 (2008), New Geographies: After Zero (2009). Some of her recent work were published in Thresholds, SAN ROCCO, Conditions, MASContext, ThinkSpace Pamphlets, and MONU. In 2013, Turan won a Graham Foundation Award for her research on the German architect Mathias Ungers. She is currently completing the manuscript of her book titled Geographic Istanbul: Episodes in the History of a City’s Relationship with its Landscape.
Share
ADD TO CALENDAR