Heval Zeliha Yüksel Mimar / Architect
Developed through the curatorial collaborations of Cemal Emden and Namık Erkal with the team composed of Hüner Aldemir, Caner Bilgin, Hande Ciğerli, Gökçen Erkılıç, Nazlı Tümerdem and Yiğit Yalgın led by the curators Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu and Ertuğ Uçar, the project entitled Darzanà will take place in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, the Biennale of Venice.
Darzanà is formed to build a bridge between Venice and Istanbul that once were twin ports of Mediterranean Region and to reflect the traces of language and architecture into future dreams through emphasizing the mutual cultural heritage of the two cities. The title of the project Darzanà is originated from the mutual root of words indicating ‘tersane’ in Turkish and ‘arsenale’ in Italian, which also has the same meaning. The Pavilion of Turkey is situated at the Sala d’Armi building in Arsenale, one of the main spaces of the biennale..
ALONG WITH THE UNDERTAKING OF ISTANBUL FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE AND ARTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF 21 SPONSORS, TURKEY OBTAINED A LONG-TERM VENUE IN THE VENICE BIENNALE BEGINNING FROM 2014. OWING TO THE VENUE ALLOTTED FOR OUR COUNTRY FOR TWENTY YEARS, THE PAVILION OF TURKEY TOOK ITS PLACE AT THE INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION, THE VENICE BIENNALE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2014 AND MADE A GREAT IMPACT. CONSIDERED AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ARCHITECTURE EVENTS OF THE WORLD, THE 15TH VENICE BIENNALE, INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF ARCHITECTURE WHICH IS CURATED BY ALEJANDRO ARAVENA,
WILL TAKE PLACE WITH THE THEME “REPORTING FROM THE FRONT” BETWEEN MAY 28 – NOVEMBER 27. THE PARTICIPATING PROJECT ON BEHALF OF THE PAVILION OF TURKEY HAS BEEN ASSIGNED IN THE PREVIOUS DAYS. ESTABLISHING A BOND BETWEEN THE SHIPYARDS LOCATED IN ISTANBUL AND VENICE, THE TITLE OF THE PROJECT IS NAMED AFTER “DARZANÀ”, A HYBRID WORD PECULIAR TO THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION. THE PAVILION OF TURKEY TRIES TO EXPRESS THAT IT’S NOT POSSIBLE TO DEMARCATE ‘WATER’ THROUGH THE COMMON GROUNDS OF THE TWO CITIES. WE LISTENED ITS STORY FROM THE CURATORS FERIDE ÇIÇEKOĞLU, MEHMET KÜTÜKÇÜOĞLU AND ERTUĞ UÇAR:
“IN CIVILIZATIONS WITHOUT SHIPS, DREAMS DRY UP”
Your project sets a bound between the shipyards of Venice and Istanbul. Could you tell us the story?
The story of our project starts in Istanbul. It will reach out to Venice and continue in Istanbul back again. We have started out with this dream. We have been inspired by Istanbul and Venice being the twin harbors in the past. The Venice Biennale is the first biennale of the world and it takes place in the renovated buildings of old Venetian shipyards for about hundred years. We thought if it was possible to form a bridge, a share of experience, so to say a “mutualism” that designates communication, correspondance and mutual interaction between the abandoned and desolated Taşkızak and Camialtı shipyards and Venice. Therefore we decided to send a letter from one shipyard to another. It’s not a letter that we are used to, it’s a galiot. It’s the last ship that is going to be built with the abandoned materials in the shipyard. We called this “bastarda” (a large ship) because it’s the name given to the hybrid medium in the transitional period proceeding from galiot to galley. A final boat will be built here to carry stories to Venice. Hopefully it will come back here along with the compiled stories and present itself to Istanbul.
What does the word “Darzanà” try to narrate?
Darzana is a word originated from the Arabic language. It’s derived from “Dara’s-sina’a” meaning “an industry site”. It’s the transformed state of the words “tersane” (shipyard) in Turkish and “arsenale” in Italian. We wanted to use this common ground as a starting point for the “mutualism” between the shipyards of Istanbul and Venice. These two ports that once had similar population densities and active shipyards are now scattered around disparate locations. Venice is a well-preserved historical city that hosts prominent art events though it has a declining population and an emigration problem. As for Istanbul, it’s needless to say that it tears its historical fabric and architectural heritage to shreds and constant allowance of immigrants and unrestrained housing sweeps over the city. But it still maintains being an object of desire and an appealing destination. It’s constantly alive and even though people complain, the population keeps increasing. What can these two shipyards that drifted away to different places possibly learn from each other? Can this discussion shed light on current topics of the world? Can Istanbul benefit from the past experiences of Venice on hosting cultures? Can the shipyard of Venice that happens to be a dead space except for the biennale, make use of the probable experience of Istanbul to embody the whole city? These are what we are trying to narrate or rather to question through Darzana. As you know, the sub-theme for this year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture is “Reporting from the Front”. Therefore we embraced the shipyards of the two cities as a “front”.
As a follow-up question, what are the structural types pointed out with “Architectura Franca” within the context of shipyards that have the potential to be a common characteristic for Istanbul and Venice?
The mutual core of the shipyards of Venice and Istanbul is the fundamental structure unit that we see in both of them. It’s originated from “çeşm” in the Ottoman Turkish, “göz” in Turkish and “volti” in Italian. The size of the unit is emanated from the scale of a ship that is approximately 10-12m wide and 50m long, covered up with wooden scissors. These units can be juxtaposed and can be used as a shipbuilding plant or a warehouse. As technology advances, the form of structures can also be transformed while transitioning from galley to galleon, paddle to sail and engine power later on. It’s an expression of a flexible understanding of architecture along with its modular structure that is addible depending on the need and its variability in tandem with technology. The idea to assemble the shipyards of Venice and Istanbul is manifested from this mutual module.
How will the project production be implemented?
The production of Baştarda currently continues. Some sort of a galleon is being constructed from waste materials. This galleon will be demounted and head out to Venice and will be recombined. Along with the videos narrating the story of the process and photographs of Cemal Emden demonstrating the present condition of the shipyard, the galleon will be exhibited in Venice. It will be displayed until November 2016 and come back here with compiled stories and hopefully it will continue to watch the scenery near the coast of the Golden Horn and share the adventures with the Istanbulites.
“IT’S NOT POSSIBLE TO DEMARCATE WATER AND PUT A FENCE BETWEEN WORDS…IN THE CURRENT ATMOSPHERE SURROUNDED BY CONFLICTS AND CONFRONTATIONS, THIS IS THE THEME WE LIKE TO RECAPTURE FOR BOTH TURKEY AND EUROPE.”
To sum up the message given through the project within the context of its contribution to Turkey, what sentence would you prefer to use?
It’s not possible to demarcate water and put a fence between words…In the current atmosphere surrounded by conflicts and confrontations, this is the theme we like to recapture for both Turkey and Europe. We can’t be sure if it will contribute or not but this is our primary intention. Through the notion of hybridity which we chose through words and architectural forms, we are uttering our dream to turn “fronts” into “sides” and into a field of reconciliation. Let’s conclude the topic with a quote from Foucault: “In civilizations without ships, dreams dry up”. Our ship is aiming to make you dream betwen Venice and Istanbul.
Thank you for all the information you have shared.