In recent years, Turkey has seen several acts of resistance against large-scale projects of urban and infrastructural development deemed to have a hazardous impact on the environment, public health, and local livelihoods. Since the 1990s, artists in Turkey have begun engaging more conspicuously with issues of social and political ecology, with projects often directed at purporting social change and sustainable living at various levels. In the face of rapid environmental deterioration, a growing number of artists have formed ground to think broadly on how art can serve ecological activism and foster environmental awareness in the Anthropocene.
Through the concepts of “ecological aesthetics” and “eco-poetics” Ayşe Güngör draws our attention to various strands of contemporary eco-art practice from Turkey, with examples ranging from architecture to photography to landscape art; emphasis is placed on art projects that are collaborative in nature and scope. The author is particularly concerned with the role of plants as active agents in artistic practices of resistance against environmentally hazardous corporate projects. By showing the centrality of vegetal life in contemporary art practices that address ecological crises, Ayşe Güngör compels us to rethink the interrelations between art, nature, and politics under a new light.
The talk “Roots in Resistance: Vegetal Life in the Contemporary Eco-art Practices from Turkey” took place on December 14, 2020 within the framework of the 4A_Lab online seminar series.