SomoS presents Criss-Cross Pollination, a group exhibition examining the socio-politics relationship between Botanics and humans within the frame of migrancy with video, installation, and painting by Anwar Al Atrash, İnci Eviner, Jasmina Metwaly, Manaf Halbouni, and Verena Kyselka, curated by Ayça Okay. It uses narration as a tool to address persisting critiques of global policies on migration and their impact on immigrants, involving topics such as belonging, identity, and alienation.
Image above: İnci Eviner, Parliament, 2010, single-channel HD video, 3′-loop, 2-channel sound
Integrating the results of botanical archive research and a series of surveys,the exhibition builds on the curator’s and participating artists’ personal experiences of finding ethnic coexistence in a foreign country.
With Botanics as its central metaphor, it explores connections between the movement of humans and that of plants, highlighting the vital importance of diversity and cross-pollination versus the negative effects of monoculture.
Curated by Ayça Okay as part of her curatorial residence at SomoS, the exhibition features noted artists originally from Turkey, Germany, Syria, and Egypt: Anwar Al Atrash, İnci Eviner, Jasmina Metwaly, Manaf Halbouni, and Verena Kyselka.
In the project, Okay relies on her extensive research on Urbanism, Post-Anthropocentrism, Ecocriticism, Entanglement Theory (in Archeology), and Critical Arts Theory to analyze the role of Botanics and humans within the perspective of urban life. The curator’s residency experience in Berlin as a Turkish art professional influenced the project.
“I learned that plants, like humans, are exposed to various biological pressures by the dominant species in the ecosystem they migrate to. This migration, which is sometimes devastating for the migrant, can sometimes be devastating for the migrating ecosystem. Plants also go through a process where they are exposed to as much ‘paperwork’ as humans.”Ayça Okay
It is clear that the organic trumps the legal, however. Proposing new ways of looking at migration, Criss-Cross Pollination invites the audience to consider the value of mobility to existing social designs and ecosystems, as it touches upon the experiences of individuals as they adapt, just like plants. In this way, following the suggestion of the French writer and poet Eduard Glissant, the exhibition proposes a different way of thinking about migration, replacing it with the expression “SoJourner.”
Across its diverse artistic positions, the exhibition addresses highly current issues, regarded and interpreted from a migrant point of view, in a plea for an accessible interconnected global world.
Ayça Okay (b.1991), is an Istanbul-based independent curator, researcher, and art writer. Collaborating with international and local institutions, Ayça Okay has directed several research-based curatorial projects revolving around the themes of Urbanism, Ecocriticism, Post-Anthropocentrism, Entanglement Theory (in Archeology), Feminist and Queer Curating, and Critical Arts Theory. Okay currently participates in the International Curatorial Program (ICP) of the Berlin NODE Center for Curatorial Studies. She is a member of the Paris-based association AICA’s Tukey branch (Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art). In addition, she is a member of CIMAM (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art), based in Madrid, Spain. She is currently writing articles and reviews for Istanbul-based publishing titled Milliyet Sanat Newspaper, ArtDog Magazine, and StirWorld, an international publication about contemporary art and design.
Opening reception: Tuesday, 27 September, 4 – 7 pm
Exhibition dates: Wednesday, 28 September to Saturday, 1 October 2022
Opening hours: 2 – 7 pm
Kottbusser Damm 95, 1st floor
U8 – Schönleinstraße