Library of Land & Sea
Mattering of a Productive Mythology
Aslı Uludağ
Project description

The Büyük Menderes Graben is a rift valley within the ridges that characterise the Aegean coast of Turkey, cutting a pathway along the horizontal plane. The Graben guides the flows of air and water between the sea and the inland areas, creating climatic conditions ideal for the fruit trees that are the primary source of income for the local population and have been the focus of the mythology that has defined the region as the ancient land of olive and figs. 

However, in the 1960s this mythology was redefined, when exploration and mapping of the region heralded the Büyük Menderes Graben as Turkey’s primary geothermal field. Today, this landscape, riddled by over 300 boreholes, provides deep subsurface heat to over forty geothermal energy plants, which dump geothermal fluids into the surface environment, killing the olive and fig trees. This has triggered a powerful and organised resistance, led by local women and fruit growers, who are fighting to protect the land from this slow violence.

This research project by Aslı Uludağ maps the instruments that have been used to rewrite the mythology that governs the Büyük Menderes Graben and have materially and spatially transformed this region. With support from the women of Kızılcaköy, the olive and fig growers and their lawyer, the project explores and contributes to the toolkit utilised by the locals in their fight against this environmental violence.


Aslı Uludağ (Turkey) is a visual artist whose work exists at the intersection between art and research and spans various forms, including performance, installation and archive. Her research projects focus on forms of violence that are enacted through the relationship between humans, more-than-human entities and the environment, and investigate the techno-scientific, legal and architectural tools used to realise their operations. Through her practice she proposes alternative forms of spatial, temporal and material engagement with the environment as modes of resistance. Uludağ received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has been exhibited at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and Pera Museum, Istanbul.


#mineral #resistance

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