Sibel Horada | Interruption and Flow

For her solo show 'Interruption and Flow', artist and pacifist Sibel Horada focused on Taksim Square and its historic use as the center of water distribution for Istanbul’s European districts to comment on the current municipal 'spatiocide,' a term Beirut scholar Sari Hanafi coined for the confiscation of land in Palestine. Horada tracked the Ottoman-era watercourse to its source at Valide Dam in Belgrade Forest for her video installation 'Valide (Mother), 2021'. The work projects a video of the dam waters over a thin, transparent curtain, draped partially into an old tub that Horada was washed in as a newborn, and that she plans to use for her own children.

The pivotal piece in 'Interruption and Flow' is the video installation 'Clearing Space in Still Water, 2021'. The footage shows Horada wandering about Taksim Square with a rosewood brush, flicking organic pigments over found pools of water to imitate 'ebru', the traditional Turkish art of paper marbling. Visually akin to the mucilage that formed in the Sea of Marmara last summer, this same 'ebru' technique saturates newspapers the artist gathered after the election of Istanbul’s opposition mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu in 2019. The resulting 'Marbled Monument Series, 2020' –, aestheticizes the news cycle’s lasting toll on the environment via its staggering waste of paper and ink. For 'Clearing Space', Horada channeled 'ebru' into a symbolic act of reclaiming contested public space. The two video monitors are propped up on the floor by stacks of metal police barriers, signifiers of the spatiocide that followed 2013’s Gezi Park protests. As Horada’s works reveal, Turkey’s disaster capitalism is driven by bombardments of state-run news. But with 'Interruption and Flow', particularly the ebru-infused newspapers, she counters the amnesiac weaponization of mass media with her politically shrewd, ecological sensibility.

Matt Hanson