Hidden Memories, Lost Traces

“Hidden Memories, Lost Traces” is the conceptual framework* of the third edition of the International Sinop Art Biennial, Sinopale 3 which will take place between 14 August – 4 September 2010.

In order to hear the hidden narratives of a city, one has to experience the city. The invisible aspects of a city are revealed by the narratives of the city. The sense created by the narratives related to a city is the same with the sense of that city. If one has internalized the sense of a city, s/he projects something relating to his/her home city to every city that s/he sees or relates, just as in the novel “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino. Globalisation, while seeming promising for such an expansion of meaning, ended up with the uniformisation of the city life, projects that tend to efface past narratives and the spirit of a city. It enhances the dynamism of the unlimited production and unlimited consumption that have effaced all signs of the lived experience, thus the uniqueness of a city has been forgotten.

Beginning with the memory of the city, this conceptual framework, which has been envisioned for re-tackling the intelligence related to this living space (Sinop) together with its different dimensions, and evaluating the “information” obtained in an artistic form, intends to draw attention to that which is “told” and “untold” in this geography which is a “transit area”.

If an artistic production can explore and defend the lived aspects of the city which are yet invisible and reveal them, cultural utopias dating to the beginning of the globalisation could be enjoyed. The project aims to gather a “transportable memory” of the city in order to reveal hidden memories and lost traces, thus stimulating memories of the artists as well. The actualization of the merory by means of arts will bring back reminiscences and link with the present maybe unexpected singular events, thus allowing new readings of the process of change and actual events that take place in European cities.

Sinop, the northernmost city in the Black Sea region, has the characteristic of an isolated port city which has existed throughout ages. It has a long history and a loaded memory. The existence of a prison where some of the prominent intellectuals of that period had to do time, and its impacts are part of the collective memory of the city. Sinop has various disconnected structures in its fabric; historical buildings dating to various eras, workers who made a living in the American base and formed satellite cities… Sinop is isolated as an eastern bloc area yet positions itself within western alliance, it has once been a centre for intense weapon trade. Due to its geopolitical position the inhabitants of Sinop were/are engaged in contradictory political engagements. Black Sea region is a transit area between the geographical Europe and the political Europe where historical conflicts still take place. Actual energy policies and ecological problems set this city in the agenda of current politics.

Sinopale 3 will deal with the artistic, creative works related to the expression of the “hidden memory” together with contrasts such as the “choice of the inhabitants” and the “choice of the governors” in integrity on “city, district, individual” basis. Through workshops, exhibitions, performances where “proposals for the future” will be discussed, Sinopale 3 attempts to make artists, designers, architects, cultural managers, small businessmen, local governors, educators, inhabitants and viewers cooperate at intellectual and operational level and work in a “participative-interactive” way.

Works that will be produced within the scope of Sinopale 3 will be displayed at various indoors and outdoors spaces at the city centre and some districts.

* The conceptual framework has been written with the contributions of Beral Madra, Emre Zeytinoğlu, Mürteza Fidan, T. Melih Görgün, Mahir Namur, Sinan Niyazioğlu, Emel Abora.