A talk on an upcoming book about dams, trees, graft, highways, court cases, Euphrates, mountain goats, and may be panic.


With contributors: Aslıhan Demirtaş, Ali Taptık, Hakan Topal, Evren Uzer

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

1:00pm – 3:00pm

The Orozco Room, Alvin Johnson / JM Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th St A712 New York


“To make a graft you need two plants. Chose one plant for its roots. This plant will be called the stock, understock or the host. Chose another plant for its flowers, fruits or leaves and only its branches will be used. This plant will be called the scion. Now, you have given names to separate pieces of two different trees and by naming them you have successfully transformed two trees into components for grafting. Let’s note briefly that “the history of separation between humankind and Earth begins and ends with language, in the form of the name – the calling of things either this or that – that the first philosopher, Adam, is commanded to give to creation, but that very same name’s translation into languages of men communicates nothing inherent to the thing other than what it means to man, how it mediates the human. Man sounds the Earth.” By putting an end to the inherent growth of the trees and by naming the divided bodies this and that, you have successfully privileged your own voice over everything else in the world, you have dominated and appropriated it.”

Graft is a voluntary dispersal of ideas and topics rooted in the exhibition ‘Modern Essays 5: Graft’ by Aslihan Demirtaş, exhibited at SALT in İstanbul 2012 and Ankara 2013. In 2013, Demirtaş received a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Grant to continue her research and to produce the e-publication Graft in collaboration with SALT. The exhibition utilized the concept of grafting as a metaphor to provoke a discussion of modernity’s politics of nature through modern hydraulic engineering projects and landscapes focused on, but not limited to, dams in Turkey.

This book is conceived as an entanglement of a multitude of texts, images, graphics, science fiction, poems and similar. Human-Earth relationship is mostly tackled from singular points of view of particular disciplines and their specializations. Each discipline detangles situations with their specialized world views and tools and often what we see is a single thread drawn from an entangled knot. The book intends to re-entangle and purposefully complicate ’our’ relationship with ‘nature’ by creating a common ground together with lawyers, architects, poets, historians, designers, artists, writers, landscape architects, and ruralists.

GRAFT is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Grant and will be published online by SALT. This event is supported by Design Strategies at Parsons.