Erstellt: 28. September 2020

The Garden of (not) Forgetting

Dilşad Aladağ, a student from European Urban Studies and DAAD scholar, is showing part of her project “The Garden of (not) Forgetting”, that she conducts with Turkish artist Eda Aslan, at Kunsthaus Hamburg as part Of Futureless Memory Exhibition. Through a compilation of contemporary artistic works and historical documents that were created in or reflecting on exile, the exhibition explores the role of belonging from global perspectives. As part of the exhibition events, Dilşad also will have a lecture-performance “The Garden of (not) Forgetting: The Memory of a Place and the Topography of Destruction” on 5th of November at Kunsthaus Hamburg.

The Project, The Garden Of (not) Forgetting, focuses on the displacement of Istanbul University Institute of Botany and Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, which were founded in 1936 by the Jewish-German scientists Alfred Heilbronn and Leo Brauner during their exile in Turkey. Both buildings and the land they occupy were transferred to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs in 2015 for the reconstruction of Ottomanesque building as Quran museum. Once the institution was forced to vacate of the land in 2018, the demolition of the institute commenced. The Botanical Garden is close to visitors since that date. Regarding the potential threat of destruction, the project, which began at first with a focus on plants in 2017, has turned into a collective struggle in which the archives and history of the Botanic Gardens have become central to addressing the question: "Is it possible to 'transcribe' a place and keep it alive in collective memory?" The project discovered various new stories that enhance the Turkish-German history connection in addition to create public awareness about the importance of the architectural Heritage.

As part of Futureless Memory Exhibition, "A sequence from The Garden of (not) Forgetting: "Whispers, Seeds and Traces", shares the essence of the place from various layers of memory with three pieces for the first time in Germany. "Whispers" remembers the struggle and determination of German-Jewish scientists for pursuing their practice in exile. This sound installation repeats the first letter of botanists in German, Turkish, English and French languages that asked the support of international gardens to establish a botanical garden in Istanbul. "Seeds" witnessed how the exile land became new earth for rooting for professors by sharing seed catalogues of the Botanical Garden. Each year's seed catalogues were a record of what flowered in this new geography. On the very last layer, "Traces" documents the last year of Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, before it is forced to be forgotten. Takeable prints of the last year's seeds' prints are reopening the doors of the garden and spreading seeds of the Botanical Garden to Germany.

Exhibition link: https://kunsthaushamburg.de/en/lecture/#

Interview on the project with European Urban Studies student Arnisa Halili: https://www.treffpunkteuropa.de/istanbuls-erster-botanischer-garten-deutsch-turkische-geschichte-mit-allen?lang=fr 

Born in 1993, Dilşad has studied Architecture at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey.

She is currently pursuing her graduate study in European Urban Studies at the Bauhaus University of Weimar as a DAAD scholar. She has worked in several architecture offices, been part of exhibitions and film projects and co-founded an urban collective called “Plankton Project”. The project “the Garden of (not) Forgetting” which she conducted with Eda Aslan since 2017 received several research and production funds. In her research and artistic practice, her main focus areas are the disruptive potential of architecture, emerging urban heritage conflicts in Europe and specifically in Turkey and the role of civil society organizations in these conflictual situations.