Ghost Stories: A Theory of Transport Bag Architecture

Curators: Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş, Ghost Stories: A Theory of Transport Bag Architecture will be presented at the Türkiye Pavilion as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale between May 20 and November 26, 2023. The Türkiye Pavilion is coordinated by the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation (İKSV), co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA, and implemented with the participation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

Ghost Stories: A Theory of Transport Bag Architecture challenges accepted perceptions and approaches to buildings to reveal more promising proposals for the future. Elizabeth Fisher’s Carrier Bag Theory of Evolution argues that instead of hunting tools, the first cultural device used by humans was probably the grocery bag, which allowed them to transport harvested vegetables. Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1986 essay “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” developed this idea by moving away from the concept of a gun-wielding hero. Based on this, the exhibition suggests listening to and understanding the stories of abandoned buildings, rather than focusing on more heroic, successful examples. The adaptation of shopping bag theory, from evolution to architecture, brings a radical change to the images we have inherited, whether through paintings on the walls of prehistoric caves, in stories or in the modern cityscape. When these images begin to change, it requires a change in the way we operate. Thus, the shift from focusing on the image of the gun to the duffel bag ultimately transforms the entire scene from a heroic story of destruction to a collaborative, unfamiliar life story.

The research for the exhibition included an open call launched in December 2022 with the aim of collecting the latest documentation of disused buildings across Turkey. Treating these buildings as a “laboratory of the future”, the exhibition presents innovative tools and methods for transforming, not demolishing existing structures, based on collective dreams and discussions.

After an open call, thanks to the responses of participants from all over Turkey, an archive was created containing photos of hundreds of residences, building complexes and abandoned production plants, partially or completely empty skyscrapers, hotels, schools, hospitals, restaurants and leisure facilities. One of the exhibition’s focal points – how to enhance and reuse existing building stock – becomes even more pressing after the devastating earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş, which affected 13.5 million people, leaving thousands in need of temporary housing.

In addition to the exhibition, the curators are preparing a book that sheds light on the research process and the results of the exhibition, and aims to engage architects and students of architecture in the discussions it generates. Written by Sevince Bayrak and designed by Esen Karol, the book will be available in English and will be jointly published by İKSV and ListLab.

Ghost Stories: A Theory of Transport Bag Architecture curated by Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş. The design team includes Aysima Akın, Kevser Reyyan Doğan, Merve Akdoğan, and the research team includes Taylan Tosun, Doğu Tonkur, Hatice Bahar Çoklar, Berke Şevketoğlu, Duygu Sayğı. The exhibition design is by SO? Architecture and ideas, graphic design is by Esen Karol and web developer is Özhan Binici.

The Türkiye Pavilion exhibition is coordinated by İKSV with the participation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye, and co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA, with the aviation partnership of Turkish Airlines. The Türkiye Pavilion has been participating in the International Architecture Exhibition since 2014, thanks to the acquisition of a permanent seat in Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, on the initiative of İKSV and with the support of 21 sponsors.

Read the manifesto Transport bag architecture theory Here.


https://turkiyepavilion23.iksv.org/