Sinopale’s Relational Atlas

Sinopale’s Relational Atlas

project curated by:

Rana Öztürk


Julie Upmeyer, Raluca Popa,  Ronan McCrea, Johannes Vogl, Anne Metzen, Riikka Tauriainnen, Satellietgroep

This project will look at Sinopale as a site of relational encounters through each edition of the biennial and explore what kind of previously non-existing or invisible links between Sinop and other places occurred through the artworks produced and exhibited in Sinop. 

By being situated in a specific place, a biennial raises the question of what it means for artists, artworks, and audiences to be at that specific place at that specific time, when it is no longer possible to think of places and times as disparate entities in a global world. Sinopale has always been very much positioned in the local context and everyday life of the city; and it has initiated numerous relations and interactions between the visiting artists, curators and the local citizens. These interactions have taken tangible forms through the artworks made and/or presented in the exhibitions.

Sinopale’s Relational Atlas uses as a starting point the idea of relational geography (borrowing from Doreen Massey), which is based on a complex mapping process that allows thinking of places and subjects in mutual histories that are formed by inter-regional influences and exchanges that cannot be explained with the hegemonic relations between centers and peripheries. This indicates an interrelated geographical context rather than fixed geographic areas bound by borders and distinguishing characteristics of a state, culture, nation, and in this case, city. A relational geography suggests a geography that is constantly being reconstituted by historical and present interrelations across space. In a world of constant flux and increased mobility, even more unlikely encounters across the globe have been taking place.

An exhibition of contemporary art can function as a site to re/formulate existing links, to create opportunities for new interactions and to generate stories based on those relations. The specific time and place of the exhibition set a unique perspective for these relations and every encounter is also a renegotiation of the city it takes place in and the city’s specific history and characteristics as a place. A focus on these encounters might be useful in looking at how Sinopale has been functioning as part of a larger geography (from regional to national and global context) and how it has been negotiating the position of Sinop as a city within that larger geographical context.

Sinopale’s Relational Atlas invites a group of previous Sinopale artists to revisit their works from today’s perspective. Each of these artists has previously presented works that either involved cultural encounters and exchanges or offered a way of looking at Sinop in connection with other places. Which ones of these relational accounts have caused continued resonances and which ones could be revived for future possibilities? Is it possible to envision a larger Relational Atlas for Sinopale by mapping every work of art exhibited in Sinop so far? The artists will search for answers to such questions in Sinopale 8.