The Hospitable Sea

The Hospitable Sea



Beral Madra


Alparslan Baloğlu, Burçak Konukman, Yusuf Emre Yalçın, Sümer Sayın,Yılmaz Vurucu & BahanurAsya, Adrien Tirtiaux, Evrim Kavcar, Emre Koyuncuoğlu, Johannes Vogl


Based on extensive production realized during the 7 Sinopale by local and international artists, curators and academicians, as well as local NGO’s and the public, this version of Sinopale can focus on the main historical, geographical, political and cultural world phenomenon of Black Sea, which is in the hearth of Europe and Eurasia.

Apart from all political, economic, environmental disasters the world is facing now, the future of WATER will be more fundamental.

The resources and saneness of the Sea’s – the main water quantity – will be more in demand for global population and its vital needs. Its environment is being fatally transformed by climate change, and paradoxically with the industries and communities that depend on it, both in Turkey and globally. For example, the emerging ambitious project of opening a Canal from Black Sea to Marmara Sea is one of the dangers awaiting to be dealt with. Or,

Water is the most vital source in the world. It is one of the four elements with fire, air and earth. The sea, symbolizes eternity, vastness, trouble and calm, journeys, dreams and fears related to them. Water is considered “the matrix of Creation”, “the symbol and the mirror of the Divine “, the “messenger”, the “mirror of the man in which he contemplates his soul. Water has always inspired artists, writers, poets, it has multitude symbolic images.

United States Geological Survey estimates that the Levant Basin – the waters of Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and the Palestine – contains 122.4 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas. To date, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, and Palestine have discovered gas – which has stimulated cooperation between Egypt, Israel, and Cyprus. Turkey, however, disputes the right of the Republic of Cyprus to conduct gas exploration without the involvement of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and explores gas in Black Sea. All these ambitious interests cast a dark shadow on the future of Black Sea.

The Black Sea, even if it is the marginal part of the Atlantic Ocean is a zone of continuous interaction—sometimes cordial, sometimes conflictual—among the peoples and states around its shores, from the Antiquity to today, from the Balkans to the Caucasus, from Russia to Turkey.

Indeed, to the ancient Greeks, the sea lay at the edge of the world known to them and they colonized its shores to make it part of the active world. The growth of Greek trading colonies linked all the coasts and cities into a web of economic and cultural relationships.

In the Middle Ages the sea was connected to the great commercial cities of the Mediterranean. The Ottomans used the Black Sea resources to extend the borders of their empire. In the late eighteenth century, the Black Sea was frequented by international commerce, and some coastal cities were actually part of the global system of trade. After the collapse of the Russian and Ottoman empires, a number of newly formed nation-states emerged, they asserted their rights on sections of the coastal waters.

Today, efforts to resurrect the idea of the Black Sea as a unified region are once again on the international agenda. In maritime history cities on the seashores are attractive; ships and cargoes bring people and goods; they are the end and the beginning of a voyage; they are the point of distribution of cultures and ideas; and it is where the geopolitical power of the worlds’ leading nations begins.

Black Sea relates to the Mediterranean. Historians as disparate as Fernand Braudel, Predrag Matvajevic, Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell tend to treat the Black Sea as a mere extension of the Mediterranean. However, in comparison to Mediteranean shore cities there is a very limited interest for the Black Sea cities, almost all of which, apart from Odessa and Istanbul, are not in the mainstream historiographical discourse. Sinopale has contributed to this deficit with its vision and productivity.