The Secret City

The Secret City

project curated by:

Emre Zeytinoğlu


Aylin Çakıner, Burçak Konukman, Güngör Erdem, İpek Hamzaoğlu, Müride Aksan, Nil İlkbaşaran, T. Melih Görgün

This project refers to Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” and is called “The Secret City”.

In Calvino’s book, Marco Polo speaks to Genghis Khan for night after night about the cities he visited. Genghis Khan, on the other hand, enjoyed the great cities he conquered, whilst listening to the stories of these cities. Because Marco Polo’s cities didn’t gain their meanings through great wars, heroism, etc.. Instead, they were made up of personal memories, stories, and emotions. In other words, Marco Polo was talking about the soul of the cities, not their outward appearances. There was one city that had never been told to Genghis Khan by Marco Polo. This city was Venice. When Genghis Khan asked Marco Polo to describe this city on their last night, Marco Polo’s response to him was very interesting:

Dawn had broken when he said: “Sire, now I have told you about all the cities I know.”

“There is still one of which you never speak.’

Marco Polo bowed his head.

‘Venice,’ the Khan said.

Marco smiled. ‘What else do you believe I have been talking to you about?’

The emperor did not turn a hair. ‘And yet I have never heard you mention that name.’

And Polo said: ‘Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.”

““When I ask you about other cities, I want to hear about them. And about Venice, when I ask you about Venice.”

“To distinguish other cities’ qualities, I must speak of a first city that remains implicit. For me it is Venice.”

It appears that all the cities Marco Polo described carried something from Venice. Quite simply, an invisible city gave meaning to all cities.

Project:  The artists involved in the project are from Sinop, but now live and produce in other cities. Each of these artists will be asked to take one or more of their past works and identify the “feeling of Sinop” that has infiltrated into the works unintentionally, to emphasize that feeling by rearranging the same work in this direction.

Curator will hold conversations with the artists both separately and collectively in the final stage, and the new versions of the works will be presented online.