Photo by: Aslı Ozan

The Breath of Sinop

The Breath of Sinop, 2014-2015

Sinopale 5, “Kümeler ve Kristaller: Sıfır Noktasında Gözlem
Curator: T. Melih Görgün

A collaborative art project of temporary glass blowing workshops

Conversations with Sinop locals and how they introduced their city to me gave insights into their concerns about the ongoing changes in their living environment. There was a rapid transformation of the urban landscape and people were concerned about losing their local cultural and natural heritage.

The initial aim of the project was to capture the breath of the people of Sinop as a metaphor for the cultural, social, and natural heritage that may soon disappear in the accelerating transformation of the city, while at the same time provoking conversations on these values.

The material chosen to preserve the breath was glass, a material that has played a significant role in the recent history of the city. Sinop had the largest handmade glass production factory in Turkey for almost 25 years. The factory which had provided economic wealth and craftsmanship for two decades was shut down in 2005 due to the inability to compete with machinery production and laid 1700 workers down.

The accessibility, taking part in artwork production, and the conviviality around the workshops, provided for the atmosphere to vocalize subjectivities in a public sphere. As the participants were asked repeatedly to express the values that they want to preserve, a space-time archive was created that reflects the local social fabric and the heritage of the city.  On separate occasions, various artists hooked on to the project amongst whom music bands, composers, multi-media artists, groups of photographers, and filmmakers with their inspiring works.

Working in close collaboration with Sinop Sustainable Civic Association, The Breath of Sinop encourages the ideas that have been called out during the workshops to turn into sustainable initiatives by the citizens, supporting the social, cultural, and economic development of the city.

More than 500 people participated in the glass blowing workshops since their start in August 2014, during Sinopale 5. These were held in Sinop center, its towns Gerze and Ayancık, as well as in the Istanbul Glass Furnace Foundation and the non-operating Sinop Şişe Cam glass factory.

This project is produced together with Güngör Erdem in collaboration with the Sinop community, Sinop Sustainable Civic association, Sinop, Gerze and Ayancık Municipalities, Istanbul Cam Ocağı Vakfı, Mr. Hulusi Yolasığmaz,  the Glasscrafts masters of Sinop and Stipglass Tilburg, NL and several NGOs including Woman Crafts Development Association, Sinop Photographers Club, Chamber of Architects, European Cultural Asociation and small businesses Ayyıldız Copy Center, ABBC Baskı, Kayıkçıoğlu Ticaret, Örnek Mantı, and local radio Barış FM and local newspapers.