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SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms hovers around a material – salt water – and the contrasting image-forms of knots and waves.

It looks for where to draw the line, to withdraw, to draw upon, and to draw out. It does so offshore, on the flat surfaces with our fingertips, but also in the depths, underwater, before the enfolded encoding unfolds.

This city-wide exhibition on the Bosphorus considers different frequencies and patterns of waves, the currents and densities of water both visible and invisible that poetically and politically shape and transform the world. With and through art, we mourn, commemorate, denounce, try to heal, and we commit ourselves to the possibility of joy and vitality, of many communities that have co-inhabited these spaces, leaping from form to flourishing life.

When you visit the 14th Istanbul Biennial, you will spend quite a bit of time on salt water. There is a slowing down of the experience of art due to the travel between venues, especially on ferries. This is very healthy: salt water helps to heal respiratory problems and many other illnesses, as well as calming the nerves.

SALTWATER takes place in museums and also in temporary spaces of habitation on land and on sea, such as boats, hotel rooms, former banks, garages, gardens, schools, shops and private homes. Although the journey is continuous, this guidebook looks at six main areas: the Northern Bosphorus, Beyoğlu, Şişli, the Old City, Kadıköy and the Princes’ Islands. Each might correspond to a day in your lives.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev


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