Curated by Hakki Serhat Cacekli & Naz Cuguoglu

The garden is, was and will be a possibility. Not only as a space of collaborative system, between species and inter-species relationships, but also as a place of imagination and resistance. It can be seen as a hole that opens up to another universe, be it sci-fi or good old storytelling. It is sort of a mindset: you can’t choose it, it chooses you. And it will choose you. It is a matter of what you do when the next supernova takes place. Will you go after the raccoon, cut roses to decorate the dinner table, or will you daydream about the seeds hiding under the ground and wonder who put them there. Your camouflage as a colonizer in relation to the invisible seed contradicts with your existence as an exile, voluntarily or involuntarily. Will you let your plants cross-breed, let the moss go wild, or will you cut a hundred-year-old tree in a botanical garden because it was not documented in the archives?[1]


Coming from a place in which public joy is lagged, it is safe to linger towards to private, intimate, and personal. It is a tendency to create a moment to meditate on what is missing of the memory of a city that never was, to heal. Because it is not just about a garden in San Francisco, there are many more far away, that haunt you at night. Name it Gezi[2] or Collective Cukurcuma[3], these collaborative ecosystems are to keep you awake in the age of (self)doubt and systematic nonsense.


Spend the night in your garden, hug the chthulucene[4]—baby octopus, ladybug, and the raccoon—turn around, cut the moon in half and eat it.


Nobody knows, it did not happen.


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“Sanctuary” is a meditation on our back garden in San Francisco. It is an attempt to learn from plants, mushrooms and moss. Zooming in and out, looking for our reflection in the pond, trying to find our way through the labyrinth. Far from a recreation, each work acts as an allegory to understand our relation to informal gardens and their habitat, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside, human and non-human, to wither and to flourish.

[1] These questions raised during a curatorial workshop in Dresden, Germany. “The Whole Life Academy” was organized by HKW between May 19-25, 2019.

[2] Gezi Park Movement—another supernova that took place in Istanbul in 2013.

[3] Curatorial collective from Istanbul.