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Fictional protocols and desirable futures

Garp Sessions, Babakale, Turkey
7 — 16 August 2020

Garp Sessions is a summer program that brings artists, writers and researchers together in Babakale, a Turkish village on the Aegean sea. The programme prioritises collective thinking, digesting and exchange among the residents through reading and teaching sessions and shared meals. Unfolding over ten days, it aims to create room for interaction between people, practices, and researches and generate interdisciplinary exchange.

The 2020 programme explored fictional travels and alternative modes of mapping. In a period of unprecedented change, it invited academics, artists, curators and writers, to collectively reflect on moments of transition and speculate on alternative ways of being in the world. Participants from different disciplines and art forms were invited to engage with each other, with no requirements for an output. The focus, instead, was on the creative process, the exchanges between thinkers, writers and visual artists and the sharing of knowledge. The participants gathered around a central question: what rituals and gestures of human and non-human nature can help us build sustainable scenarios? Starting from a series of selected readings and activities proposed by the facilitators, drawing from performance studies, feminist speculative fiction, and social and trans-humanist theories, the participant collectively devised a schedule for ten days of intensive research.

Sea observations, writing workshops, games, healing exercises, visits to local ancient sites, collective cooking, and conversations with locals contributed to the research as much as readings and discussions. External speakers also contributed to the research process through Zoom lectures, proposing storytelling as a tool to overcome historical trauma, and testing role-play and social gaming strategies. Each participant shared their knowledge with the group through teaching sessions and exercises, exploring different forms of care both in theory and practice.

Like in a string game of Cat’s cradle, personal stories and new findings interlaced into a temporary ecosystem which allowed for new ideas to mushroom in time. Each participant created a range of artworks and writings: a video work, a diary, a draft for an academic paper, the start of a new novel. The participants are currently offering each other feedback and developing this work further for presentations to wider audiences.

Garp Sessions founders:
Ayşe İdil İdil, Deniz Kırkalı

2020 Facilitators:
Giulia Civardi, Ekin Can Göksoy.

Ezgi Hamzaçebi, Lara Ögel, Cem Örgen, Burak Taşdizen.

External speakers:
Tamara Hart, Nora Tataryan.

Selected readings: 

Butler, Octavia E. Parable of the Sower. New York: Warner Books, 1995.

Calvino, Italo. Six Memos for the Next Millennium. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.

Frase, Peter. Four Futures, Brooklyn: Verso Books, 2016. 

Latour, Bruno. What protective measures can you think of so we don’t go back to the pre-crisis production model?, Translated by Stephen Muecke (unpublished) 2020.

O’Shea, Lizzie. Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us About Digital Technology. Verso, Books, 2019.

Abram, David. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. 2010.

Citton, Yves. The Ecology of Attention. 2017.

Gibson, James J. The Theory of Affordances. 1979.

Illich, Ivan. Tools for Conviviality. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

Ingold, Tim. Materials against materiality. Archaeological Dialogues. 2017

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