Do rivers have memory? Could flowing water constitute an archive? What makes a river our commons? Taking cues from these questions, architect and researcher Merve Bedir introduces her curatorial work on the Maritsa River—the longest waterway that runs through the Balkans, crossing Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. For this talk, she discusses how different archives about the Maritsa River were lost or displaced once it was used to define national borders. She facilitated the collective attempt to start documenting the river again, investigating how this has become a strategy to reclaim this body of water.
In her research, Bedir explores borders, migration, and urban transformation. Her work examines the vocabulary of hospitality—refugee, immigrant, migrant, guest, host, ghost, and hostage—and identifies the forms and spaces of solidarity among different communities. For this talk, she extends her queries to AAA, an archive and research organisation, and to art’s current models of ownership and publicness.
This talk is part of Who Owns It?, a series that considers users as active participants with the agency to change institutions. How do people build a sense of ownership or community around a common aspiration? What unites a seed collector and museum curator, or a refugee camp and an impermanent shrine? AAA asks artists, architects, farmers, and scholars to reflect on users that produce, collect, build, and destroy.
Free and open to the public with registration.
Merve Bedir is an architect and researcher based in Hong Kong and Rotterdam. She is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology and a Partner at Land+Civilization Compositions. Bedir was the Co-Curator for Aformal Academy, Shenzhen Biennale, 2015; Curator of Uncommon River, One Architecture Week, Plovdiv, 2015; Vocabulary of Hospitality, Studio X, Istanbul, 2015; and a freelance curator at the Netherlands Architecture Institute, 2012–2013. Her upcoming book Vocabulary of Hospitality will be published by dpr-barcelona this year.