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weaving the wall

site intervention, 2022

I started this spatial intervention with leftover yarn skeins I collected from the aunties in the village. The ones who used to knit even their own socks with hand-spun yarns don't knit much anymore. A few aunties still make some extra money by knitting vests and sweaters. When I ask if they have any yarn, they find unused yarn hidden under their sofas or behind the cabinets to give to me. Still, I don't get much yarn in my hands. I take a boat to the other side in search of red yarn.

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This is Harmanlı, a village on Paşalimanı Island. There is no permission for construction on Paşalimanı Island. However, those who were born on this island about 40 years ago and then married someone from this island don't want to live with their parents. He is the one who built all the constructions on the island, and he started building his own house just before getting engaged. He is the one who builds the walls on the island. I show him what I'm doing - "I'm going to demolish this place," I say. "Why?" he asks. "It was bought, the owner said to demolish it."

The walls of the house I live in here are 70 centimeters thick. Made of stone. It's hard to find another house like this on the island. On cold winter days, the heat from the stove in the living room spreads everywhere. It stays cool inside during the summer. I take long walks in the morning. I walk on the island. My walks are as factual as the time the sun rises and sets. Everyone in the village knows where I walked that day. They may not know the exact location, but they know what time I went for a walk and what time I returned home. In the village, everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Except at night. When everyone retreats within their four walls, and if they've drawn their curtains, inside doesn't mix with the outside, and the outside doesn't mix with the inside.

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I carry the yarn skeins to Kumburnu. I have never knitted before. I weave through the columns with the skeins. The skeins wrap around the columns, and when one skein ends, I tie another one to its tip. I continue. I thread the skeins through each other, changing direction, tying knots. I pass the skeins through the beam and connect them with the columns. As I knit, the wind subsides. Shadows cast upon the ground. I look ahead through its square opening, and I see the sea. I go around to the other side, and I see yellow-green shrubs. I touch its surface, taut and soft. I lay my body upon it, it gently stretches, making room for me, embracing me. I pass my hands through it, letting myself surrender a little more, it supports me.

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27 February 2023, photo by Barış Can Sever

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10 September 2023,  photos and video by Cansu Hocaoğlu

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