română/ bucurești/ cluj/ iași/ sibiu/

Carrier Bag Walks III: Snagov Forest

with Aslıhan Demirtaş, KHORA

Saturday, 8 July 2023, 11 to 5 p.m.
The Experimental Station for Research on Art and Life, Siliștea Snagovului
GPS Coordinates

Gathering has been and still is a steady and peaceful act which makes the world go round. In gathering, one practices the “arts of noticing” (Anna Tsing). It involves the noticing of seeds, roots, growth, transformations, decay, cycles, beginnings and ends, differences and diversity. A container, a bag, a vessel is made to hold everything together – entangled, assembled and collected.

In her essay “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” written in 1986, Ursula K. Le Guin references anthropologist Elizabeth Fisher’s claim that the first device made by human species was not the spear, but probably a recipient, a container to hold gathered products, and a carrier bag. In the temperate and tropical regions of the world, people mostly sustained themselves with plants and occasionally caught small animals and fish which required containers and nets to gather, catch and bring home. Hunting on the other hand required a spear, a different and durable object with which to stab and kill. Although less occurring, this event nevertheless made for an exciting story, with action and a hero. It is a story of domination, one which Ursula le Guin continues to state she has never felt part of, neither have I.

We will walk in the Snagov Forest while thinking about dispossession, earth, history, future, care and all the complexities the confluence of rivers forming the lake of Snagov presents. In a geography of oaks, pheasants and deer and in a context of problematic ecological management, we will collect and gather matter and thoughts in order to constellate new earthen imaginaries.

Carrier Bag Walks
I Alfred Heilbron Botanical Garden, İstanbul, 2017
II Kosutnjak Forest, Belgrade, WCSCD, 2022
III Snagov Forest, Bucharest, The Experimental Station for Research on Art and Life, 2023

Suggested readings:
Ursula Le Guin, Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
Suzanne Simard, Finding the Mother Tree: Uncovering The Wisdom And Intelligence Of The Forest:

Aslıhan Demirtaş is a practicing architect, artist, writer and educator. Her practice Khora Office is an expanded architecture practice based on research, art and ecology and is situated on and around the boundaries of disciplines engaged in making, often in the forms of buildings, gardens and art projects. After completing her graduate degree at MIT, she collaborated with I.M. Pei as the lead project designer for the Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha, Qatar and the Miho Chapel in Japan. Demirtaş has taught at Parsons at the New School, Bilgi and Khas Universities and has lectured at GSD, Harvard, MIT, The Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and American University in Beirut among others. She is the recipient of the Graham Foundation Grant for her book Graft, an active member of the Initiative for the Protection of the Historical Yedikule Urban Gardens and acted as technical reviewer for the Aga Khan Architecture Awards, 15th cycle.

Information and registration at:

Architecture, Biodiversity, Culture [ABC]. Building ecological institutions for culture is an European cooperation project situated at the intersection between cultural practices, eco-architecture and ecosystems preservation. Initiated by a consortium of organisations active in the fields of culture, contemporary art, architecture, civic activism and eco-sustainable community practices, the project proposes a participatory process of building and cultural contextualising of ecological prototypes to be used by cultural institutions. ABC operates on four sites in Romania, Bulgaria and France: Silistea Snagovului, a village in the proximity of Bucharest, near a protected area of lake and forest; Brezoi, a small town in the South-Western part of Romania, in a mountaneous area and close to an important river; Dren, a village outside of Sofia, in a hilly area; and Bagneux, in the peripheral neighourhoods of Paris.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.