The video contains footage of ruderal plants recorded at night accompanied by atmospheric urban sounds. A ruderal species is a plant species that is first to colonize disturbed lands in cities. Ruderal species typically dominate the disturbed area for a few years, gradually losing the competition to other native species. However, in extreme disturbance circumstances, such as when the natural topsoil is covered with a foreign substance, a single-species ruderal community may become permanently established. Besides, some ruderal invasive species may have such a competitive advantage over the native species that they, too, may permanently prevent a disturbed area from returning to its original state despite natural topsoil.
While considering that sociological terms such as native, invasive, exotic, etc. are also used in botany, the behavior of ruderal plants may act as a reminder of crime, displacement, migration, and slums. Even though the plants seen in the low light without a clear background awaken the “natural” connotations in the first place such as a forest, the city sounds in the background prevent this. The video approaches to the plants as individuals, focusing on their bodies in a haptic way.
No Man’s Land
spaces of indeterminacy
space of uncertainty
Temporary Autonomous Zone
Informal urban greenspace (IGS)
- Year 2018 - 19
Kerem Ozan Bayraktar’s work in “Sokak Otları” (“urban weeds” in Turkish) consists of observing growth and pattern dynamics of “ruderal” urban plants in ecologically disturbed sites such as ruins, car parks, abandoned buildings, road cracks, railways, etc. He is interested in the weeds’ “invasive” and “native” status, their connection with history and migrations, and their interaction with infrastructure.
Through these issues, I aim to understand the relationship between environment and living things, and to explore new possible ways of thinking and sensing by looking at the non-human. Starting in 2018 with small notes on Instagram (@sokakotlari), this ongoing inquiry proceeds with photos, texts and diagrams.