Burak Taşdizen
Orient-Institut Istanbul
Susam Sokak 16, D. 8
TR—34433 Cihangir – Istanbul
phone +90—212—2936067 ext. 128
e-mail tasdizen@oiist.org

Fishnets to conquer & to care for

A fishnet left drying in the shade, an act of care.
Photograph by Burak Taşdizen.

Taken from Taşdizen’s working file.

The yarn is made from nylon for nylon provides strength. Still, the yarn tears off from time to time, requires ongoing care,1 which would then prevent its dematerialization2: “The sun first washes it [rengini açar], and eventually tears it [yakar],” explains one villager. A tear in the net is undesired for it damages the consistency of the grid, making the net ineligible, or difficult the least, to work with. In order to prevent such tears, “you should not place it [the net] under the sun,” explains another villager. Placing the net in the shadow after use emerges as a technical act of care. Care aside, fishnets cannot always be protected against the evils of the outside world. He continues: “Dolphins […] the thread tears off when you capture a dolphin in the net.”


In order to eliminate such incidents, animals to be hunt need to be confused. This confusion is made through careful calculations as to how the fishnets mimic a natural state of being: “Leave the net not so tight, but rather loose,” suggests the fishnet knitter to his customer who wants to hunt the snakes in the reeds [sazlık]. He then continues: “Because when it [the animal] feels a threat, it [the animal] immediately swims forward but stronger. If you leave the net loose, then it gets entangled in the net, so you can capture it.” The fishnet, an external substance that enters animal’s environment, is given a drape, rather than a stretch, mimicking the niche3, or habitat in general, for nothing in nature appears in grids. So the drape conceals the grids, potentially making them look like reeds, or a human trash hanging. This strategy is significant for it builds upon existing observation of the environment and the animal, which is then further utilized in capturing it. The way in which this utilization occurs attempts to stage a natural environment, eliminating the traces of the human touch, keeping in mind the ways animal is likely to behave.

1. Denis, Jérôme, and David Pontille. 2015. "Material Ordering and the Care of Things."  Science, Technology, & Human Values 40 (3):338-367.

2.  Ingold, Tim. 2007. "Materials against Materiality." Archaeological Dialogues 14 (1): 1-16.

3.  Gibson, James J. 1977. "The Theory of Affordances." In Perceiving, Acting and Knowing: Toward an Ecological Psychology, edited by Robert Shaw and John Bransford, 67-82. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

August 2020 — Ongoing

‘Fishnets to conquer & to care for’ is part of Taşdizen’s explorations around materiality and animality in Babakale, Çanakkale during Garp Sessions 2020.

Garp Sessions 2020 is facilitated by Giulia Civardi and Ekin Can Göksoy. Participants are Ezgi Hamzaçebi, Lara Ögel, Cem Örgen and Burak Taşdizen. Garp Sessions is co-founded by Ayşe İdil and Deniz Kırkalı.