Installations, Kas, Turkey: Plastic Goddesses

Plastic Goddesses mannequin project: While traveling around Turkey for several months, I had the pleasure of staying in the beautiful seaside town of Kas on the Mediterranean coast. After discovering several clothing mannequins next to the Hellenistic theatre, I collaborated with some locals to create an installation in the 4th century bce House Monument Tomb, one of Kas’ important landmarks.

The Doric style House Monument Tomb, carved from local rock, is situated north-east of the Hellenistic theatre. Inside the funerary chamber itself, entered by a high door, are three benches on which the bodies of the dead would have been laid. The wall directly opposite the door is decorated with a frieze having to do with funeral rites; it depicts 25 female figures, dancing hand-in-hand. The sides of the benches are embellished with rosettes and oyster shell motifs.

Having left the mannequins before completing the installation, I returned the next day to discover that someone had arranged two of them on the benches inside as if they were the dead bodies that had originally occupied those spaces. This person had also reattached the feet to one of them, albeit on the wrong legs. I left them, along with a small offering of dried pomegranates, red peppers, and flowers, to their slumber.

In ancient times, this area of Turkey used to worship Apollo (the sun god), Artemis (the moon goddess) and, particularly, Leto, their mother. The lover of Zeus, Leto was commanded by Zeus’ wife Hera to spend an eternity wandering from country to country and spent most of her enforced holiday time here in Lycia. Most of the temples in this area are dedicated to these three deities. In addition, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is said by Hesiod to have been born from the sea foam generated by Oranos’ castrated genitals at Cyprus, not too far east and south of here. I thought about these ancient legends as I selected sites for my plastic goddesses.

See more picture of this project here.

Later in my stay I incorporated projections into the House Tomb installation. Here are a couple of pictures of those.

See the complete set of photos of these projections here and here.

Read the catalogue of Plastic Goddesses: Art Interventions in and around Kas, Turkey here.

For more information on these projects, and on the town of Kas, go here and scroll through the April 2009 archives.