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Film Festival
California, US

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Group Exhibition
Shanghai, China

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Group Exhibition
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Berlin, DE

Microbiota of Desire:             
       a bacterial map for Istanbul’s hammams     

2018
installation
approx 140X200X100cm

used hammam towels, petri dishes with bacteria colonies, stainless steel medical trolley, microscope & tablets


Hammams are built for the purposes of cleaning and sanitization. They are gendered, a hammam can either serve men or women. There are the places the Muslim societies have their rituals of cleaning, relaxing and socializing. However, they can also serve as queer heterotopias, they make space for (homo)sexual intimacies. Although these hammams, repurposed as secret sexpublics, are internationally famous, they also face ‘moral sanitizations’. An example of this might be the police raid to the Firuzaga Hamami, one of the most famous gay hammams of Istanbul, in 2014. This raid has ended with the arrest of 60 individuals.

Microbiota of Desire (A bacterial map for Istanbul’s hammams), views the bodily and bacterial connection in those hammams as the traces of queer desire in public spaces. With an approach close to molecular anthropology, the project aims at investigating and archiving the homosocial relationship in hammams on a microscopic level.


this project is realized with the support of Assoc. Prof. Burak Aksu, Kübra Özgüler and Melis Yavuzoğlu