Abandoned Xmas Trees

Christmas is blinking – about to arrive homes… Every year after Christmas I feel such melancholy and loss because of seeing all those abandoned Christmas trees on the streets of Berlin. Different hues of green, still beautiful, left behind – tears leaking from every single leaf…

Exaggerating? Maybe, a little… My winter melancholy sometimes merges with the souls of the abandoned Xmas trees. Therefore, their pure sadness triggered me to invite people for a book project: Abandoned Xmas Trees.

The idea came from a text of Ivan Vladislavic’s in The White Review: The Last Walk… First the reader sees the photo. Footprints, a body lying on the floor – black and white…Then, Vladislavic writes about the story behind the photo: the body in the photo belongs to the writer Robert Wasler who collapsed all of a sudden, unexpectedly… We see a moment; we read the moment of death through those traces hidden in the photo. Footprints of the artist – it is a hill; the black hat had rolled down.

Reading the essay of Ivan Vladislavic reminded me exactly the same feeling when I encounter an abandoned Xmas tree. Then the realization came: the photos are also abandoned… We take the moment with the urge to grab and enclose it… Recalling the moments; smelling the parfume, tasting the orange, the feeling of that touch… Unnecessarily romantic… I know, however that melancholia captures even the toughest of us. We all know the moment is about to be gone. “Now” has already flown away. Pouf… The reason we take photos may be to cast our minds back to that smell, that exact color, the people around us… By seeing someone else’s photo, say, from a flea market we witness a glimpse of a life of a stranger. Without invitation we are already at the party. Our voyeuristic desires are turned on. Who knows, maybe we identify ourselves with one of those in the photos. We transform into that girl in the theme park or totally understand the feeling of the grumpy kid.

Some moments hidden in the photos are reminiscent of those Xmas trees; abandoned and trapped in the cadrage. Therefore, I inquired the contributors to write a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or something longer after an encounter with a photo that, somehow, touched them. I asked them to release the feelings and share with us; I did the same, as well. Abirami Mahendran, Adam, Matschulat Aguiar, Alison Hugill, Ayca Andac Karabeyoglu, Heiner Mühlenbrock, Hüma Utku, Morgan Belenguer, Valentina Karga, Yasemin Şengil and Zeynep Kayan sent the photos that have a meaning for them with beauteous texts. Now, as a part of the project ‘Even my mom can make a book’ by Kristina Kramer, Gamze Özer and Timothee Huguet Abandoned Xmas Trees is enjoying the moment near other attractive artist books and zines in the space of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. Afterwards as a part of the exhibition “Stay with me” Abandoned Xmas Trees will be apparent as a book at Aparment Project Berlin. Artists of different generations from Turkey are invited by Selda Asal to send their books for the exhibition which will be opening on 27th November.

Our desire to capture the moments, not to let things go will remain. There is no escape from it. My dear friend M is moving to M and she mentioned her fears and doubts which I felicitate. Without those feelings altogether, functioning is not possible. What is crucial is to accept the moments and transform them into joyful memories. Let’s try it; let’s take a photo of ourselves in good spirits before a doubtful act by celebrating the change. Years later, we will look at it and remember it with contentment.

Taking photos is a way to accept, receive the moment and turning it into an endless entity…