Polluted Homes is a fictional art installation consisting of polychaete species evolved in time under the ecological circumstances that Bosphorus and Marmara Sea face today. Known as the ecological corridor, Bosphorus is a home to many different non-humans ranging from the bottom in deep sea sediments to the shore.
In the proposed alternative reality, the sea creatures mingle with pollutants as allies. This installation as an art practice between reality and fiction is subverting the dualistic approaches such as human and non-human, machine and organism, or social and biological. The art piece has emerged from the inspiration coming from laboratory visits that kick-started the Ph.D. research of the artist. Inviting the viewer to participate in a world-making practice [6, 7], the work is informed by design fiction , multispecies ethnography , and cyborg and crip literature [10,11,12]. While the biological and social reality of 0.5-cm critters are woven with anthropocentric destruction, such tiny organisms enlarged on a sand dune collected from the shores of the Bosphorus become an intervention at the gallery space. The evolved species are in kinship with pollution to come into life again . Polluted Homes was led by the question: if the life of marine fauna depends on the well-being and ability of the sea, what is the disabled agency of critters telling us?
Polluted Homes is a series of macro-fauna fossils collected in 3019 from the sand dunes where Bosphorus is located today. The piece is an extension of the artist’s Ph.D. research “Critters of Crippled Seas” that she started at an ecology laboratory where scientists identify marine benthic organisms taken from sediment samples, aiming to monitor the health of Bosphorus. During this indexing process, the body is separated from the identity as the critters become a live data source. With qualitative data from laboratory visits, interviews and field walks at Poyrazkoy and Garipce, cyborg macro-fauna species had emerged (Fig. 5), based on the participant interviews where sometimes science and imagination were intertwined.
While juxtaposing the present and the future, the artwork is drawing attention to the life possibilities in post-human environments. It proposes speculative cyborg bodies, where the cyborg is a hybrid notion of animal and pollution . These critters and seashells have evolved through the circumstances of heavy metal and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) accumulation in the bottom of the sea (benthic area) where they used to live. They live with an elongated and tangled few-meters-long palp to catch food in blurry waters, solidifying in their metallic protective shells as more heavy metal accumulates in the crippled sea. Crippled sea is the response of Bosphorus to how it can take on new life forms instead of trying to survive in the Anthropocene. The pink color of fossil forms is alluding to the rose bengal ethanol that is being used today in the ecology laboratory that dyes macro-faunas during the experiment (Fig. 6).
The installation brings fiction and science together with an ambiguous, playful expression. The sculptures are produced through a labor-intensive, ritualistic process, similar to how the ecology laboratory works. In contrast to the dark futurology of the Anthropocene, the collection is referring to the livable Cthulucene . While focusing on the resurgence, the agency of critters is tackling feminist crip technoscience and post-humanism [14,15,16,17].
In search of other possible lives, this artwork is influenced by principles of critical design and conceptual art. The conceptual language of the installation stems from the speculative design perspective proposed by Dunne and Raby  who define the future not as a destination but a means to make one’s imagination flourish.
Accordingly, critical design can be playful, provocative, and even dark: “It is more about the positive use of negativity, not negativity for its own sake but to draw attention to a scary possibility in the form of a cautionary tale” ( p. 35). While life out of polluted sediment ruins fosters , evolved species on the sand dune provoke the reality. Looming as the opposite of what natural science is, the sea keeps on waving crippled.
While the first version of the artwork was exhibited at the group show Cyborg Encounters initiated by Dr. Melike Şahinol during the STS Turkey Conference at Istanbul Technical University (Fig. 5), the second version of the project has been exhibited with new species at the + D Gallery during the Sonar 2020 festival at Zorlu Performance Art Center, Istanbul (Figs. 6, 7, and 8).
The latest iteration of this piece has been exhibited with new species designs at Pilot Gallery, Istanbul, during the group exhibition “What Water Knows” curated by Azra Tüzünoğlu (Fig. 9). The fossils were displayed on the sand dune leaking from the wall offering the viewer an encounter with the other possible states of being of the sea, inviting them at the corner of the gallery to think about the relationship we have established with Bosphorus. These enlarged sea worms are bodies that are likely to exist and invite the viewer to go closer, engage and explore them with a careful gentle look (Fig. 10).