Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey
Summer 2011

From: Brian O’Connell [mailto:cbrianoconnell@gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:43 AM
To: xxx@neo.tamu.edu
Subject: Bodrum Tirhandil Project
Dear Professor Bass,
My name is Brian O’Connell. I am an artist based in New York. I am currently in Turkey planning a project meant to take place in the next year. I’m interested in the way that forms, ancient and contemporary, carry known and sometimes unknown records of their cultural and structural antecedents.  In the spring of 2009 I made a 13 foot functional cement hull in Los Angeles (see: http://boconnell.org/ART/BOAT/Boat1.html). The form of this hull was based on that of an earlier boat used by Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader in 1975. 
My current project involves a much more complicated history that I am hoping you may be able to lend some insight into. I’m currently looking for a disused and or no-longer seaworthy 9-10 meter boat in or around Bodrum. This boat will be used as a mold for a “new” concrete vessel which will bare the impression of the old structure on its inside surface. 
I am hoping to find a tirhandil which according to some internet sources (I’ve been unable to find reliable literature on this subject) dates back some 2500 years.  Apparently Tirhandil are the oldest form (and shape) of boat still used in the region. Furthermore, the name is said to derive from Greek for 3 to 1. Based on the working boats I’ve seen while here this seems plausible but I’m wondering if you have any ideas about whether or not this is true and where I might look to better source such claims. I also found it interesting and  encouraging to note that many of the wrecks – e.g. that at Bozburun (15 x 5 m) – have similar proportions. 
This form and its history (if true) is of particular interest to me because like ancient Greek sculpture, proportion directs all the boat’s dimensions. If one could start with a single dimension and go from there just as ancient mathematicians did (after all Pythagoras couldn’t and didn’t need to calculate Pi as long as he could define and use it) the implications for how form is transmitted over time and across cultures and disciplines are fascinating to me as an artist. 
Thanks you very much for your consideration and I look forward to hearing any suggestions you may have. 

All the best,
Brian O’Connell
Brian O’Connell  / www.boconnell.org / 436 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205 / tel. +1.917-553-4227

I left for Istanbul via Paris in mid-July. When I took this picture I had no idea of the closeness of the machine I was about to board to the ancient technologies for which I was setting out in search.

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