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Design Biennial Istanbul

Istanbul is a city of amazing history which is shaped by many powerful empires throughout the history. From the Greek until the Ottoman Empire. And of course that does not exclude that Istanbul is a city of art and modern designs.

 

About the Istanbul Biennial

Istanbul Biennial is a contemporary art exhibition, held every two years in Istanbul since 1987, the Biennial is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts since its inception. The Biennial aims to create a meeting point in Istanbul in the field of visual arts between artists from diverse cultures along with the audience. The biennials IKSV (which is the Turkish shortcut for the organization) has organized up to now have enabled the formation of an international cultural network between local and international art circles, artists, curators, and art critics by bringing together new trends in contemporary art every two years.

The biennial will bring together old and new knowledge, academic and amateur, professional and personal, engaging multigenerational, transdisciplinary practitioners from Turkey and abroad.

Istanbul Biennial adheres to an exhibition model in which the curator, appointed by an international advisory board, develops a conceptual framework according to which a variety of artists and projects are invited to the exhibition. After the first two biennials realized under the general coordination of Beral Madra in 1987 and 1989, IKSV decided to commission a different curator for each edition, starting with the 1992 Istanbul Biennial directed by Vasif Kortun.

 

What does the Biennial mean to Istanbul?

The most comprehensive international art exhibition organized in Turkey and the wider region, Istanbul Biennial plays an important role as a local and regional platform for artists to reach an international audience, and for the local audiences to meet artists from around the World. The opportunity to follow developments and discussions in the art world through a complementary educational program is provided both for students and viewers of art through the exhibitions and simultaneously translated panel discussions, conferences and workshops organized within the scope of the exhibitions.

Istanbul’s 13th biennial in 2013 was overtaken by political events; its theme was art in public spaces but was forced to retreat indoors after many of the scheduled venues filling with plumes of tear gas and water cannon as police and demonstrators clashed had been tuned into a battleground between demonstrators trying to protect the city’s Gezi Park.

 

About the 2018 Istanbul Design Biennial

The opening program was, A School of Schools: Orientation, was held during September in 2018. It consisted of practitioners, educators, and thinkers from Turkey and all over the world converge in a biennial conceived as a public space for dialogue, provocation and production. All together, they tested and revised a variety of educational strategies to reflect on the role of design, knowledge, and global connectedness in contemporary Istanbul and beyond.

 

 

A Lab of Labs

AMT was again part of the Istanbul Design Biennial, this time together with Bilkent University (Ankara) hosting a workshop and a panel. They responded to the main theme of A School of Schools with their own emphasis: A Lab of Labs. In other words, working with the Bilkent Media Archaeology Lab (led by Andreas Treske) they organized a two day event that performed a lab in as a method to investigate it as an assemblage of methods, techniques, affordances of the lab in an urban environment and in the context of Istanbul, a city with a long heritage of crafts, workshops, and design irreducible to a sanitized design thinking discourse. Benefiting from the experience of Ege Berensel and Başak Altın they engaged in workshopping that included 8 mm found footage (home films) and motherboards (as a source of circuit bending and tinkering). While Ebru Kurbak joined to talk about her work in textiles, computing and material methodologies in speculative design, and Tuğçe Karataş shared her views as an independent curator, their special surprise guest was the local TV repair shop expert who gave them a two hour crash course into his work and electronics! The lab includes many kinds of expertise.

Past Venues

The 2009 biennial took place at three venues on the European side of the city of Istanbul: Antrepo, or warehouse, No. 3 in Tophane area; the Tobacco Warehouse, also in Tophane and the Ferikoy Greek School, in Sisli.

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