The Public Sphere as a Political Forum

13th Istanbul Biennial

Mom, am I barbarian? is the title chosen for the 13th Istanbul Biennial, curated by Fulya Erdemci. The show will focus on the theme of public space as a political forum and aspires to open up a space to rethink the concept of ‘publicness’ through art and elicit imagination and innovative thought to contribute to social engagement and discussion. The exhibition underscores the relationship between poetry, literature, poetics and art and include works that question forms of contemporary democracy; challenges current spatio-economic politics; problematizes notions of civilization and barbarity and explore the role of art in this context through innovative and unorthodox languages. The term “barbarian” also signifies the novel and yet unknown languages we are to learn or discover in order to understand ‘the other’ and construe ‘the world to come’.Initially conceptualized to include many projects that would intervene with urban public spaces, the exhibitions will take place at interior venues as per the curatorial decision. Fulya Erdemci decided that under given circumstances realizing the urban public space projects might undermine their very essence and purpose and it would be more meaningful for the exhibition to move away from urban public space.As stated by the curator “We had focused on the most contested urban public spaces in Istanbul such as Gezi Park, Taksim Square, Tarlabaşı Boulevard, Karaköy and Sulukule neighbourhood. When I was structuring the exhibition before Gezi resistance, I never intended to commission or include the spontaneous protest interventions and performances that happen on the streets, as I believe that they shouldn’t be domesticated or tamed in the institutional frames to which they are reacting. However, I was thinking that it was possible to highlight them if they were there already. So, I believe that by withdrawing from urban public spaces, thus marking the presence through the absence, we can contribute to the space of freedom, to the creative and participatory demonstrations and forums, instigated by the Gezi resistance.
Our moving away from urban public spaces led to a serious challenge regarding venues, but we were able to overcome this in a short time through establishing collaborations with art institutions such as ARTER and SALT Beyoğlu, and an independent artist initiative, 5533. Furthermore, from the outset, our aspiration was to open this edition of the biennial to everyone. With the decision to withdraw from urban public spaces following Gezi events, we have managed to make this edition of the biennial free of charge with the hope of creating a publicness, which is in line with the conceptual framework of the biennial.”

Open:Saturday, 14 September 2013
Close:Sunday, 20 October 2013
Address:Antrepo 3 – Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, Liman İşletmeleri Sahası, Karaköy; Galata Greek Primary School – Kemeraltı Cad. No:25 Galata, İstanbul; ARTER Space for Art – İstiklal Caddesi No: 211, Beyoğlu; SALT Beyoğlu – İstiklal Caddesi 136. Beyoğlu; 5533 – İMÇ 5. Blok, No. 5533 Unkapanı
Web:13th Istanbul Biennale
Opening hour:10am – 7pm
Closing day:5533 closed on Sundays
Photo credits:Curator Fulya Erdemci (L) and director Bige Örer (R) of the 13th İstanbul International Biennial (Photo: Manuel Çıtak)

Leave a Comment

Questo sito usa Akismet per ridurre lo spam. Scopri come i tuoi dati vengono elaborati.