11th International İstanbul Biennial Opening Events
Presentation and Panel Discussion
'Cultural Agencies'
Curated by Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz, Oda Projesi
Participants: Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz, Oda Projesi, Shahab Fotouhi, Shahira Issa, Gregory Sholette, William Wells
Moderated by Nina Möntmann
10/9/2009, Thursday, 15.30-18.00
Ex-Platform Garanti Building, İstiklal Cad. 136
The panel 'Cultural Agencies' seeks to expose new forms of cultural collaboration and institution building. The participants will present projects that have either subverted the conventional infrastructure of cultural institutions for political and social agendas or have deliberately left the comfort of globally networked cultural operations or state-animated cultural infrastructure. Instead, they explore the largely ignored narratives of volatile, local, political, social and cultural contexts. Hidden to the gaze of the outsider, the apparent void is occupied by a multitude of new forms of 'agency', which are informal, semi-formal, familial, kinship based, communal, religious, or political. While lack of funding and support is ubiquitous, the absence of a formal state infrastructure has been counteracted through the combined spirit of free agency, self-help, improvisation, or an expression of simply surviving. Panel presentations will explore the contexts of Cairo, Tehran, the urban transformation of İstanbul, and the Beyond of the centre-specific, cultural bubble.
A project by 'Cultural Agencies' -a non-profit initiative curated by Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz and Oda Projesi.
Hosted by Platform Garanti / Garanti Galeri in collaboration with Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi, Städelschule Frankfurt.
The project has been made possible through the generous support of the German Allianz Kulturstiftung and RHYZOM -a collaborative network for local cultural production and trans-local dissemination funded by the European Commission.
Book Launch
Brian Holmes, Escape the Overcode
Published by: Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven & WHW, Zagreb
10/9/2009, Thursday, 18.30-19.30
Ex-Platform Galeri Building, İstiklal Cad. 136
Escape the Overcode: Activist Art in the Control Society contains a selection of texts and essays by the writer Brian Holmes that engage with the possibilities and problematics of geopolitics and geopoetics. Holmes is a crucial contemporary writer and thinker whose insight into current social and political developments and how they relate to artistic processes opens up a new field of 'geocritique.'
Rabih Mroué: 'The Inhabitants of Images'
10/9/2009, Thursday, 21.00
Emek Movie Theater, Beyoğlu
'The Inhabitants of Images' is a lecture-performance, co-produced by Bidoun magazine, Tanzquartier Wien, and Ashkal Alwan / Beirut.
Mounira Al Solh, NOA magazine (Not Only Arabic), Issue 2
Mounira Al Solh's magazine NOA (Not Only Arabic) is conceived as an experimental gesture located between exclusive magazine and performance. The second issue will be launched at the İstanbul Biennial under the title Arrest Buried Under Something Else (2009). It deals with the concept and notion of arrest. Contributions include: Contempt of Self and Body by Mohammed Abi Samra, To All the Winds That Cannot be Arrested by Alena Alexandrova, For Security Reasons by Amal Issa, In Exchange For Movement by Zachary Formwalt and Statement VI by Erden Kosova.
Due to space and time constraints, viewing the magazine is by appointment only, from 10-12 September, 2009, between 12.00-19.00. To make an appointment, please call + 90 (534) 397 38 78.
Hasan Nuhanovic, 'Under UN Flag'
11/9/2009, Friday, 12.00-13.00
Ex-Platform Galeri Building, İstiklal Cad. 136
Lecture and book presentation are part of the LANDSCAPE 95 project framework.
Presentation and Panel Discussion
Curated by: Can Altay, Philipp Misselwitz
Participants: Yaşar Adanalı, Can Altay, Handan Coşkun, Selva Gürdoğan, Amr Saeddine, Philipp Misselwitz, Alessandro Petti
Moderated by Ursula Biemann
11/9/2009, Friday, 14.00-16.00
Ex-Platform Galeri Building, İstiklal Cad. 136
The panel 'Refuge' explores the causes and spatial impact of migration through voluntary or involuntary 'refugees' who are transforming cities around the globe. Individuals or groups are elegantly or forcefully encapsulated from within the context of the city and society. Refuge produces an ever more atomized urban tissue where the 'camp' has become both spatial paradigm and everyday reality, be it in the form of a gated community, slum, or humanitarian refugee camp. The panel will present projects by urban activists, architects, planners and artists, who attempt to intervene, subvert or transgress this reality. Their work attempts to provide refuge for a fragile or threatened constituency, to improve refuge byre-imagining camps as empowering spaces of civil and political rights, to dismantle refuge by reintegrating unbound spaces into social and political contexts, or to prevent refuge by imagining urban renewal beyond social segregation and eviction of the poor. The panel will discuss the possibilities for architects, artists or cultural producers to operate in the context of failed political structures or societies, where projects demand the construction of temporary moments of civility.
The title 'Refuge' has been borrowed from an exhibition by the same curators, commissioned by the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam IABR “Open City”, which will open on September 23, 2009 at the Netherlands Architecture Institute NAI.
The panel is part of 'diwan' made possible through the generous support of the Prince Claus Fund.
Book Launch Performance
Lisi Raskin, Mobile Observation
Published by: Galleria Riccardo Crespi
Edited by Herr Doktor Wolfgang Hauptman II
with essays by Maria Lind, Risa Puleo, Gabi Scardi and an interview with Julia Bryan-Wilson
12/9/2009, Saturday, 13.30-14.30
Feriköy Greek School
In the spring of 2008 Lisi Raskin set out to explore the atomic monuments of the American West in a late-model GMC Van. Lisi Raskin Mobile Observation is a chronicle of the five projects that correspond to this adventure.
Panel Discussion
'Who Needs a World View?'
Developed by: Brian Holmes & WHW
Participants: Meltem Ahıska, Bassam el Baroni, Charles Esche, Marko Peljhan, Irit Rogoff
Moderated by: Brian Holmes
12/9/2009, Saturday, 16.00-18.00
Ex-Platform Galeri Building, İstiklal Cad. 136
'The idea that someone in chains, muzzled in a hole in the ground in the company of worms, might in no way be prevented from thinking whatever he likes, may well console those who see being in chains as an unalterable destiny. In reality, people muzzled by the economy can only think freely if they can free themselves in thought, that is, from the economy. And they can only do this if their thought changes the economy, in other words, makes the economy dependent on it... The recognition that thought has to be of some use is the first stage of knowledge.' Bertolt Brecht, 'Who Needs A World View?' (c. 1930)
How do we know what to do about the economy? How can artists and intellectuals intervene across the diverging scales of contemporary politics? Liberal democratic society has only two measures of value, and therefore only two standards for organizing its collective decisions: profitability and popularity, calculated on the markets and in the media. This formula has given rise to extreme consumerism, predatory business elites and populist political leaders who draw on ethnic and religious identifications to pump up their individual images. What has disappeared in the spectacular splash and the aggressive national posturing is any kind of collective project, such as the industrial modernization projects on which so many Leftist artists and intellectuals collaborated in the early 20th century. The question we face, as artists and intellectuals, is how existing forms of cultural production and distribution can be reconfigured, in order to help generate egalitarian aspirations after the current bankruptcy and collapse of the exclusionary liberal formula of market-driven, media-centred democracy. How can new values of solidarity and reciprocity become visible in thought, serving as measures and standards for vitally needed changes in reality?
This panel asks about a view of the world, which is essential to any collective project at contemporary scales. Yet this cannot be a static or univocal 'world picture.' It would be futile to resurrect the industrial utopias of modernism, or to remain content with scattered snapshots of oppression and resistance, mere gestures of hope and rage. Postmodern fragmentation must be overcome, not by going back to monolithic disciplinary structures but instead by creating long-term frameworks of understanding and action. What's lacking are ways to coordinate disparate modes of perception and expression, so that situated acts of showing and saying can become pathways into sustained processes of collaborating and doing, both within existing communities of value and across the boundaries of language, class and historical experience. Art is a way to crystallize perceptions and memories, to express desires and ideals and to open them up to transformative debates. It is a vector of denormalization and liberation, for sure: but it is also a symbolically effective arena for the negotiation between individual freedom, small-group autonomy and social planning in complex societies.
The question, therefore, is not whether art should be interventionist, but what kinds of interventions it can perform, at what scales, where and why and how and with whom. To overcome the cynical view of large exhibitions as spectacular malls for the sampling of 'world flavors,' or as global popularity contests with an underlying profit motive, will require many kinds of work on the aesthetic, ideological and organizational levels. Only at this price can artists and intellectuals even aspire to contribute to collective projects, and to find more trustworthy ways of measuring their success or failure.
This event is kindly supported by British Council-Creative Collaboration.