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Curatorial proposal Pavilion of TurkeyVenice Architecture Biennale 2016
Merve Bedir and Brendan Cormier
After Gezi is an exhibition that explores how the spirit of Gezi, the ideas that it sparked, the networks that it brought together, and the call to action that it inspired, lives on in the social and cultural fabric of the city and in the acts of individuals effected by the movement. It does so by profiling five independ-ent projects which have begun since the dissolution of Gezi, which embody in different ways the values generated from that movement, drawing links between solidarity, resistance and action. The goal of the exhibition is to show how protest move-ments can evolve beyond a single issue and its spectacle, to engender an attitude that can embody different spaces and different actions in the city over time.
Alejandro Aravena calls upon national pavilions to ex-plore success stories that suggest methods of action and agency, to win battles and expand frontiers, in the name of creating a better world. This proposal takes on the embedded journalist; spirit implicit in that call, by looking at actions and agents in and around Istanbul and Turkey, who are questioning the status quo and striving to create something new.
Too often, media hype focuses on large protest movements up until the point that they have been disbanded and quelled. At which point, attention will drift elsewhere, to another conflict in the world. Not often enough, do journalists focus on the after-life of these movements, the rumbling that lives on long after the protests are over. However, often in this rumbling, after the dust has settled, tangible actions and meaningful change occurs.
This show focuses on the tangible actions and the meaningful change.
PROJECT: AFTER GEZi
The project tells the story of five case studies, following creative individuals who have endeavored to take action in the two years since the Gezi protests. In discussing their actions and motivations, the project also aims to uncover a more nuanced understanding of what Gezi might have stood for to the people involved.
The occupation of Gezi began with the ripping out of a tree. It released, however, a larger latent desire for people to come to-gether, to produce new forms of collectivities, to stand shoulder to shoulder, and to discuss alternative paths forward. It ended with the physical occupation of the park, but set in motion a pro-cess and transformation of an ideological shift that lives on.
After Gezi, people from different disciplines gathered for sever-al initiatives that were concerned with their city, with nature, with the built environment, with forests, with water, and so on. Gezi
has transformed into other acts where the frontier has changed medium, no longer confined to a park, its spirit lives on in var-ious urban acts in the city. Through these acts, urban space is continuously re-produced and challenged.
The six cases we wish to discuss here are not purely architectur-al, but speak more broadly of notions of design, the city, labor, and collectivity. That these cases be discussed at an architecture biennale, underlines the curators fundamental beliefs that for architects to properly engage in the world today, spatial issues like these need to be explored from multiple vantage points.
The seventh case is zge elikaslan and Alper Sen, video artists-who were active recording during Gezi protests, as well. zge elikaslan and Alper Sen is part of the core team of the project, who will be working on the videograms of/with the initiatives.
The projects to be featured in the show are:
Kazova Workers Cooperative Transformation of Rural Schools Northern Forests Defense Networks of Dispossession Dzce Earthquake Victims Housing Cooperative Matbakh-Mutfak: Kitchen and Garden in Gaziantep
NETWORKS OF DISPOSSESSION
Open data, common(s), real estate and development
Networks of Dispossession displays the thousands of con-nections between several actors involved in 393 real estate and development projects that have been realized in Turkey in the last decade. The first version was published in September 2013 immediately following Occupy Gezi.
Today, three network maps: projects of dispossession, partner-ships of dispossession and dispossessed minorities, render the relations between the capital and power in Turkey visible. The data has been collected from open public sources, such as web pages of corporations, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce data-base and Trade Registry Gazette and secondary resources like newspaper articles. Budgets, dates, locations of projects, and, if any, information on labour-related crimes are documented along with their references.
Visuals from maps of Networks of Dispossession
DZCE EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS HOUSING COOPERATIVE AND DZCE ATELIER OF HOPE
solidarity, earthquake, housing, participation, affordability, ecology
The Dzce Earthquake Victims Housing Cooperative was set up by earthquake victims who have been struggling for their right to housing since 1999. The Dzce Atelier of Hope was es-tablished by a number architects, engineers, urbanists, lawyers, sociologists, and anthropologists to support the Cooperative in their endeavor for the right to proper and secure housing.
In the years after the earthquakes on August 17 and November 12, 1999 in Dzce, disaster affected families found dwellings, tent cities and prefabricated housing emptied out, but the ten-ants housing problem was never tackled. In order to deal with their housing issue, they founded the Dzce Solidarity Housing Cooperative for Homeless and Tenant Earthquake Victims in 2003. In the decade to come, the endeavour for the right to prop-er and secure housing, defined their lives. After years of legal struggle, they managed to persuade the state to assign land to their cooperative in 2014.Under the precondition to lay the foun-dation in two years, they are now collective owners of a plot for 389 housing units.
The Dzce Atelier of Hope was founded in 2014, by people from different disciplines.to support the process of building afforda-ble housing. Through this project they want to prove that anoth-er form of housing is possible. They do not perceive housing only as an object with a certain market value and an amount of square meters, but as the possibility of building community.
Photos from construction site and gaming workshops with cooperative members
NORTHERN FOREST DEFENSE
environment and nature, open forum, common(s)
Northern Forest Defense works to protect natural resourc-es in the region that spans the Strandzha Mountains and Sapanca in Marmara region, with a special focus on Istanbul.
NFD was established right after Occupy Gezi, as part of the struggle against urban and natural destruction. NFD aims to bring together the people that work on protecting the liveli-hoods of their districts and neighbourhoods but also aims to create the context for sharing knowledge and experience. Its decisions are made in open forums where everyone can equally participate, talk, and decide. NFD argues for self-governance and tries to do this first in its own organisation. Parallel to this, it rejects all hierarchies and adopts a rotatory share of responsibil-ities.
Working dia-gram from one of the forums and the walk on Istiklal Street.
ARCHITECTURE FOR ALL
rural schools, participatory design and building, education
Architecture for All (AfA) is known for its Occupy Gezi Architecture during the Gezi protests, however we will be focus-ing on the Transformation of Rural Schools projects (2014-2015) for the Turkish Pavilion.
AfA is an NGO that aims to encourage participatory mechanisms in design and building processes in an effort to increase soci-etys awareness about architecture. The NGO urges architec-ture students to focus on societal issues. Students participate in addressing social problems while reflecting on the theoretical education of design by practicing in real life.Participation of diverse individuals and institutions, involv-ing them as both the users and the makers, is crucial for AfA. Through this process architecture becomes a phenomenon that is produced in common.
Rural Schools Transformation project, The case of Ova Kent.
FREE KAZOVA TEXTILE COOPERATIVE
labour, cooperative, production, self-governance
The Free Kazova Textile Cooperative is an initiative by the Kazova textile workers, set up in July 2013. The Cooperative began producing jumpers in November 2014 and still manages the factory today.
Free Kazova Textile Cooperative accepts the principles of the International Cooperative Alliance: (a) Democratic independent self-management in-between members, this way the cooper-ative is being always directly managed by the workers. (b) A structure based on open membership and voluntarism, and an economic model based on equal share, ensuring economical equity. (c) Permanent egalitarian learning, training and knowl-edge sharing. (d) Co-operation in-between cooperatives and solidarity with all social struggles, as the connection with the others around the world that share similar aims and struggle.
For the pavilion we propose to re-exhibit two works on Kazova:Ahmet gt: Workers Taking over the Factory (2015), installation with sewing machines and films.
Ahmet gts installation comprises three sewing machines, each activating a monitor playing his video. Engaging with la-bour movements, gt brought the physical presence of pro-duction to the space thanks to a symbolical act and productive collaboration with the Kazova textile corporation in Turkey.
Francisco Ferreira: Kazova (2015), film, 30
Ahmet gts installation in Lion Biennale 2015, published in Ibraaz maga-zineRerefence:http://www.ibraaz.org/re-views/83
Kazova Textile Cooperative Logo
refugees, kitchen + garden, common(s), solidarity
Matbakh-Mutfak is an initiative by local and migrant women in Turkey to address refugees. The project was initiated in April 2015.
When Turkey declared open door policy for Syrian refugees in 2011, nobody would have guessed that the war in Syria would continue for so long and the number of Turkeys guests would rise to 2 million. Today, debate about Syrian refugees vary from integration to xenophobia. Refugees need support, but under-standing of support has to shift from humanitarian aid to living together, sustainability and empowerment.
Matbakh-Mutfak is a kitchen and garden project that deals with this issue on many levels: Refugees are not seen as parasites anymore. Refugees role/perception in society transform from the guest to the host. An idea of common(s) evolve. The Kitchen becomes a cultural space of diversity, sharing and experiment. For instance, rice is cooked in many ways among Syrians, Kurdish, Turkish, Caucasians, Afghans, and Iranians. The Kitchen could become a catalogue of recipes. A Self sufficient complex is obtained, where the initial support transforms into sustainable socio-economical capital. The notion of public space is redefined around the notion of common(s). The garden and the restaurant provide a possibility for ref-ugees to set up their own business, hence creating economic value.
Matbakh-Mut-fak conceptual drawing
The space of the Turkish Pavilion is grand, beautiful, and sparse. Our approach to the exhibition design is deliberately minimal with only a few key interventions, highlighting the emp-tiness of the space as a space for contemplation. There are three major elements to our design proposal:
Tree Composed of branches or a small tree hanging from the beams, a tree will form the central piece of the exhibition. Around the tree, the public program of the biennale will take place in the form of a forum, where the representatives of the initiatives that are part exhibition will engage in a conversation with the general public of the biennale.
Plan of Gezi Park The space of the gallery is roughly a long rectangular similar in shape to Gezi Park. In simple lines, we plan to trace out the shape and main features of Gezi on the floor, so that it provides a subtle backdrop to the discussion of the five cases. Some imagery and soundscape might also be used to subtly inflect notions of the original protest movement.
Island Assemblages Scattered throughout the room will be five assemblag-es, each representing a case. The assemblages will consist of a frame that houses tightly clustered objects, artefacts and image-ry from each case that tells the story of that case.
Videograms Within each assemblage will also sit a videogram that we are featuring. To capture the distinctly journalistic tone of Arave-nas call, we believe the short documentary (5-10 minutes) is the most appropriate format to take viewers to the frontline of these initiatives. The open source videograms can also be widely cir-culated online as publicity for the show. Films will be presents to the initiatives.
Entrance to the pavilion
Around the tree, the public program of the biennale will take place in the form of a forum, where the representatives of the initiatives that are part exhibition will engage in a conversa-tion with the general public of the biennale.
This is a research proposal, after all. There is little re-search on the relationship between Gezi and after Gezi, in terms of the urban, the rural, and the initiatives. We would like to do this research, and publish it in a way that complies with its dyna-mism, in the form of a website and a book.
Format: Small hand-held staple-bound book, 64 pages.Content: A synthesis of the contents of the exhibition. Including an introductory essay written by the curators, edited transcrip-tions of the film interviews, and behind-the-scenes imagery of the curatorial process.
Prologue: Merve Bedir, Brendan CormierOn Interpreting Gezi: Franco BerardiSocio-spatial analysis of Gezi: Emrah GkerPieces on/from Contributors: - Architecture for All - Dzce Earthquake Victims Housing and Solidarity Coop erative - Matbakh-Mutfak: Kitchen+Garden by migrant & local women in Gaziantep - Northern Forest Defence - Networks of Dispossession - Kazova Textile Workers CooperativeIn between Pieces:Crisis and Turkey after Gezi: Asl CanPeoples power: Yasar AdanalTree School: Alessandro PettiThe Sequel: Can we live altogether? Merve Bedir
TEAM AND ROLES
Merve Bedir: CuratorBrendan Cormier: Curator
As lead curators, Merve and Brendan will be in charge of all major curatorial thinking and lead the overall conception and execution of the project, including guiding the film production process and the publication production process as well as writ-ing the text for the Pavilion. They will play a key role in directing the design team and the film team. They will also be the first point of contact with the several case studies to be featured in the show.
Cansu Crgen: Production Assistant The production assistant(s) will help in executing all man-ners of tasks related to the production of the exhibit. This will include research, liaising with the case studies, sourcing and retrieving objects to be featured in the show, being present for the installation and guiding the installation process.
Studio Folder: Design team (2D + 3D design) Studio Folder will be tasked with the graphic design and exhibition design for the pavilion. Graphic design will include production of the publication.Graphic design assisstant: Melis Bagatir
zge elikaslan and Alper Sen: Film Team The film team will be tasked with producing the short films which profile each of the case studies that we are exhibit-ing, and which will be exhibited as well.
They have been working on creating a digital platform of collective social memory, a digital media archive of Turkeys political movements which was initiated during Gezi uprising in 2013. https://bak.ma/ is also an open source public space for free speech, creation and participation.
Selected works of the team and CVs could be found at the end of this document.
Exhibition Production Timeline:
December 2015 - January 2016Field research Studio/site/organisation visits
February 2016Begin exhibition designBegin drafting list of objectsFilm production planningPublication planning and text writing
March 2016Film production, on site filming and interviewsText writing for publicationFinalize object listDraft label textFinalize exhibition designCommence construction drawings
April 2016Shipping ObjectsFinalize construction drawings and submit to contractorsFinalize labels and all textFinalize publication
May 12th to May 26th 2016Set-up in Venice
May 28th November 27th 2016Duration of exhibition
Exhibition build: 30,000 eurosFilm production: 15,000 eurosExhibition design: 10,000 eurosAV Hardware and Installation: 5,000 euros Contingency: 10,000 euros
Total: 70,000 euros
Merve Bedir: 3,500 eurosBrendan Cormier 3,500 eurosProduction Assistant(s) 3,000 euros
Total: 10,000 euros
Printed Material Budget
Honorariums for contributors: 1500 eurosTranslation costs: 2,000 eurosPrinting and delivery costs: 6,500 euros
Total: 10,000 euros
Budget Line Items Not Included
Travel to and from VeniceTravel to and from IstanbulAccommodation in VeniceOpening press meetingMediaPRTransportation costsShipping costsGraphic design
Merve Bedir (Curator)Brendan Cormier (Curator)Marco Ferrari (Exhibition design, graphic design)Cansu Crgen (Project assitant)Melis Bagatr (Graphic design assisstant)
Merve Bedir (Land+Civilization Compositions)Brendan CormierMarco Ferrari (Studio Folder)zge elikaslan and Alper Sen