The 13th Istanbul Biennial Public Programme titled “Public Alchemy” examines the ways in which publicness can be reclaimed as an artistic and political tool in the context of global financial imperialism and local social fracture.

From February to November 2013, a series of lectures, workshops, seminars, performances and poetry readings will examine how a political, poetic alchemy is at work, both in Turkey and across the world in which conventional concepts of ‘the public’ are being transformed.

Public Programme co-curated by: Fulya Erdemci and Andrea Phillips
Organised by: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts

Making the city public
8–10 February 2013
Venue: Istanbul Technical University, Maçka Campus C101 Conference Hall

Taking the accessibility of civic space and debate over rights to the city as the starting point for our discussion of publicness, the first events of the 13th Istanbul Biennial public programme focus on current urban transformations in Istanbul.

Urban transformation can be understood as a political mechanism the role of which is not only to produce the way in which a city is designed aesthetically and technically but also the way in which its citizens are produced as actors—where and how we live, where and how we work, where and how we socialize. Current urban transformations in Istanbul in which historically and culturally diverse neighbourhoods are being destroyed to make way for newly privatized housing, in which shopping malls are replacing local markets, and in which central areas of social gathering are being relocated to the perimeters of the city, form part of a state-scale rebranding mechanism intended to attract global investment. Such changes intervene in an already complex landscape, wherein layers of competing political and cultural history reveal traces of multifaceted concepts of public space from the Imperial to the Republican, from the informal to the formal. But what is the future of the city for its subjects—those included and excluded by new architectural legislation, those allowed to stay, and those made, once again, barbarian? In this series of events we seek to question the modus operandi of this transformation and the role of the cultural industries within it.

Friday 8 February 2013
6:30pm: Introduction: Fulya Erdemci & Andrea Phillips

6:45pm: Poetry reading: Lale Müldür (poet)

7pm: Lecture: Teddy Cruz (architect, Professor in Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego, co-founder of CUE/Center for Urban Ecologies)
“Where is Our Collective Imagination? Architecture and the Crisis of the Public”

8:30pm: Improvisation: Cevdet Erek (artist and musician, Lecturer at ITU TM Conservatory and Architecture Faculty)

Saturday 9 February 2013
2pm: Lecture illustrated by hand: Christoph Schäfer (Conceptual artist, sparkling draughtsman, educational ntertainer, urban writer and uninvited city planner)
“A Machine of Possibilities: the urban turn, art and the right to the city”

3:30pm: Panel discussion: “Agoraphobia: urban transformation in Istanbul” with
Betül Tanbay (Taksim Platform, academician)
Yaşar AdnanAdanalı (development planner, researcher, blogging at reclaimistanbul.com and mutlukent.wordpress.com)
Sedat Doğan (Association of Struggle Against Capitalism, writer at adilmedya.com)
İlhan Tekeli (city and regional planner, social scientist)
Erbay Yucak (legal advisor)
Chair: Fulya Erdemci

Sunday 10 February 2013
10–2pm: Tour to North-West Istanbul urban transformation areas with Jean-François Perouse (social geographer)
“Towards the emerging peripheries of North-West Istanbul: the striking making of the ‘New Istanbul'”

All events will be in English except the Agoraphobia panel discussion and the tour, which will be in Turkish. Simultaneous translation will be available for all events except for the tour.

Future events:
Public Address 22–23 March 2013
Public Capital 10–11 May 2013

Photo: Fulya Erdemci & Bige Örer, Photo by: Manuel Çıtak. Courtesy Istanbul Biennial


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