Design – Until November 4, Istanbul Design Biennial 2018 transforms 6 iconic cultural institutions along a 3.5 km walking route in the Beyoğlu district into pop-up schools; over 100 studios from across the globe explore the many dimensions of design and learning and tune with the theme A School of Schools.
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“Istanbul Design Biennial 2018 explores, tests, and revises a variety of educational strategies to reflect on the role of design, knowledge, and global connectedness in contemporary Istanbul and beyond.” Explains the curator Jan Boelen. Indeed, many of the exhibitions focus of some of the major social and environmental emergencies Turkey is facing right now such as refugees, earthquakes and the digital revolution.
The event is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), curator Jan Boelen teamed up with associate curators Nadine Botha and Vera Sacchetti. The event is sponsored by VitrA.
THE UNMAKING SCHOOL
Arkbank Sanak – Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd No:8, 34435 Beyoğlu [Map].
We live in a world powered by both humans and machines. How can creativity and new technologies propel innovation in production? Akbank Sanat, a centre for music and contemporary arts, hosts the Unmaking School emphasizing the future of work reframing our engagement with our cities.
Projects include Studio Makkink & Bey’s primary school designed and organized around water in order to rise a generation of thinkers and doers with a more sensible and sustainable imprint. On show also Camilo Oliveira’s digital avatar that grows with you from a young age, using artificial intelligence to study your experiences and thoughts.
THE CURRENT SCHOOL
Yapi Kredi Culture Center – Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:161, 34433 Beyoğlu [Map].
The Yapı Kredi Culture Centre explores digital and analogical information networks and critically examines technologies and hierarchies. From the treasures brought along the historic Silk Route to, from the things we buy online to media we consume on our screens, everything is the result of numerous connections along a network of exchange.
Ebru Kurbak’s Syrian travel guide showcases narratives of those who have fled; åbäke’s graphic design investigation of the appearance in Turkish of fugu, a poisonous Japanese fish, invites to reflect on the link between global warming, food culture and human infrastructures such as the Suez Canal.
THE SCALES SCHOOL
Pera Museum – Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:65, 34430 Beyoğlu [Map]
In a world quantified in social media followers or DNA chromosomes are standard units of measurements the right tool to understand the present? At Pera Museum, the Scales School investigates the fluidity of taxonomies and and institutionalised norms. Pınar Yoldaş’ installation explores whether our standards of perfection are cultural or biological as designer babies become a conceivable reality.
THE EARTH SCHOOL
Arter – Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:211, 34433 Beyoğlu [Map].
At the not-for-profit art space Arter the Earth School asks what is natural, what is disaster, and what is evolution when the planet and human are forced to renegotiate their pedagogical relationship. Navine G. Khan-Dossos presents THE SCHOOL OF EARTHQUAKE DIPLOMACY showcasing the Greek and Turkish mutual coordination of resources and initiating ongoing research sharing to prepare for future earthquakes.
Cihad Caner presents a multimedia installations showing how also non-political emergencies such as draughts and other natural disasters impact on migration flow from Syria and poses a pointgnant question: what happens to the geographical borders when the land itself moves?
THE TIME SCHOOL
Salt Galata – Arap Cami Mahallesi, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420 Beyoğlu [Map].
SALT Galata, a former bank turnt into an art space, hosts the Time School looking at “contested pasts and speculative futures” as well as unpacking the concepts of hyper-speed and deep time. On show Emelie Röndahl’s participatory project involving 20 hand-weavers in different time-zones to to Helga Schmid’s Circadian clock which re-centres attention to the natural day/night rhythm our bodies need to function and power up in an 24/7 stressful lifestyle.
THE DIGESTION SCHOOL
Studio-X Istanbul – Pürtelaş Hasan Efendi Mahallesi, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No:35, 34427 Beyoğlu [Map]
The Digestion School at urban think tank Studio-X Istanbul explores patterns of consumption, metabolic systems, cultural ritual and and food infrastructure to consider education and lifelong learning. Projects include Lifepatch’s exploration into traditional medicines from Indonesia. On show also Gamze Gündüz, Güher Tan and Tangör Tan’s a study on the social, cultural and anthropological significance of the marketplace.
All photos by Kayhan Kaygusuz; courtesy of Istanbul Design Biennial 2018.