The Third Istanbul Design Biennial
will explore the intimate relationship between “design” and “human” over a time period that spans from the last two seconds to the last 200,000 years.
In the coming days, METALOCUS is going to show you new information and images of the Istanbul Design Biennial venues, as well as interviews with the curators of the design biennial, Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley.
The biennial will present more than 70 projects by over 250 participants, including designers, architects, artists, theorists, choreographers, filmmakers, historians and archaeologists from more than 50 countries. To be held free of charge, the biennial is hosted in five main venues; Galata Greek Primary School, Studio-X Istanbul and Depo in Karaköy, Alt Art Space in bomontiada, and Istanbul Archaeological Museums in Sultanahmet.
The Press Opening and Preview of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial
The Press Opening and Preview of the Third Istanbul Design Biennial
was held on Thursday, 20 October at Galata Greek Primary School with the participation of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial curators Beatriz Colomina
and Mark Wigley
, İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı
, along with Istanbul Design Biennial Director Deniz Ova
. Representatives from the biennial’s co-sponsors; ENKA Foundation, Petkim and VitrA were present at the press opening.
İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı stated at the press opening: “Since 2012, when the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts launched the Istanbul Design Biennial, it has quickly gained prominence in Turkey and abroad as a platform for design production and encounters. By encompassing not just design but also all related creative fields, the Istanbul Design Biennial aims to expand the horizons of design concepts and further raise public awareness about the importance and ubiquity of design in everyday life. We hope that everyone will enjoy this opportunity to visit the exhibitions. Design will not only occupy a significant share of Istanbul’s event calendar over the next four weeks, it will also shift the focus of international circles to Istanbul. We are also confident that visitors to the Biennial will encounter new thoughts and perspectives and ask new questions about design.”
Following the press opening, curators Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley accompanied guests during an exclusive tour of Galata Greek Primary School.
The curatorial manifesto of the biennial
“Humans have always been radically reshaped by the designs they produce and the world of design keeps expanding. We live in a time when everything is designed, from our carefully crafted individual looks and online identities, to the surrounding galaxies of personal devices, new materials, interfaces, networks, systems, infrastructures, data, chemicals, organisms, and genetic codes. The average day involves the experience of thousands of layers of design that reach to outer space but also reach deep into our bodies and brains.
Design has become the world and it is what makes the human. It is the basis of social life, from the very first artefacts to the exponential expansion of human capability. But design also engineers inequalities and new forms of neglect. More people than ever in history are forcibly displaced by war, lawlessness, poverty, and climate at the same time that the human genome and the weather are being actively redesigned. We can no longer reassure ourselves with the idea of ‘good design.’ Design needs to be redesigned.”
“The exhibition is a kind of reunion of designs that transform the species. A combination of art, science, reflection and speculation leads to a new kind of conversation about design.”
“This biennial thinks about the fact that the human is unique in its capacity to design but is also continuously redesigning itself in a never-ending loop that flings it into the world in unexpected ways. The human is a question mark and design is simply the way of engaging with that question.”
The Clouds of the of 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial
The Third Istanbul Design Biennial has multiple overlapping layers through which visitors are invited to rethink design. More than 70 projects are organised in four “clouds”: Designing the Body, Designing the Planet, Designing Life, and Designing Time
. These clouds of “projects” are not strict divisions. They are like different gates to the same dense forest of interconnected thoughts.
The wide array of projects presented in the Designing the Body
section of the biennial explores variety of ways in which we can think of the human body as an artefact that is continually being reconstructed - from the dramatic effect of shoes on human abilities, and even bone structure, to the latest research on the brain. Designing the Planet
presents a series of projects that ask us to rethink the human design of vast territories and ecologies. Designing Life
looks at the new forms of mechanical, electronic and biological life that are being crafted. Designing Time
presents a new kind of archaeology that digs into a vast space of time spanning from the very first human tools and ornaments to the most recent technologies like social media which allows humans to redesign themselves and their artefacts in as little as two seconds.
Participants and Projects of 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial
The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial invited a galaxy of designers, architects, artists, theorists, choreographers, filmmakers, historians, archaeologists, scientists, labs, centres, institutes and NGOs to respond to the polemical curatorial manifesto Are We Human?
written by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley.
The exhibition design is by Andrés Jaque
and his Office of Political Innovation
in Madrid, especially Laura Mora. Graphic Design is by Pemra Ataç, Yetkin Başarır, Özge Güven, Okay Karadayılar and Sarp Sözdinler. Evangelos Kotsioris is the assistant curator of the project and the online dimensions are being directed by Iván López Munuera.
The works presented range historically from three full galleries showing huge casts of multiple 8500-year-old Neolithic footprints of the first inhabitants of present-day Istanbul, especially prepared for the biennial at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, to 13th century Islamic Renaissance Automata challenging the latest thinking about computation, to the iconic Transparent Man from the Dresden Museum of Hygiene, making his first return trip to Istanbul since 1938, to anthropological displays of Homo cellular, the hybrid of human and mobile phone born in 1983, and the new forms of Design in 2 Seconds on social media.
Every biennial participant scrutinises the human from a different angle. Tacita Dean’s film "Human Treasure"
respectfully observes a day in the life of an elderly Japanese man officially designated a “human treasure” of his country. "Unspoken"
explores Darwin’s observation that only humans blush.
"Institute of Isolation"
by Lucy McRae explores the effects of extreme isolation in outer space on human evolution. Martha Rosler presents "South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge"
, a newly completed video of housing injustice in action based on the tapes from her time teaching and working with community groups in South Africa in 1990. "Forensic Architecture"
considers the question of whether orangutans should be granted human rights. "City of Abstracts"
by world-famous Choreographer William Forsythe invites all visitors to redesign their bodies in real-time through movement. Orkan Telhan offers a 30-day simit (bread ring) diet to the visitors prepared by his Microbial Design Studio, an inexpensive automated and networked countertop bio fabrication machine to design, culture, and test genetically modified organisms. Leading brain scientists from the Seung Lab at Princeton University and the Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University present the latest thinking about the brain as both the mechanism of design and a plastic architecture that is redesigned by our every thought.
In "Glitter Disaster"
, installed in the shop on the street below the Galata Greek Primary School. Chicago based architect Mitch McEwen engages with forces that structure cities yet are systematically ignored by urban theorists. Her project draws on the spaces of nightlife where all the “schizophrenias” of development, land use, cultures, class conflict and multiple selves are acted out. It also points to the key role of illicit or unseen chemicals and smells that constantly move through cities, both constructing and dissolving the urban and social fabric. Visitors put on a mask and enter a glitter filled cloud directly from the street and will carry traces of glitter all across Istanbul and beyond.
Bager Akbay’s project "The Shepherd"
is a conceptual automata which produces an exhibition for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial. The whole process is a kind of artistic research with the aim to create a fully autonomous curatorial and managerial system which can be used by possible future robot artists.
Thomas Demand’s "Control Room"
asks us to consider the role of design in the aftermath of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster. Ali Kazma’s participation includes the video "SAFE"
on the Global Seed Vault situated in the Svalbard Islands, designed to serve as a back-up for the seeds in case of global catastrophes.
's "Spidernauts… Dark webs…"
consists of two elements: a suspended carbon-fibre frame containing a blackened web collaboratively constructed by a series of spiders of different species building on each other’s designs for several weeks; and a drawing considering the possibility that spiders, the constant unseen companions of the human in the corners of our spaces, launching themselves into the air, and even being found high in the atmosphere, might also be cosmic astronauts.
by Laura Kurgan and the Center for Spatial Research employs contemporary mapping techniques to measure the destruction of the urban environment of Aleppo during the civil war of the past five years with an open-source, interactive, layered map of the ancient city at the neighbourhood scale that reveals the appalling destructions, erasures and displacements of cultural heritage.
There are also six curatorial interventions - Design Has Gone Viral, The Unstable Body, Are We Normal?, Enclosed by Mirrors, Homo cellular, and Design in 2 Seconds
- prepared by the curatorial team and a joint team of Princeton and Columbia University students, which can be found in Galata Greek Primary School, Alt Art Space and Istanbul Archaeological Museums.
The overall effect is a kaleidoscope of artistic, technical, philosophical, theoretical, and ethical reflection on the intimate relation between design and human. The work of over 250 creative minds is on display throughout the five venues across the city of Istanbul inviting visitors to engage with all different layers and clouds.
Results of the Open Call for video submissions
The basic idea of the biennial is further expanded by 146 two-minute Open Call videos from 36 countries on the theme ARE WE HUMAN?
An international and interdisciplinary jury consisting of curators Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, Director of Istanbul Film Festival Kerem Ayan, Director of the Storefront for Art and Architecture Eva Franch i Gilabert, artist and film producer Amie Siegel and curator Iván López Munuera evaluated more than 200 videos from 68 cities in 36 countries and selected 5 videos which are highlighted in the biennial exhibition and catalogue. Other 141 submitted videos fulfilling the requirements of the Open Call are presented in a dedicated section top floor of Galata Greek Primary School and are available online on the biennial website.
A joint project by the Istanbul Design Biennial and e-flux: “Superhumanity”
The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial inaugurates a special collaboration with e-flux
, a publishing platform and archive for artist projects and curatorial platforms. "Superhumanity"
is the first project by e-flux Architecture, initiated by Nikolaus Hirsch and Anton Vidokle (e-flux) in collaboration with Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley. e-flux Architecture is a new platform for publishing and disseminating new ideas in architecture and design.
Superhumanity presents more than 50 essays on the design of the self. Superhumanity aims to probe the radical implications of the idea that we are and always have been continuously reshaped by the artefacts we shape. These contributions initially appear online as a series of dispatches circulated by e-flux as well as an installation in the biennial exhibition, and subsequently as a book. The list of authors includes over fifty writers, scientists, artists, architects, designers, philosophers, historians, archaeologists and anthropologists. Contributions have been published every other day starting mid-September 2016.
Contributors include: Lucia Allais, Julieta Aranda, Shumon Basar, Ruha Benjamin, Franco 'Bifo' Berardi, Daniel Birnbaum & Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Ina Blom, Benjamin H. Bratton, Giuliana Bruno, Eduardo Cadava, Zeynep Çelik Alexander, Tony Chakar, Mark Cousins, Keller Easterling, Ruben Gallo, Liam Gillick, Joseph Grima, Boris Groys, Rupali Gupte & Prasad Shetty, Güven Güzeldere, Andrew Herscher, Tom Holert, Brooke Holmes, Hu Fang, Francesca Hughes, Andrés Jaque, Lydia Kallipoliti, Tom Keenan, Brian Kuan Wood, Laura Kurgan, Sanford Kwinter, Adrian Lahoud, Sylvia Lavin, Tom Levin, Lesley Lokko, MAP Office, Chus Martínez, Ingo Niermann, Ahmet Ögüt, Trevor Paglen, Spyros Papapetros, Paul Preciado, Raqs Media Collective, Juliane Rebentisch, Sophia Roosth, Martha Rosler, Felicity Scott, Jack Self, Hito Steyerl, Kali Stull & Etienne Turpin, Pelin Tan, Alexander Tarakhovsky, Paulo Tavares, Territorial Agency, Stephan Trüby, Eyal Weizman, Mabel O. Wilson, Liam Young, and Arseny Zhilyaev & Anton Vidokle.
Two centuries of design in Turkey under spotlight
Turkey Design Chronology presents the first phase of a three-year research project by a team of more than 50 Turkey-based experts into the last 200 years of design in Turkey. It is an attempt to bring together fields such as packaging, graphic design, communication and advertisement, housing, furniture, landscape, industrial buildings, and others which have not been addressed from the perspective of design yet, like lighting, toys, music, ceramics, health or non-governmental organisations, within a time frame starting from the Ottoman Tanzimat reform era (beginning around 1839) until today. Topics are being prepared under the coordination of Pelin Derviş, and with the precious contributions of a vast array of experts in each respective field.
This huge group of experts, naming itself Curious Assembly, has also developed a project entitled Archive of the Ephemeral that seeks to become a unique visual source on objects and spaces, through a collection of family photos and found images. Part of Studio-X Istanbul has been turned into a research laboratory during the biennial, and topics highlighted in the chronology will be the focus of a series of events and panels. The events will be organised around provocative “curiosity desks” (mini exhibitions) prepared by the Curious Assembly. Additionally, in parallel to this project, Studio-X Istanbul is establishing a research library of design in Turkey, which will serve as an open source for designers during and after the biennial.
The Academy Programme
The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial will host many exhibitions and projects through the Academy Programme, organised in collaboration with 26 universities from six different cities. The Academy Programme will include products and ideas created through workshops, competitions and projects by various faculties and departments of the universities in their campuses.
Istanbul Design Biennial Embraces the City with its “Creative Districts”
For the first time in the Istanbul Design Biennial history, the inhabitants of the city will meet with design not only through the exhibition venues but also with the Creative Districts in its 3rdedition. The project brings together the visitors with numerous professionals from 38 different brands, ranging from small manufacturers to established brands, design and architecture studios in 16 different districts.
Various events will also take place on the weekends throughout the biennial as a part of the Creative Districts programme.
Design Routes of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial will include guided visits to several design offices, stores, ateliers, manufacturing sites and architectural buildings in six different parts of the city, offering a brand new vision of Istanbul. The Design Routes will create the opportunity for participants to observe and get information on several disciplines and stages of design.
Sustainability in Fashion Design workshop
A workshop named by its consultants Demirden Design and Melis Pilavcı “Sustainability in Fashion Design” was held within the scope of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, under the sponsorship of H&M, and in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sweden and Swedish Institute.
Twenty young designers and students of textile and fashion design attended the workshop, which was based on the possibility of fashion to be sustainable and eco-friendly, and encouraged the participants to work with recycled materials only. Designs of the participants are displayed as an installation curated by Pattu at ADAHAN Istanbul Hotel from 13th September till 4 December.
The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial Youth and Children’s Workshop Programme
The Youth and Children’s Workshops titled ‘Imagine, Think and Design for the Planet’ are organised by the informal education center – çocukistanbul every day throughout the biennial at the Galata Greek Primary School. During the workshops, children and youngsters will debate on design and human in an interactive and fun environment, set out on design excursions among the exhibited projects and combine different design strategies with their problem solving, creativity, and communication skills to create their own designs. The programme has different contents for different age groups and it is open to students under teacher supervision during the weekdays and to children and youngsters together with their parents on weekends. All workshops are held free of charge.
The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial Exhibitions and Publications
Galata Greek Primary School, Studio-X Istanbul, DEPO can be visited every day except Monday from 10.00 till 19.00. Alt Art Space is closed on Monday, can be visited from 13.00 till 21.00 from Tuesday to Saturday, and from 11.00 till 19.00 on Sunday. Istanbul Archaeological Museums can be visited from 9.00 till 19.00 up to Monday, 31 October, afterwards till 17.00.
The entrance to the Biennial venues is for free to the public except Istanbul Archaeological Museums in where entry will require a museum ticket.
There will be guided tours in Galata Greek Primary School, Studio-X Istanbul and Alt Art Space.
The publications of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial include a book of reflections on the biennial theme by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley entitled Are We Human?: Notes on the Archaeology of Design; a guide for the visitors to include details on the exhibitions and the associated events; and a catalogue with texts on all the exhibited projects by the contributors themselves, presentations of the Open Call, Superhumanity and Turkey Design Chronology projects and presentations of the exhibition design, graphic design and social media experiments made in the biennial. While the book is published by Lars Müller in collaboration with İKSV, the catalogue and guide are published by İKSV, and the catalogue will be distributed by Yapı Kredi Publications.
The publications are available at Galata Greek Primary School, Alt Art Space, and selected bookshops by Saturday, 22 October. The guide and the catalogue will also be accessible online for free through İKSV Kitaplık application, available on AppStore.