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AFTER GEZI Curatorial proposal Pavilion of Turkey Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

by 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 independent 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 movements 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.


CONTEXT Alejandro Aravena calls upon national pavilions to explore 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 together, 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 process and transformation of an ideological shift that lives on. After Gezi, people from different disciplines gathered for several 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 various 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 architectural, 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 Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Sen, video artists who were active recording during Gezi protests, as well. Özge Çelikaslan 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 Düzce 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 connections 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, partnerships 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 database 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 Reference: http://mulksuzlestirme.org/


DÜZCE EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS HOUSING COOPERATIVE AND DÜZCE ATELIER OF HOPE solidarity, earthquake, housing, participation, affordability, ecology The Düzce Earthquake Victims Housing Cooperative was set up by earthquake victims who have been struggling for their right to housing since 1999. The Düzce Atelier of Hope was established 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 Düzce, disaster affected families found dwellings, tent cities and prefabricated housing emptied out, but the tenants’ housing problem was never tackled. In order to deal with their housing issue, they founded the Düzce Solidarity Housing Cooperative for Homeless and Tenant Earthquake Victims in 2003. In the decade to come, the endeavour for the right to proper 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 foundation in two years, they are now collective owners of a plot for 389 housing units. The Düzce Atelier of Hope was founded in 2014, by people from different disciplines.to support the process of building affordable housing. Through this project they want to prove that another 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 Reference: http://duzceumutatolyesi. wordpress.com/


NORTHERN FOREST DEFENSE environment and nature, open forum, common(s) Northern Forest Defense works to protect natural resources 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 livelihoods 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 responsibilities.


Working diagram from one of the forums and the walk on Istiklal Street. Reference: www.kuzeyormanlari.org


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 focusing 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 society’s awareness about architecture. The NGO urges architecture 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, involving 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. Reference: http://herkesicinmimarlik. org/


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 cooperative 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 knowledge 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 Ögüt: Workers Taking over the Factory (2015), installation with sewing machines and films. Ahmet Ögüt’s installation comprises three sewing machines, each activating a monitor playing his video. Engaging with labour movements, Ögüt brought ‘the physical presence of production to the space’ thanks to a ‘symbolical act and productive collaboration with the Kazova textile corporation in Turkey’. Francisco Ferreira: Kazova (2015), film, 30’


Kazova Textile Cooperative Logo Reference: http://ozgurkazova.org/en/

Ahmet Ögüt’s installation in Lion Biennale 2015, published in Ibraaz magazine Rerefence: http://www. ibraaz.org/reviews/83


MATBAKH-MUTFAK 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 Turkey’s ‘guests’ would rise to 2 million. Today, debate about Syrian refugees vary from ‘integration’ to ‘xenophobia’. Refugees need support, but understanding 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 refugees to set up their own business, hence creating economic value.


Matbakh-Mutfak conceptual drawing Rerefence: http://www. matbakh-mutfak.org


EXHIBITION DESIGN 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 emptiness 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 assemblages, each representing a case. The assemblages will consist of a frame that houses tightly clustered objects, artefacts and imagery 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 Aravena’s 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 circulated online as publicity for the show. Films will be presents to the initiatives.


Pavilion plan


Longitudional section 1


Longitudional section 2


Cross-section

Entrance to the pavilion


PUBLIC PROGRAM 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.

PUBLICATION This is a research proposal, after all. There is little research 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 dynamism, 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 transcriptions of the film interviews, and behind-the-scenes imagery of the curatorial process. Publication Outline Prologue: Merve Bedir, Brendan Cormier On Interpreting Gezi: Franco Berardi Socio-spatial analysis of Gezi: Emrah Göker Pieces on/from Contributors: - Architecture for All - Düzce 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 Cooperative In between Pieces: Crisis and Turkey after Gezi: Aslı Can People’s power: Yasar Adanalı Tree School: Alessandro Petti The Sequel: Can we live altogether? Merve Bedir


TEAM AND ROLES Merve Bedir: Curator Brendan 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 writing 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 Cürgen: Production Assistant The production assistant(s) will help in executing all manners 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 Özge Çelikaslan 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 exhibiting, 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 Turkey’s 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.


PLANNING Exhibition Production Timeline: December 2015 - January 2016 Field research Studio/site/organisation visits February 2016 Begin exhibition design Begin drafting list of objects Film production planning Publication planning and text writing March 2016 Film production, on site filming and interviews Text writing for publication Finalize object list Draft label text Finalize exhibition design Commence construction drawings April 2016 Shipping Objects Finalize construction drawings and submit to contractors Finalize labels and all text Finalize publication May 12th to May 26th 2016 Set-up in Venice May 28th – November 27th 2016 Duration of exhibition December 2016 De-installation


BUDGET Production Budget Exhibition build: 30,000 euros Film production: 15,000 euros Exhibition design: 10,000 euros AV Hardware and Installation: 5,000 euros Contingency: 10,000 euros Total: 70,000 euros Team Fees Merve Bedir: 3,500 euros Brendan Cormier 3,500 euros Production Assistant(s) 3,000 euros Total: 10,000 euros Printed Material Budget Honorariums for contributors: 1500 euros Translation costs: 2,000 euros Printing and delivery costs: 6,500 euros Total: 10,000 euros Budget Line Items Not Included Travel to and from Venice Travel to and from Istanbul Accommodation in Venice Opening press meeting Media PR Transportation costs Shipping costs Graphic design


Attachments: Curriculum Vitae Merve Bedir (Curator) Brendan Cormier (Curator) Marco Ferrari (Exhibition design, graphic design) Cansu Cürgen (Project assitant) Melis Bagatır (Graphic design assisstant) Portfolio Merve Bedir (Land+Civilization Compositions) Brendan Cormier Marco Ferrari (Studio Folder) Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Sen

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