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The 13th Istanbul Biennial public programme begins: '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 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 neighborhoods 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.

Istanbul Technical University, Maçka Campus C101 Conference Hall

For reservations:

18.30 Introduction: Fulya Erdemci & Andrea Phillips

18.45 Poetry reading: Lale Müldür (poet)
19.00 Teddy Cruz, 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

A critical challenge in the context of the current economic crisis is how to restore the ethical imperative between individuals, communities, and institutions in co-producing the city.

Today’s search for a civic imagination must prompt us to question the exclusionary politics and economics that detonated the sprawling urbanizations of consumption of the last years.

How to re-imagine the public in order to produce new paradigms of social infrastructure, housing and citizenship is the most important task we can engage today to confront urban socio-economic inequality.

20.30 Improvisation: Cevdet Erek (artist and musician, Lecturer at ITU TM Conservatoire and Architecture Faculty)

Venue: Salon İKSV

For reservations:

14.00 Lecture illustrated by hand: Christoph Schäfer (conceptual artist, sparkling draughtsman, educational entertainer, urban writer and uninvited city planner)

A Machine of Possibilities: the urban turn, art and the right to the city

The importance of cities is growing. Being in the centre has become a question of survival for people and a key to success for companies. This global phenomenon, rooted in the restructuring of production, goes hand in hand with struggles for space. Art is at the centre of this arena.

15.30 Panel discussion: Agoraphobia: urban transformation in Istanbul
Yaşar Adnan Adanalı (development planner, researcher, blogging at and
Sedat Doğan (Association of Struggle Against Capitalism, writer at
İlhan Tekeli (city and regional planner, social scientist)
Betül Tanbay  (Taksim Platform, Academic)
Erbay Yucak (Legal Advisor, Bir Umut Association)
Chair: Fulya Erdemci


* Reservations for the tour are now closed. Thank you for your interest.

10.00-14.00 Tour to northwest Istanbul urban transformations with Jean-François Perouse
Towards the emerging peripheries of North-West Istanbul: the striking making of the ‘New Istanbul’
Route :  Taksim-Kasımpaşa-Kağıthane-Cendere
               Ağaçlı: the future third airport
               Arıcılar/Hasdal: destroyed gecekondu. From old neighbourhood to no-where
               TEM-Gazi: ghost-commercial mall-green space policies
               Arnavutköy centre
               Kayabaşı/Kayaşehir: a planned new town

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


Lale Müldür went to Florence to study with a poetry scholarship. She went to the United Kingdom where she received her BA in economics from the University of Manchester, and her MS in the sociology of literature from Essex University. Müldür lived in Brussels from 1983 to 1987 and her writing and poetry was published in Gösteri, Defter, Şiir Atı, Oluşum, Mor Köpük, Yönelişler, Sombahar, Kitap-lık and Spleen Fanzin. Müldür worked for the Radikal newspaper for a time. Some of her poems have been set to music and used in films. She represented Turkey internationally. She won the Golden Orange Poetry Award 2007 with Ultra-zone'da Ultrason.

Teddy Cruz is an architect committed to finding architectural and urban planning solutions for global political and social problems that proliferate in international border zones, especially the US-Mexican border. In his work, Cruz seeks to amplify the role of marginal neighbourhoods in the rethinking of affordable housing, public infrastructure, and urban policy. He is the founder of Estudio Teddy Cruz (2000). Cruz's research and work has been included in major exhibitions across international cultural institutions, including representing the US in the 2008 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Currently he is a Professor in Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego, where he co-founded CUE/Center for Urban Ecologies.

Cevdet Erek was born, lives and works in Istanbul. Erek participated in dOCUMENTA(13) with ‘Room of Rhythms’ (2012); the Istanbul Biennial (2011, 2003) and the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial (2012). A solo exhibition of his work titled ‘“Week’ was show by Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland in 2012. Erek was awarded the Nam June Paik Prize (2012) and the Uriot Prize with Studio (2005) during his residency at Rijksakademie vbk (2005-2006, Amsterdam). Erek has a PhD from ITU MIAM, Center for Advanced Studies in Music and works as an instructor at ITU TM State Conservatoire and Architecture Faculty. Erek is also co-founder of Nekropsi and continues to perform with his band.

Christoph Schäfer is an artist whose work is committed to issues relating to the urban domain, using strong visual, spatial, performative, theoretical, and activist strategies. He engages in long-term projects in urban contexts as well as in social movements. Since 1995, he has been part of the Park Fiction Project, an initiative that brought together a group of residents of St. Pauli district in Hamburg, in a collective process of production of desires, deriving in the delving, attaining, and development of a public park on the riverbank, by which participants managed to release an expensive plot of land from the clutches of real estate developers. He is also part of Es regnet Kaviar (‘It's Raining Caviar’ - Action Network against Gentrification), and the neighborhood organization NoBNQ.

Betül Tanbay is a citizen of Istanbul. She was one of the initiators of the Taksim platform, and has been working actively for the platform since Autumn 2011. When not busy with Taksim, she does mathematics. She is a professor at the Boğaziçi University and the first woman president of the Turkish Mathematical Society.

Yaşar Adnan Adanalı teaches social development and poverty politics at Stuttgart University’s Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design MA Program, as well as at Darmstadt Technical University’s International Help and Urban Development MA Program and Grenoble University. He also worked in the camp improvement project of the United Nations’ Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees as a participation specialist for two years. His research focuses on democracy and space, urban movements and urban transformation, and he has worked on development planning in various cities in South America, Africa and Middle East. He writes two blogs entitled Mutlukent and Reclaimistanbul.

Sedat Doğan Born in Istanbul in 1980, Doğan studied at Kocaeli University’s Political Science and Public Administration Program. He currently continues his master’s studies at Local Governments Department of the same university. He has been interested in cinema and theatre throughout his college years and he has had various short film projects. He wrote two theatre plays entitled 'Sandalye' and 'Ölüyoruz Demek ki Yaşanılacak.' These plays were staged in various theatres in Istanbul. Still working on cinema and photography, Doğan publishes his articles on politics, religion and sociology periodically on He has been a vocal spokesman for anti-capitalist Muslim associations. 

Prof. Dr. İlhan Tekeli is a retired professor of City and Regional Planning Department at the Middle East Technical University. He served as an honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences and resigned from his post to protest the decree issued by the government. Tekeli is one of the founders and first Chairman of the History Foundation of Turkey. He served as a member of the High Education Council of Turkey between 2004 and 2008. He has won several social science awards. He has 95 books, as well as 640 articles and conference papers in the areas of city and regional planning, planning theory, macro geography, geography of migration and political behaviour, theory and history of local administrations in Turkey, urbanization and urban policy, economic policy, economic history of Turkey, history of cities and space and the EU.

Erbay Yucak is one of the pro bono attorneys working with the 1umut/Solidarity Workshop, Associations and Cooperatives Aggravated by Urban Transformation (cases of Davutpaşa- Ostim- Esenyurt- Bedaş-Van Bayram Hotel- cases of TV series sets) Düzce and İzmit Homeless Earthquake Victims’ Housing Cooperative and Associations of Earthquake Victims. He continues to work as a pro bono legal advisor for Peasants Affected by HES (Hydroelectric Power Plants).

Jean-François Perouse graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure  in 1990 in the field of humanities (social geography).  Since September 1999 he has lived and worked in Istanbul. Since 2006 he has taught urban sociology in Galatasaray University. He has many articles published in academic periodicals on urban development of Istanbul and on Turkey, in French, Turkish, German and English. Currently he belongs to the EJTS (European Journal of Turkish Studies, review editorial board. Among the books he wrote and edited are La Turquie en Marche (La Martinière, 2004), Villes et Risques (Economica
/ anthropos, 2006), Constantinople, 1900. Voyage photographique de T. Wild (Kallimages, 2010) and İstanbul’la Yüzleşme Denemeleri (İletişim, 2011).

Fulya Erdemci is the curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial, 2013. She acted as the director of SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain in Amsterdam between June 2008 and September 2012. She also curated the Turkish Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Art Biennial in 2011.

Dr. Andrea Phillips is currently a Reader in Fine Art in the Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Director of the Doctoral Research Programmes in Fine Art and Curating. Dr. Phillips directs a number of international interdisciplinary research projects and publishes widely on art, curating, politics and public space.

Making the City Public, Introduction: Bige Örer/ Fulya Erdemci/ Dr. Andrea Philipps

Making the City Public, Lale Müldür: Poetry Reading

Making the City Public, Teddy Cruz: Where is Our Collective Imagination? Architecture and the Crisis of the Public

Making the City Public, Introduction: Fulya Erdemci / Dr. Andrea Philipps-Christoph Schaefer: A Machine of Possibilities: the urban turn, art and the right to the city

Making the City Public, Agoraphobia: urban transformation in Istanbul / Speakers: Yaşar Adnan Adanalı, Betül Tanbay, İlhan Tekeli, Erbay Yucak, Fulya Erdemci