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Statement on the 13th Istanbul Biennial 'Public Capital' event

We are sorry about the incidents that took place during the recent artists’ performance at the 13th Istanbul Biennial “Public Capital” event, which led to unintended consequences. We are re-evaluating our processes and expressing our good intentions in the hope of preventing such incidents from happening again. Under the condition that artistic events are not obstructed in any way and that open and free communication is maintained, we wish to come together in a constructive dialogue in anticipation of our further upcoming activities.

We would like to reiterate that for the last 40 years, İKSV's stance and approach has been one of constant rejuvenation, self-criticism, and a quest for what is positive and just.

Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts

Please find below a call dated June 6 regarding the incidents and the statement by Fulya Erdemci, the curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial.

Fulya Erdemci’s statement:
June 9, 2013

The resistance movement which began with the uprooting of one tree at Taksim Gezi Park on May 27 and the torching of the guard tents set up by activists, evolved into a nationwide—even worldwide—demonstration and has shown us a unique example of solidarity. This peaceful youth movement, which envisioned and realized the solidarity of different (and perhaps clashing) worldviews with honesty and openness, has been a transformative experience none of us could have imagined. We have learned, and continue to learn, a great deal from this experience.

We are sorry about the incidents that took place on May 10 at the 13th Istanbul Biennial “Pubic Alchemy” programme, as well as the unfortunate subsequent developments.

In order to prevent this incident from being curtailed to a denunciation and apology and avoid perpetuating misinformation, we find it important to clarify certain points:

1) Due to the negative experience of the protests on March 22 at the “Public Alchemy” programme at the Istanbul Technical University Maçka campus, which obstructed the presentations of Eren Erdem and Adbusters (as well as university classes and exams), we took an incorrect attitude at our third event, for which we apologize.
2) The protest on May 10 took place during the lecture-performance of Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heiremans, who were intending to offer a critique of the multifaceted and complex relation between art and capital, and it disrupted the audience’s experience of the performance. The protestors were removed from the venue so that the artist duo could resume their performance. 
3) The police have become involved not because of the protests, but due to a personal provocation and harassment and both parties have filed complaints against each other. No complaint has been filed in regard to the protest or against the protestors. The video recording that is the subject of the complaint is not of the performance or the protest during the event, but rather a continuous, targeted filming of Fulya Erdemci for one hour and fifteen minutes. The complaint was filed by Erdemci after the declaration that this recording would be used in a video work without Erdemci’s consent. The other party has filed complaints against Erdemci on two accounts.

We understand the concerns of some members of the art community who have reacted to this incident. We want to assume responsibility for transforming the action-and-reaction process and would like this incident to lead us all into a space of reflection and discussion. Therefore, we invite all interested parties to a peaceful and constructive discussion at the Gezi Park Democracy Workshops, where we can reflect on and talk about this and other urgent matters.
With my very best,

Fulya Erdemci