10th International Istanbul Biennial

Central Istanbul + Gecekondus (photo by Amal Cavender 2005) (see here)

Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary:
Optimism in the Age of Global War

"Turkey, as one the of first non-western modern republics and a key player in the modernization of the developing world has proved to be one of the most radical, spectacular and influential cases in this direction. But, a fundamentally crucial problem is that the modernization model promoted by the Kemalist project was still a top-down imposition with some unsolvable contradictions and dilemmas inherent within the system: the quasi-military imposition of reforms, while necessary as a revolutionary tool, betrayed the principle of democracy; the nationalist ideology ran counter to its embracement of the universality of humanism, and the elite-led economic development generated social division."
In today´s geopolitical reality, it is necessary and urgent to deal with the question of modernization. Urbanization, or explosive urban expansion in the Istanbul fashion, is the most visible and significant sign of modernization. Exploring the urban and architectural conditions of Istanbul has hence become a starting point and a central reference to the conception of this Biennial. And contemporary art as an avant-garde in cultural experiments should engage with the city, and it is through this engagement that the biennial will acquire fresh energy and significance in a new reality. The biennial should become a laboratory for innovative projects and strategies, and a site for experiments and productions with different, multiple models of modernization."
"In such a debate, artistic actions, including the Biennial itself, can certainly find their roles in prompting cultural and social changes through innovative forces of intervention -a form of the urban guerrilla. Facing this infinitely dynamic, complex and exciting reality of a metropolis, artists and other creators are highly inspired to mobilize their imaginations and creativities."

Text by curator: Hou Hanru (see here)

Main events at 10th Istanbul Biennial

Burn it or not? + World factory + Entre-Polis + Dream House + NightComers + Special projects

8 Sept - 4 Nov 2007 (see here)


Gecekondu - "Landed during the night"

Gecekondu in Turkish means "Landed during the night".

It is the name being given to most Turkish construction since the 50´s exodus towards the city. The term has several meanings and refers to different aspects of these settlements (architecture, urbanism, sociology, economy, etc.)

These self constructed a-legal urban villages - between rural and urban settlements - explore a gap in Turkish legislation which prevents a building from being demolished since it´s roof is housing a family. So, land is taken in the evening to be transformed into a house during the night, so to be roofed at dusk, becoming the home of a family.

In 2003 the artist Marjetica Potrc built a gecekondu structure at the Istanbul Biennial, leaving it to a family that undertook it so to make it their home: "Rooftop Room is a site-specific project realized for the 8th Istanbul Biennial. It consists of a tin roof constructed on top of a privately owned flat-roof house in Kustepe, Istanbul. After the exhibition closed, the family who lives in the house replaced the temporary curtain walls with permanent walls." MP

Marjetica Potrc, Building materials, energy and communication infrastructure, 2003

'Poetic Justice' The 8th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul


Souvenir - Muuratsalo

"Junto fotografias das férias do Aalto/ das minhas férias:

A "sauna de fumo" (diferente da sauna normal) é a tipologia mais antiga na finlandia.
Este tipo de sauna ja era anacronico quando o aalto a construiu, em 1954: davam muito trabalho a aquecer e incendeiam-se facilmente. A sauna foi construida com vista para o lago Päijänne, e é um anexo à casa de verão/ casa experimental "Koetalo". O Aalto convidava os amigos (arquitectos estrangeiros) e os clientes para passarem temporadas num ambiente "finlandes".
Um beijinho/ abraco, Miguel"

De Muuratsalo, a casa experimental de Alvar Aalto onde está também a cabana da sua sauna (construída em 1952-53), o Miguel Araújo enviou-nos esta foto de arquivo.

Pois esta foto vem aguçar a curiosidade: o que tinha lugar naquela cabana?

Aguardamos por mais, Miguel. Até lá... boas férias. (ver aqui)