Platforma Garanti

Cultural Agencies

"Cultural Agencies" is a project with a duration of two years that seeks to develop contemporary models of cultural collaborations and institutional practices.

While current planning for Istanbul's European Capital of Culture 2010 celebrations is focusing on the historic city centre, "Cultural Agencies" breaks out of this "cultural bubble" and shifts focus on narratives of Istanbulites inhabiting the largely ignored periphery. Here, traditional types of European and Turkish cultural institutions -museums, galleries, libraries, theatres or community centres- that accumulate in the city centre are absent. Hidden to the gaze of an outsider, the apparent void has been occupied by a multitude of new forms of "agency", informal, semi-formal, familial, kinship based, communal, religious, political. While lack of funding and support is undoubtedly omnipresent, the absence of a formal state infrastructure has been compensated for through the combined spirit of free agency, self-help and improvisation, or as an expression of simply surviving and coping with.

"Cultural Agencies" project attempts to forge a trustbased relationship with selected local communities, conduct field surveys with the help of architects, planners, artists, activists, students and local residents which will lead to the participatory mapping of existing forms of agency. An archive of institutional practice will be constructed which also provides access to different urban narratives. Following a spirit of partnership the granting of access by the communities will, in turn, be met by an offer: To jointly develop ideas and visions of how to consolidate specific forms of agency, to imagine and implement prototypes, as well as to plug into the existing infrastructure of one of the major, globally acting cultural institutions Garanti Galeri and Platform Garanti in Istanbul's centre. "Cultural Agencies" is not producing landmark projects of the kind produced in the city centre for 2010. Instead, a multitude of small interventions, new links and forms of mutual access is emerging, forging a stronger identification of residents with their physical and cultural environment, and inspiring their participation in much needed change.

Beyond these concrete results, the project will enrich the broader, cross-disciplinary discourse on how to intervene in an ambiguous civic sphere, which blurs the boundaries between public and private, stable and instable, physical and virtual, local and global, the site-specific and the abstract and utopian. "Cultural Agencies" will demonstrate the field of possibilities for architects, artists, curators, activists, community leaders and residents to discover this sphere as a space of yet unknown collaborative possibilities.

Curated by: Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz, Oda Projesi

Coordinator: Ece Sarıyüz

With contributions by: AAA (Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée), Fevzican Abacıoglu, Ayse Nur Akdal, Kamile Batur, Yigit Battal, Hakan Bozoglu, Tim Caston, Daniel Cook, Mina Cenan Çakmak, Büsra Çiçek, Ali Danacı, Burak Delier, Zeynep Sema Demir, Burcu Demircan, Gizem Demirci, Sebile Dışkaya, Shahab Fotouhi, Giorgio Giusti, Oliver Heizenberger, Shahira Issa, Duygu Kaban, Korhan Kalaycıoglu, Cengiz Karabag, Tom Kirby, Martin Kirchner, Erhan Koç, Dicle Koylan, Kurmalı Salyangoz (Clockwork Snail), Cenk Külçe, Maria Lind, Natalie Lunt, Meriç Öner, Altınok Öz, Zeynep Öz, Seda Özel, Melisa Özelkan, Ugur Öztürk, Gürcan Özyigit, Jean-François Pérouse, Kirsten Reibold, Ala Roushan, Talha Sagıroglu, Evrim Gülcan Savas, Gregory Sholette, Burak Şuşut, Cihan Sürer, Talat Sürer, Merve Tuba Tanok, Deniz Tarı, Gözde Turhan, Tugçe Tüfenk, Volkan Uyar, Federico Del Vecchio, William Wells, Paul Wild, Murat Cemal Yalçıntan, Erdogan Yıldız, Damla Özgü Yıldız, Zeynep Zilelioğlu

Project partners: Platform Garanti / Garanti Galeri, Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi, Städelschule Frankfurt

Project Board: Vasıf Kortun, Pelin Dervis

"Cultural Agencies" is a non-profit initiative. The project has been made possible through the generous support of the German Alllianz Kulturstiftung and RHYZOM - a collaborative network for local cultural production and trans-local dissemination funded by the European Commission.


website by dorian moore @ the useful arts organisation