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.

cultural-agencies.blogspot.com

Description

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.

Cultural Agencies Events

12 june-14 july 2010--- Dükkan's long term guests: ETC


For the one act operet at 30 june 2010 in front of the dükkan; check:
http://vimeo.com/13280956 for the photo documentation:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51960260@N07/

12 june-14 july 2010--- Dükkan's long term guests: ETC


For the one act operet at 30 june 2010 in front of the dükkan; check:
http://vimeo.com/13280956 for the photo documentation:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51960260@N07/

12 june-14 july 2010--- Dükkan's long term guests: ETC


“Proposals” 12 July -12 August at Aydın Kebap

A long-term guest of the Gülensu-Gülsuyu shop with the project "Is another kind of architecture possible?" Burak Delier will present in Aydın Kebap the ideas he gathered during the month of May. In addition to being architectural proposals, the simple sketches in the exhibition also demonstrate the necessities and desires of the neighborhood. If this work can make even a small contribution to the neighborhood through the discussions it provokes, it means that the project has achieved its goal.

“Proposals†12 July -12 August at Aydın Kebap

A long-term guest of the Gülensu-Gülsuyu shop with the project “Is another kind of architecture possible?†Burak Delier will present in Aydın Kebap the ideas he gathered during the month of May. In addition to being architectural proposals, the simple sketches in the exhibition also demonstrate the necessities and desires of the neighborhood. If this work can make even a small contribution to the neighborhood through the discussions it provokes, it means that the project has achieved its goal.

Read more entries at http://cultural-agencies-eventspace.blogspot.com/

Cultural Agencies Education

Mobile Vitrine

Gülsuyu-Gülensu is a place with a rich history. It has a history of being a community of struggle, and a place full of present possibilities, treasures, individual and collective dreams. But what would we show in order to present this history to the people outside of Gülsuyu-Gülensu? To the other communities in Istanbul that don't yet know about this rich history? To the people that see this place as a lost neighborhood, a neighborhood that is not worth telling about in the general story of the development of the city of Istanbul. But most important of all: how do we re-tell and re-enact the history to all the people living here, the residents; the old, the children, the women and men: the members of the community and the carriers of this history themselves?

Cultural Agency has developed a Mobile Vitrine as a tool to trigger the gathering of a so far missing material collection of evidence of Gülsuyu/ Gülensu's urbanisation process. The vitrine has been constructed as a plug-in frame, which can be curated by the institutions, associations and/or individuals of the neighbourhood in a rotating system. As a plug-in, the vitrine produces a series of inventorized items and photographs which eventually establishes a virtual collection of Gülsuyu-Gülensu.

The habitants of Gülsuyu-Gülensu are invited to share their memories and objects that could tell the history of the neighborhood. Collection of the diaries, letters, posters, documents, photographs and other objects of interest will help to map and understand the shared experience of urbanization.
Mobile Vitrine I

The first exhibition of the Mobile Vitrine took place between September 2-4, 2009 at the Dükkân. Further exhibitions follow in January 2010.

Mobile Vitrine II
Second exhibition of the Mobile Vitrine in Çorumlular Association between September 8-13, 2009.

Mobile Vitrine III

Gürcan Ozyigit (University of Sheffield) appropriated the Mobile Vitrine for a contour model of Gülsuyu and Gülensu. Residents were asked to use the model to generate highly personalized mappings of existing cultural infrastructure in the neighbourhoods. Two Questions were asked: 1. From where do you obtain your cultural needs? Magazines, books, DVDs etc. The second question was asked to people hanging around Heykel square, a public space close to Dükkân. 2. From which spot did you walk over here? The results of the interviews were mapped on the model and publicly exhibited in the vitrine.
Mobile Vitrine IV

The fourth exhibition of the Mobile Vitrine was made in Aydın Kebap House on 15th of January with objects collected from the restaurant staff. In the window there were objects such as a cup won in a football tournament, various photos and a gas lamp.

Mobile Vitrine

Gülsuyuâ€"Gülensu is a place with a rich history. It has a history of being a community of struggle, and a place full of present possibilities, treasures, individual and collective dreams. But what would we show in order to present this history to the people outside of Gülsuyuâ€"Gülensu? To the other communities in Istanbul that don’t yet know about this rich history? To the people that see this place as a lost neighborhood, a neighborhood that is not worth telling about in the general story of the development of the city of Istanbul. But most important of all: how do

Read more entries at http://cultural-agencies-education.blogspot.com/

Cultural Agencies Archive

Oral History Project

"Can you talk about yourself briefly? When and why did you come to Istanbul and under what conditions? When did you come to this neighborhood, and how was it? How did you made your house, under which circumstances? How you see the future of Gülensu-Gülsuyu?" (extract from Oral History interviews starting in July 2009)

When Gülsuyu-Gülensu Dükkânı was opened in 24th of July, its primary function was to be a platform, a container for the Oral History project that started a while ago before the Dükkan was opened. The Oral History project is investigating the different construction periods of Gülsuyu/Gülensu, through a series of video interviews with neighbors from different backgrounds. The focus of the Oral History Project is the period of 50'- 90'.

The project currently covers over 20 interviews. It will continue next year with new partners. The collection will be shared with the neighborhood and published in a book and DVD format. A key question will be to define "ownership and access" to this unique collection of urban narratives, as well as to prevent misuse of sometimes intimate and personal information. Discussion will be held with the community to address these questions.

Read more entries at http://cultural-agencies-archive.blogspot.com/

Cultural Agencies Communication

[untitled entry]

Many of the existing cultural agency practices in Gülsuyu and Gülensu operate in isolation, serve only particular groups and often remain hidden to outsiders and the broader local public alike. Most cultural initiatives in the neighbourhood are for selected groups only, or closely associated with political and/or religious factions. Cultural Agencies has been carefully navigating between the various power structures and interests of the neighbourhood - seeking to maintain an "engaged neutrality" which could serve as a trigger for the emergence of a not-yet existing public sphere in which multiple engagement might be possible.

Following local custom of simple printed posters, the project has developed a communication strategy designed to strengthen the "publicness" of the Dükkân. In the second phase of the project, the poster campaign will evolve into a newsletter format that announces all activities and events of the Cultural Agencies project.

[untitled entry]

Many of the existing cultural agency practices in Gülsuyu and Gülensu operate in isolation, serve only particular groups and often remain hidden to outsiders and the broader local public alike. Most cultural initiatives in the neighbourhood are for selected groups only, or closely associated with political and/or religious factions. Cultural Agencies has been carefully navigating between the various power structures and interests of the neighbourhood - seeking to maintain an “engaged neutrality†which could serve as a trigger for the emergence of a not-yet existing public sphere in which multiple engagement might be possible.

Following local custom of simple printed posters, the project has developed a communication strategy designed to strengthen the “publicness†of the Dükkân. In the second phase of the project, the poster campaign will evolve into a newsletter format that announces all activities and events of the Cultural Agencies project.

Posters


[untitled entry]

Posters


Read more entries at http://cultural-agencies-communication.blogspot.com/

Cultural Agencies Library

[untitled entry]

In the absence of local libraries or comparable community centres, the project investigated the accessibility of publications and distribution of books. Over the last months, a basic collection of books and brochures has been collected in the Dükkân. Additionally a basic system of book shelves has been developed. Eventually Cultural Agencies investigates the possibility of an evolution from a basic collection into a functioning library. Based on the review of existing reading library practices in the neighbourhood (individual lending libraries, association book shelves, etc.) an organisational scenario and architectural proposal will be developed.

Read more entries at http://cultural-agencies-publiczone.blogspot.com/

Cultural Agencies Office

[untitled entry]

Cultural Agencies office established itself in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Gülsuyu / Gülensu. This choice was made after extensive site visits, interviews with local actors and background research which took place between October 2008 and March 2009. Compared to other neighbourhoods, Gülsuyu and Gülensu stood out as both, most challenging and welcoming to the Cultural Agencies initiative.

The two neighbourhoods are located to the north of the E-5 highway within Istanbul's eastern Maltepe district. The neighbourhoods were established informally when immigrant groups from eastern Anatolia (Erzincan, Sivas, Tunceli) arrived in the early 1960s. Soon gecekondus in the area proliferated, forming a dense tapestry, which covers the entire hillside and gradually acquired urban complexity and distinct local identity. Since the 1970s, local activism and solidarity networks formed a unique social tissue, which still endures. This also includes a rich spectrum of collective practices, which provides an insight into the inventiveness, creativity and collective determination of Istanbulites to construct alternative cultural infrastructures based on improvisation and minimum means. Current planning intentions of the municipality seek to exploit the prime real estate value of the neighbourhood, located within an earthquake safe zone and offering unique panoramic views across the Marmara Sea and Princes' Islands. If plans are realized, both neighbourhoods will be replaced with new upmarket housing and most of its inhabitants will be displaced.

The March 2009 municipal elections have led to a change of local government and the promise to replace the radical vision of urban transformation with one more socially inclusive and organic. Numerous, partially heated and controversial discussions are ongoing in the neighbourhood as local residents are in the process of re-defining their relationship to the local municipality: from radical opposition and protest to the attempt to lead a community-driven, alternative planning process. As a first step, the neighbourhood is now in the process to elect local street representatives to form a broad, democratically endorsed representative body that can lead the planning process.

[untitled entry]

Cultural Agencies office established itself in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Gülsuyu / Gülensu. This choice was made after extensive site visits, interviews with local actors and background research which took place between October 2008 and March 2009. Compared to other neighbourhoods, Gülsuyu and Gülensu stood out as both, most challenging and welcoming to the Cultural Agencies initiative.

The two neighbourhoods are located to the north of the E-5 highway within Istanbul’s eastern Maltepe district. The neighbourhoods were established informally when immigrant groups from eastern Anatolia (Erzincan, Sivas, Tunceli) arrived in the early 1960s. Soon gecekondus in the area proliferated, forming a dense tapestry, which covers the entire hillside and gradually acquired urban complexity and distinct local identity. Since the 1970s, local activism and solidarity networks formed a unique social tissue, which still endures. This also includes a rich spectrum of collective practices, which provides an insight into the inventiveness, creativity and collective determination of Istanbulites to construct alternative cultural infrastructures based on improvisation and minimum means. Current planning intentions of the municipality seek to exploit the prime real estate value of the neighbourhood, located within an earthquake safe zone and offering unique panoramic views across the Marmara Sea and Princes' Islands. If plans are realized, both neighbourhoods will be replaced with new upmarket housing and most of its inhabitants will be displaced.

The March 2009 municipal elections have led to a change of local government and the promise to replace the radical vision of urban transformation with one more socially inclusive and organic. Numerous, partially heated and controversial discussions are ongoing in the neighbourhood as local residents are in the process of re-defining their relationship to the local municipality: from radical opposition and protest to the attempt to lead a community-driven, alternative planning process. As a first step, the neighbourhood is now in the process to elect local street representatives to form a broad, democratically endorsed representative body that can lead the planning process.

Plug-in interventions

Workshop "Inventory"

The first on-site intervention in Gülsuyu and Gülensu was an international workshop realized between 2nd and 9th of May 2009 with students and recent graduates of Staedelschule - Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Frankfurt am Main), Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Istanbul) and local actors from the neighborhood.

Over the course of 8 days, mixed groups investigated existing forms of "agency" in the neighbourhood. Six groups were formed, each focusing on one generic programme of a formal "cultural institution". In the neighbourhood, these six themes became investigative frames to detect visible and invisible, formal and informal, stable and instable models of "agency":

(1) Events (2) Collection (3) Archive (4) Communication (5) Library (6) Office

From July, the project team developed six concepts for "plug-in" interventions in the existing cultural infrastructure neighbourhood.

Each of the "agency tools" corresponded to the six generic themes - (1) Events, (2) Collection, (3) Archive, (4) Communication, (5) Library, (6) Office - and designed to insert doubt, trigger debates and stimulate a more strategic discussion on the future role and form of cultural production in Gülsuyu and Gülensu. Partnerships with selected cultural institutions and agency practices in the neighbourhood were formed during the research, design and implementation process.

Plug-in interventions

Workshop “Inventoryâ€

The first on-site intervention in Gülsuyu and Gülensu was an international workshop realized between 2nd and 9th of May 2009 with students and recent graduates of Staedelschule â€" Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Frankfurt am Main), Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Istanbul) and local actors from the neighborhood.

Over the course of 8 days, mixed groups investigated existing forms of “agency†in the neighbourhood. Six groups were formed, each focusing on one generic programme of a formal “cultural institutionâ€. In the neighbourhood, these six themes became investigative frames to detect visible and invisible, formal and informal, stable and instable models of “agencyâ€:

(1) Events (2) Collection (3) Archive (4) Communication (5) Library (6) Office

From July, the project team developed six concepts for “plug-in†interventions in the existing cultural infrastructure neighbourhood.

Each of the “agency tools†corresponded to the six generic themes - (1) Events, (2) Collection, (3) Archive, (4) Communication, (5) Library, (6) Office - and designed to insert doubt, trigger debates and stimulate a more strategic discussion on the future role and form of cultural production in Gülsuyu and Gülensu. Partnerships with selected cultural institutions and agency practices in the neighbourhood were formed during the research, design and implementation process.

Plug-in interventions

Read more entries at http://cultural-agencies-office.blogspot.com/

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