Exhibition at Gazhane focusses on issues of urbanization
A newly opened exhibition called “Towards the City” at Istanbul’s newest culture and arts center, the historical Hasanpaşa Gazhanesi (gashouse), is centered around the issues of urbanization, urban and rural transformation and ecology.
The structure of the exhibition comprises of subjective narratives that vary from individual to societal and every day to expert. It is shaped by content that relates to journeys, sometimes in memories and other times in bodily experiences.
With a comprehensive approach, the show presents the works of Serkan Taycan, who has been investigating the impacts of transformation on the city with an internal and external eye and has been adopting practices such as photography, walking and mapping as methods for this research since 2007.
It is possible to talk of two main axes that embrace the entirety of the exhibition. One of these is an effort to sustain the structure in photographs - touching upon shared concepts that relate to memory, representation, photography/cinematography, the philosophy of walking and activism - throughout the narrative of the exhibition, as the themes that fall into the focus of the sections vary.
The other is an attempt to articulate, by including other voices that think, write and produce in a diversity of fields ranging from literature to sociology and architecture to urban politics, that the subject matter is not aimed at a narrow professional field, expertise, or solely to photographic documentation or an artistic form of expression.
The exhibition takes its viewers to a journey in four parts, which are Habitat, Shell, Agora and Between Two Seas.
Habitat: It is an outcome of the journeys that Taycan took in an attempt to understand the rural environment in the light of such concepts as the poetics of space, memory and geography. In this context, he establishes a narrative between sites where he spent his childhood and places he never saw before.
Shell: It is now the turn of Istanbul’s peripheries, following the rural. This time, it is the newly constructed settlements, those who are to be displaced yet again, promised new lives and their spaces, the reinstallation of what was previously excavated elsewhere, spaces that keep shifting places, urban policy, the politics of space and the right to the city that lay the foundations of the quest in Taycan’s mind.
Agora: We arrive at the squares of Istanbul from its peripheries. For Taycan, the squares are symbolic places where he can observe how they are used by the citizens, how they are shaped by rulers and the transformative impacts of both. Some of the squares emerge as places that sustain their historical identity, and some others appear as spaces that claim a new type of public quality through their transformation. These photographs need to be gazed at a closer distance, by getting nearer to the windowsills, pavements and those who are sitting on steps.
Between Two Seas: It is a participatory and activist project that questions the relationship between the urban and the nature at the intersection of social sciences, politics and the arts. It is also an invitation that opens up to the bodily experience of the concepts and notions that Taycan deals with in all of his works. In the final part of the exhibition, this invitation transforms into a platform whereby crucial concepts and notions in relation to the city are discussed.