Istanbul prepares for first Design Biennial

Istanbul prepares for first Design Biennial

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul prepares for first Design Biennial

The first Istanbul Design Biennial will take place at the Istanbul Modern Museum (above) and Galata Greek Primary School (below) and some other venues in the city.

The Istanbul Design Biennial, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), will be held on Oct. 13 and Dec. 12. Under the curatorship of Emre Arolat and Joseph Grima, the event will be organized around the theme “Imperfection.” 

The exhibitions of the Istanbul Design Biennial will explore a wide range of fields from urban to architecture, industrial, graphic, fashion, and new media design, and all relevant creative products and projects. They will be held at Istanbul Modern and Galata Greek Primary School, as well as other various venues in the city.

 “The first design biennial of our city will bring out the potential of Istanbul, one of the most inspiring cities in the world, in terms of design,” İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı said at a press conference held this week to launch the event. 

“We believe the Istanbul Design Biennial will be a satisfying event, enriching its field, introducing current cultural productions in our country to international platforms, and bringing different tendencies and practices from all around the world to Istanbul.”

The first Istanbul Design Biennial will adopt the theme “Imperfection” at the suggestion of Deyan Sudjic, a member of its advisory board and also the Director of the Design Museum in London.

In his text on “Imperfection,” Sudjic says that there is nowhere better to explore it than in Istanbul, a city of infinite layers, charged with the vitality that comes from engaging with rapid urban, social and cultural change. “Istanbul as a city, is far from perfect, yet it was one of the most exhilarating and dynamic centers in the world. Its special quality is that it makes so much from the imperfect, the inexact and the provisional.” 

The theme “Imperfection” will both celebrate the city’s distinctive creative qualities and encapsulate a wider discussion about the nature of design in the contemporary world. It will tell the world something about Istanbul and offer the world a sharp insight into the nature of contemporary design. Imperfection is a new take on old ideas, Sudjic writes.

Exhibitions at the biennial

The curators of biennial, Arolat and Grima will present two independent approaches by interpreting the theme separately.

The exhibition organized under the curatorship of Arolat “Musibet: the Aestheticization of Context and Anti-Context in Design along the Axis of the Grand Transformation” will take place at Istanbul Modern. 

Arolat aims to construct the curatorial framework of his exhibition by questioning urban and architectural design of current Istanbul. The structure consisting of two main headings, “Transformation” and “Anti-Context” will question urban transformation and public housing projects, and the social tension created by these projects by comparing them to other examples in the world under the first heading.

Curator Grima has determined the conceptual framework of his exhibition, which will be displayed at Galata Greek Primary School as “Adhocracy,” the opposite of bureaucracy. Grima considers Istanbul Design Biennial as a laboratory more than an exhibition platform. He aims to turn his exhibition into a stage for the current revolutionary changes in the design world. 

His exhibition starts out with concept that the final user is a part of the design and manufacturing processes, one of the most significant current changes. The exhibition will have a dynamic, complex, and innovative structure which challenges the traditional relations between designer, user, and manufacturer, and slow bureaucratic processes.

After the biennial there will be a general presentation at the Beyoğlu Youth Center on March 27, which will bring all contributors together. The presentation will be free of charge and open to the general public. Workshop leaders will sum up their works and present selected examples. 

Project applications for the Istanbul Design Biennial will continue until 2 June 2012. There will be no disciplinary and geographical limitations with regard to projects applying to the biennial.