Festivals and events
If we keep the commercial industry expositions out of the framework, Turkey does not have a continuous architectural event which is organized on a regular basis. The Arkitera Architecture Center (AAC) organized the Istanbul Architecture Festival in 2004 and tried to turn it into a biennale but couldn't find enough support to realize it.
CAT, Building Information Center (Yapı Endüstri Merkezi), Arkitera Architecture Center and Garanti Gallery (GG) are the most active organizations but none of the events organized by them so far had a continuous repeating cycle except for GG. GG which was founded in 2003 and functioned until 2010 is based on architecture, urbanism and design. GG realized numerous exhibitions in its venue and internationally, organized other events like workshops and lectures, and produced distinguished publications. GG is now consolidating with its sister institutions under the Garanti Culture Inc. umbrella which will be functioning in its renovated venues in 2011.
In 2010, Arkitera started to organize the Open Door Architecture Festival with the support of Istanbul 2010 Agency and have plans to repeat it every year in the future.
“Kayıtdışı” is another annual initiative originating from Yıldız Technical University. Some young academic staff of the university together with some enthusiastic students developed a series of events lasting for a couple of days each year. Ayşen Ciravoğlu from Yıldız Technical University was the leading academic in organizing this event, where the contributors change each year. The third kayıtdısı event was organized in 2010. (www.kayitdisi.org)
“400 Saniye (400 Seconds)” is a non-regular event, based on the famous Pecha-Kucha format, which is organized with some young academics, students and architects grouped under the title Difüzyon. It has been organized at seven different times where architects, artists and people working in different creative fields presented their one or two projects in 400 seconds to an audience in an informal environment such as a night club. (www.difuzyon.org)
Especially in the last five years, because of the mediation of publications and exhibitions, the architecture in Turkey obtained a position from where it is capable of both representing and being represented. Founded in 2006, the “World Architecture Community” organized an exhibition called “7 Hills 7 Architects” which, after its first show in Torino in 2008, visited Berlin, Brussels and Jakarta.
Urban affairs such as public space, political sphere, right of habitation, urban transformation, gated communities, heritage etc. have become the focus of attention also for contemporary art, resulting in increasing communication and collaboration between artist-architect/urban planners. Some examples are “Cultural Agencies” (http://cultural-agencies.blogspot.com/) and other projects by Oda Projesi (http://odaprojesi.blogspot.com/), Open-City Istanbul exhibition realized in cooperation with the 4th International Biennale Rotterdam IABR “Open City – Designing Coexistence” (www.depoistanbul.net/en/activites_detail.asp?ac=25), “My City” (www.mycity.eu.com/content/about) project realized by the collaboration of British Council and Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center.
Besides these examples, it has to be mentioned that the research project by Garanti Gallery entitled “Becoming Istanbul” (www.becomingistanbul.org) is in circulation with an exhibition (Frankfurt, Berlin, Bahrain, Lille and web), three books and an ever growing database. Freed from tags full of same old, cliché arguments, and with over 200 participants from both inside and outside the architecture circles, “Becoming Istanbul” is trying to delineate the architecture, and on a larger scale, the complexity and the contextuality of the city.