The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, titled A School of Schools and curated by Jan Boelen with associate curators Nadine Botha and Vera Sacchetti , opens to the public on 22 September 2018.
Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by VitrA , the biennial brings together projects from more than 200 interdisciplinary practitioners from across the globe. For six weeks, designers, architects, artists, theoreticians and several others will converge in Turkey’s cultural capital to explore the many dimensions of design and learning. The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial can be visited free of charge until 4 November 2018 .
Six of the city’s most iconic cultural institutions in the Beyoğlu district – Akbank Sanat, Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Arter, Pera Museum, SALT Galata, Studio-X Istanbul – will transform into ‘schools’ where new ideas in relation to expanded notions of design and its role in contemporary culture are explored.
The press conference of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial was held on Thursday, 20 September at Yapı Kredi Culture Centre with the participation of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial curator Jan Boelen and associate curators Vera Sacchetti and Nadine Botha , İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı , along with Istanbul Design Biennial Director Deniz Ova . İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı stated in the press conference: “ Today, from the economy to culture and the arts, sustainable development to technology, design has a key role to play in many areas. It’s possible to say that the future will be shaped by people and institutions that effectively use design-focused methods and tools. The internalization of a design culture and search for design-based solutions that improve life are critically important not just for individuals but for the future of our world as well. In this regard, we truly believe that the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial will also contribute to raising design awareness in our country. As in previous biennials, I am confident that this one will also inspire all our visitors and I would like to extend our warmest gratitude to all invaluable biennial supporters for making the Istanbul Design Biennial possible.”
“By naming the design biennial A School of Schools ”, curator Jan Boelen explained, “we sought to go beyond the traditional ‘school-as-institution’ connotation. Everything and everywhere is a school, and every single interaction we have with design is pedagogical. Ninety-nine years after the Bauhaus, the design discipline and the world are very different places, while design education has mostly remained the same. And yet, education traditionally allowed for spaces of exception where experimentation and new ideas can be tried and tested. Can a biennial emulate these spaces? A School of Schools manifests as a set of dynamic learning formats encouraging creative production, sustainable collaboration, and social connection. We are interested in design as pedagogy and in what can we learn from design and designing. We would like to start a discussion on design, education and design education. We would like it to generate more questions than answers. This places the responsibility on each of us to become agents of our own education.”
The press conference was followed by the experiential performance by designer and researcher, Vivien Tauchman .
A School of Schools
A School of Schools is an educational web of design strategies for learning, and learning strategies for design. The answers we need to address the world’s constant sense of crisis are not being delivered by the tried-and-tested design and education models. With the age-old logic of material abundance and information scarcity inverted, we need new ideas and knowledge to address previously unimaginable complexities. Our minds must be liberated from the preconceived outcomes with which we have been schooled. Not knowing is the first step to learning something new.
By spreading the biennial along a walking route of around 3 km, A School of Schools highlights what we all intuitively know: learning is not limited to a single building at stipulated times through predetermined interactions. New ideas happen anywhere, anytime. We gain knowledge from family, friends, neighbours and strangers. We are schooled by our built environment and the tools we have developed to navigate it. We are all learners in the city as school, with streets for corridors, cultural institutions for classrooms, and - instead of siloed subjects - multi-disciplinary complexities: Unmaking , Currents , Earth , Scales , Time and Digestion .
A School of Schools does not prescribe answers. The biennial offers a space of exception in which possibilities can be studied and propositions tested without the restriction of generating predetermined outcomes. Such a process-oriented approach results in an active site for knowledge creation, while the temporal and spatial limits of the biennial are stretched by the educational web that spans an exhibition, a public programme, book, website and satellite events. Surfacing the expanded field of design, A School of Schools goes beyond pragmatic solutionism to constellate new ideas that can provoke doubt, curiosity and shifts in perspective. What if the school we need now is a personal attitude of questioning and figuring out?
Schools, participants and projects
The exhibition furniture and scenography for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial is developed as a collaboration between architect Aslı Çiçek and product designer Lukas Wegwerth . Using Wegwerth’s open-source system III+1 and Çicek’s vast experience in exhibition design, the scenography of the Biennial is extended over six diverse venues, bringing them together as they play host to the biennial’s main exhibition.
At Akbank Sanat, Unmaking School interrogates the complex, ever-changing relationship between humans and machines to emphasize human creativity as a unique dynamo that drives innovation. Projects include an AI-personalised avatar that can be used for self-growth and an installation envisioning a future in which humans are liberated from labour.
Participants : Amandine David, Camilo Oliveira, Ersin Altın, Burçak Özlüdil, Augustus Wendell, Amy K. Hoover, FABB and contributors, Kerim Bayer, Martina Muzi, Matylda Krzykowski, Annika Frye and students, Nur Horsanalı, Ottonie von Roeder, Stigmergy•Family•Studio•, Studio Makkink & Bey and contributors
At Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Currents School investigates the multitude of connections and networks of exchange that often exist unseen or unnoticed, with projects working to make these systems visible through methods such as a live radio programme recorded on the streets of Istanbul exploring how slang is transmitted, and a Syrian travel guide presenting narratives of those who have fled.
Participants : åbäke, Aformal Academy ve ARK.WORLD, Ana Peñalba, CMP Office, Ebru Kurbak, Irene Posch, So Kanno, Hannah Perner-Wilson, Mika Satomi, Farzin Lotfi-Jam and Mark Wasiuta, ONAGÖRE, Radioee.net and Pub Radio, Studio Folder, Taeyoon Choi At Arter, Earth School questions and subverts the prioritisation of capitalist growth over the planet’s natural resources to suggest an alternative – less fatalistic – future, with projects harnessing algae’s potential to replace non-biodegradable plastics, and investigating the impact of water shortages in underdeveloped countries.
Participants: Andrea Karch, ARVID & MARIE, Atelier Luma Algae Lab, Cihad Caner, Demystification Committee, Design Displacement Group, Disarming Design from Palestine, Fahmy Shahin, Human Rights Foundation, Janna Ullrich, João Roxo, Lukas Engelhardt, Mary Ponomareva, Meeus van Dis, N55, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, New South (Maya Nemeta, Meriem Chabani), Nina Wiesnagrotzki, Sissel Marie Tonn, SO? Mimarlık and contributors, SulSolSal, Tattfoo Studio, Theo Deutinger, Thomas Pausz
At Pera Museum, Scales School interrogates established norms, standards and values, such as quantifying value in numeric and monetary terms, to highlight their absurdity and arbitrariness. One installation explores whether our standards of perfection are cultural or biological as designer babies become a conceivable reality, while another asks if centimetres and inches are obsolete as measuring units in the age of pixels and vectors.
Participants : AATB, Ali Murat Cengiz, Alix Gallet, Aslı Çiçek, Bogomir Doringer, Bora Hong, Broomberg&Chanarin, Can Altay, Cansu Cürgen & Avşar Gürpınar, ECAL X MACGUFFIN MAGAZINE, Fictional Journal Collective, Jamie Allen, Judith Seng, Juliette Pépin, Legrand Jäger, Lukas Wegwerth, Mark Henning, Noortje van Eekelen, Pınar Yoldaş, Possible Bodies Collective, SCN, Selim Süme, Unfold
At SALT Galata, Time School* offers possibilities for manipulating time in a world increasingly dictated by standardized systems, in order to be more present, right here, right now. From a participatory project involving 20 hand-weavers in different time-zones and a clock that re-centres attention to our bodies, to a video installation that encourages participants to stop, rest and sleep, designers demonstrate alternative understandings of time.
Participants : Commonplace Studio, Jesse Howard and Tim Knapen, Danilo Correale, Ecole Mondiale, Emelie Röndahl and contributors, Helga Schmid, Nelly Ben Hayoun, Teis De Greve * Time School is coproduced by Z33 – House for contemporary art, Hasselt (Belgium) and curated by Ils Huygens (Z33)
At Studio-X Istanbul, Digestion School redirects focus from the brain to the gut as a site of cognition, to rediscover indigenous cultural knowledge and emphasize the importance of communal and embodied approaches to living and learning. Projects include an exploration into traditional medicines from Indonesia, and a study on the social, cultural and anthropological significance of the marketplace.
Participants : EAT ART collective, Bakudapan, Carlos Monleón, Chick Strand, Gamze Gündüz, Güher Tan, Tangör Tan, Gökhan Mura, Jenna Sutela, Lifepatch, Lorenzo Cirrincione, Jennifer Teets, Lorena Ancona, Mae-ling Lokko, Nana Ofori-Atta Ayim ve Selassie Ataditka, Gustavo Crembil, Pedro Neves Marques, Peter Zin
Alongside the six-week-long exhibition, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial presents an ambitious public programme which will take learning outside the walls of the classroom into the streets, and spread it throughout the city.
Within the scope of the biennial, visitors will establish the relationship of design history with the history of Turkey's industrialisation with the economic historian Şevket Pamuk ; attend a facial yoga workshop; learn how to apply the blockchain method with the contemporary artist Burak Arıkan , who works with the network structures and dynamics of the participants; learn how to make Indonesia's traditional jamu tea; hear the famous artist and designer Arik Levy 's life; participate in discussions about how future lifestyles and areas will turn out with experts from the fields of architecture, art, science and technology; chat in a cafe through the drinks we consume in daily life; consider collecting design with Sotheby’s and antique expert and engineer Ari İstanbulluoğlu ; talk about the relationship between design and cinema by watching scenes from various films; and trace the story of the industrial design in Turkey with academician Bahar Emgin through "Development Office of Small Turkish Art", which was founded during the 1950s in the United States.
First week events of the public programme
Urgent Pedagogies: Symposium
Saturday, 22 September, 14.00-20.00 / Arter, Classroom
Urgent Pedagogies is a half-day public event that invites professional educators and pedagogical practitioners from the fields of design and architecture to present ongoing educational practice, discuss certain cases and focus on the question of methodologies and means of pedagogies.
Speakers include: curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial curator Jan Boelen and co-curator of the 1st Istanbul Design Biennial Joseph Grima, as well as Sepake Angiama, Markus Bader, Magnus Ericson, Sandi Hilal, Onkar Kular, Peter Lang, Tor Lindstrand, Pelin Tan, Merve Gül Özokcu.
Facial Yoga, Performance
September, 22 September, 15.30-16.00 / 17.00-17.30 / Pera Museum, Exhibition Space
The designer collective Legrand Jäger, who developed software to read emotions through facial expressions, will perform a facial yoga workshop in Pera Museum.
Saturday, 22 September, 12.00-19.00 / Studio-X Istanbul, Classroom
FEEDS is a practice-based, discourse-driven workshop by one of the biennial’s participants, Carlos Monléon, that charts the evolution of food and the transformation our bodies from microbiological processes to planetary metabolisms.
Abecedarium Esperanto: No More Talking or Learning through Images, visual and experimental project
Saturday, 22 September, 14.30-17.30 / Salt Beyoğlu, Walk-In Cinema
Esperanto, No More Talking explores the relation between education, film and design. Iconic and unknown cinematic works will be discussed, projects will be screened, and performances will be enacted in short, dynamic vignettes along with the visitors Åbäke, Lisa Hartje Moura, Pascal Rousseau, and Noam Toran.
Parasitic Reading Club, Performance
Saturday, 22 September and Sunday, Spontaneous / Various venues
Produced by Barcelona-based architectural research formation DPR Barcelona, the Parasitic Reading Room is a spontaneous school, made by reading aloud a selection of texts that are related with the biennial’s scope, in order to ‘parasite’ the event participants, visitors, ideas, contents and places, and to provoke a contagion of knowledge.
DUE Bar, Conversation
Saturday, 22 September, Ongoing / Şimdi Cafe
DUE, a publication from the Architectural Association, will host a daily drinks conversation series. The conversations will take place at the Şimdi Cafe and be transcribed and published daily as part of the biennial’s opening programme.
ARGO, Live Radio
Friday, 21 September and Saturday, 22 September, Ongoing / Beyoğlu, various venues
ARGO will walk the streets and squares and stairs of Istanbul, hosting an online radio broadcast about language and translingual learning along the way. RADIOEE.NET + PUB RADIO will circulate argo, lingo, phrases, and idioms in conversation, music, and sound on http://radioee.net/ from 10.00 to 22.00.
FABB Fabrication, Workshop
Saturday, 22 September, Ongoing / Akbank Sanat, Exhibition Space
During the biennial, the FABB collective will organise workshops to explore how various production processes can be robotized. The first of these workshops, the carbon fibre weaving workshop, will be held at the end of the opening week of the biennial.
Mixing Section, Workshop
Sunday, 23 September, 11.00-13.00 / Studio-X Istanbul, Classroom
Through this workshop organised by one of the biennial participants Lifepatch, participants will learn together how to make an Indonesian herbal drink ( jamu ), share knowledge, talk, and remind ourselves of the balancing of life between food, beverages and health, of the human being that can’t be separated from nature.
Invisible Film Programme
Sunday, 23 September, 12.00–20.00 / SALT Beyoğlu, Walk-In Cinema
Curated by Alexandra Midal, the Invisible Film Programme presents a curated selection of international contemporary experimental films by designers coming from various fields. Intended for anyone interested in storytelling, design or visual studies, the screenings will explore how film has become a powerful language for designers.
Desis Philosophy Talk 5.5, Conversation
Sunday, 23 September, 15.00-17.00 / Salt Galata, Office of Useful Art
In collaboration with Z33 House for contemporary art, Hasselt (Belgium), the conversation will be moderated by Virginia Tassinari with experts from different backgrounds who will discuss design and its potentialities.
Sotheby’s Talks: Collecting Design, Conversation
Sunday, 26 September, 18.30-20.00 / Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Lodge
Organised in collaboration with Sotheby’s, Laetitia Contat Desfontaines (Sotheby's Deputy Director Head of Sale of the 20th Century Design Department in London) will talk about tips of collecting design whereas engineer, antiques expert and founder of the ANCIEN galleries Ari İstanbulluoğlu will explain reflections of the concept of “design” in Turkey.
Several publications accompany the launch of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. Design as Learning: A School of Schools Reader seeks to expand on the many narratives of the biennial and offers a series of critical reflections on the past and present of design education, with contributions by Danah Abdulla, Corinne Gisel, João Ferreira, Naho Kubota and Nina Paim, among others.
Additionally, the A School of Schools Agenda compiles all the information on the biennial’s participants, project and activities. Furthermore, the design biennial also sees the publication of the children's book written by Yekta Kopan and co-designed by Yekta Kopan and Burcu Ural Kopan with illustrations by Ada Tuncer, and with the support of the Bernard Van Leer Foundation.
Akbank Sanat , Yapı Kredi Culture Centre and Arter are open every day except Monday and Friday between 10.00 and 19.00 . All of these venues are open from 10.00 to 22.00 on Fridays and closed on Mondays.
SALT Galata is open from 10.00 to 20.00 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 10.00 to 18.00 on Sunday. Only the Museum is open on Thursday, 27 September and Thursday, 25 October from 10.00 to 22.00 and closed on Sunday. Pera Museum is open from 10.00 to 19.00 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; from 10.00 to 22.00 on Fridays and from 12.00 to 18.00 on Sunday. The Museum is closed on Monday. Studio-X Istanbul is open from 10.00 to 19.00 every day except Mondays. It is only open on Thursday, 27 September and Thursday, 25 October from 10.00 to 22.00 and closed on Mondays.
Encouraging visitors to take a closer look at the exhibited works and the conceptual framework of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, guided tours are held every day except Mondays throughout the duration of the biennial at Akbank Sanat, Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Pera Museum, Arter, SALT Galata and Studio-X Istanbul.
The guides, trained under the supervision of scholar and museologist Mine Küçük, provide in-depth commentaries on the theoretical framework of the biennial, exhibited works, and specific themes assigned to each venue, and are on hand to answer questions during these hour-long tours.
Turkish guided tours are held every day except Monday at 11.00, 14.00 and 16.00. English guided tours are held every Wednesday at 11.00 (Akbank Sanat), 14.00 (Yapı Kredi Culture Centre), 16.00 (Arter) and every Thursday at 11.00 (Pera Museum), 14.00 (SALT Galata) and 16.00 (Studio-X Istanbul).
Tickets can be purchased via Tulip Card Communication Centre (+90 850 755 02 60), biletix.com ,
Biletix sales points, and the box office of İKSV –with no service fee.
Istanbul Design Biennial Audio Guide
Visitors will be able visit the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial with the new “ Sesli Rehber ” (Audio Guide) application of İKSV, available for free download on Google Play.
Supporters of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial
The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial is organised by İKSV under the sponsorship of VitrA . Biennial’s theme sponsors include Metro Cash&Carry for Digestion School , İstanbul Kültür University for Earth School , Yapı Kredi for Currents School , Panerai for Time School , and Yeditepe University for Scales School .
Biennial workshops are sponsored by Edding . Biennial’s panel and conversations are sponsored by VitrA.
Mavi is the sponsor of the Design Routes to be held within the scope of the biennial. Omnia Paşabahçe collection is the special project sponsor of the biennial. Other contributing corporations and institutions of the biennial are Türk Tuborg A.Ş. , Arçelik, 3Dörtgen, Borusan Holding , Ersa , Fibrobeton Yapı Elemanları San. İnş. Tic. A.Ş., İstanbul Bilgi University, Kartek Technologies, KUKA AG, MEF University, Metal Yapı İnşaat Taahhüt San. Dış Tic. A.Ş., QNB Finansbank , Q-artz, Sotheby’s, Tempo, The Stay Hotels, Türk Ekonomi Bankası (TEB) , and YazıcıLegal .
The biennial is realised in collaboration with the Creative Industries Fund NL , Z33 - House for Contemporary Art , Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, British Council , DutchCulture | Genc Kultur , Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) , Goethe Institut, Spaces of Culture, Flemish Ministry of Culture, Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul, University of Southampton and Camões - Institute for Cooperation and Language of Portugal / Embassy of Portugal in Turkey.
The Leading Sponsor of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts is Eczacıbaşı Group , Official Carrier is DHL , Official Hotel Sponsor The Marmara Collection , Insurance Sponsor is Zurich Turkey , Health Sponsor is Acıbadem Health Group , and Service Sponsors are Navitas , GFK and AGC . The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial also receives support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism , Governership of Istanbul , Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Beyoğlu District Governership, Beşiktaş Municipality and Beyoğlu Municipality .
Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) is a non-profit cultural institution that was founded in 1973. The general objectives of the Foundation are: to make Istanbul one of the world's foremost capitals of culture and the arts; to create continuous interaction between national and universal values, and traditional and contemporary values via culture and the arts; and to contribute actively to the development of cultural policies. With these objectives, İKSV organises the Istanbul Festivals of Music, Film, Theatre and Jazz, as well as the Istanbul Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, autumn film week Filmekimi and other special events. The Foundation hosts cultural and artistic events at Salon located at the Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building. İKSV organises the Pavilion of Turkey at La Biennale di Venezia and coordinates an artist residency programme at Cité International des Arts, France. İKSV also conducts studies and drafts reports with the aim of contributing to cultural policy development.
For more information: http://aschoolofschools.iksv.org/en/