The 5th Istanbul Design Biennial, titled Empathy Revisited: Designs for more than one curated by Mariana Pestana with Sumitra Upham and Billie Muraben, enters its final days, during which it will present five new projects in the city of Istanbul, host a series of digital and public activations and a closing event to be held online on 24 April 2021.
The biennial will conclude with a day-long closing event Not quite a finissage! on 24 April 2021 while opening new works to the public at the same time. Co-hosted with the Design Museum and Het Nieuwe Instituut and in collaboration with calling, the event will present design projects that encourage us to rethink practices of care and civility at this critical moment in time, and to collectively build new systems and structures for reconnecting. The programme will comprise talks, walks, performances and screenings from an international line-up of designers and artists including: Dele Adeyemo, Ibiye Camp and Dámaso Randulfe, Black Athena Collective, Counterspace, Linda Schilling Cuellar, Dansbana!, Sophie Krier & Eric Wong, Aslıhan Demirtaş, FRAUD, Ilana Harris-Babou, Ayşenaz Toker and Merve Tuna, Anna Puigjaner – MAIO in collaboration with Alina Abouelenin, BUREAU, Pelin Tan & Vivien Sansour & Luigi Coppola, Orkan Telhan with elii, theOtherDada, TiriLab, Aslı Uludağ and many more.
Until now, the biennial hosted a series of films encouraging people to become not just a cook but a “critical cook” through its digital programme The Critical Cooking Show; presented various research projects that investigate less visible connections between land and sea, and food sovereignty in the Mediterranean Basin at the Library of Land and Sea; and initiated the Design Biennial Talks: Empathy Revisited podcast series at Spotify and Apple Podcasts to discuss the biennial projects and more with designers and thinkers. As part of the biennial’s New Civic Rituals programme, various interventions that rehearse new kinds of encounters were installed across Istanbul in October 2020. From communal cooking to gardens and playgrounds, these projects have a restorative function, providing experiences of being together, reconnecting, and caring for the city and its multiple, more-than-human inhabitants.
As part of the New Civic Rituals, 4 more projects will open throughout April in the last phase of the biennial and trigger new collaborations and foster conversations in an empathic environment.
Microbial Fruits of Istanbul, Ozgurluk Park. Photo by: Kayhan Kaygusuz
Installed at Ozgurluk Park, Microbial Fruits of Istanbul by Orkan Telhan and elii (a project by IMNA) is a platform that tells the complex histories of Istanbul community gardens (bostans) from the perspective of microorganisms, displaying microbial cultures collected from a variety of gardens in the city of Istanbul, which date back over 1,500 years.
Desiccate With Care by public works with Freddie Wiltshire and Billy Adams at the Fenerbahçe Park Community Garden takes as its starting point the Turkish culinary tradition of giving vegetables a second life by by presenting a family of communal food preservation structures for sun dehydration, burial pickling and cold smoking.
Studio Ossidiana’s Buyukada Songlines is a floating garden inhabited by plants, soil, insects and birds, which will travel across Istanbul’s Prince’s Islands and host people and other animals, events and conversations, becoming a nomadic pavilion populated by the life and the stories of the archipelago.
Hosted by Istanbul Bilgi University - Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Programme, Solar Kitchen by Martí Guixé is a public kitchen that uses alternative energy – the sun – as its power source, forcing us to reconnect with the environment, to deal with the unexpected and ultimately, to be subject to nature.
Another activation is the exhibition of Looking for Stigmergy Episode II by the Looking for Stigmergy Team (Martina Muzi, Chiara Clarke Siravo, Kirsten Spruit, Minji Choi, SUPER NORMAL and Seda Baydur), one of the biennial’s satellite projects and a growing online platform that is ‘fed’ through temporary exhibitions, experiments, conversations, conferences and publications.
Follow the biennial’s website and social media platforms to find out further information about the projects, as well as the detailed programme of the closing event.
The Istanbul Design Biennial is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) sponsored by VitrA and supported by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and 'higher contributing corporation' Borsa Istanbul.