Istanbul Modern hosts three events of the 15th Istanbul Biennial’s Public Programme, coordinated by the artist Zeyno Pekünlü.

Mutual Fate

Closing symposium
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 14.00-18.00
VenueIstanbul Modern Cinema 

Participants: Massimo de Angelis, Ayfer Bartu Candan, Stavros Stavrides

Closing Symposium titled Mutual Fate investigates the disruption of the ecological balance, forests, rivers and olive groves that have been lost, and the shrinking habitats of other beings that coexist with the humankind. Mutual Fate concentrates on issues common both to the urban and rural areas, alongside the transformation of spatial and social relations brought forth by financialization. In a nutshell, it focuses on urban ecology and strives for finding ways out of anthropocentrism.

Massimo de Angelis

Emphasizing that the commons are social systems based on the cooperation of people for the management of their common resources and the reproduction of their livelihoods and their ecology, de Angelis talks about some key challenges the commons face and how they are becoming increasingly important for social change.

Massimo De Angelis: A professor of Political Economy at the University of East London, De Angelis most recently published Omnia Sunt Communia. On the Commons and the transformation to Postcapitalism (London: Zed, 2017).


Ayfer Bartu Candan

"Is It Possible to Imagine New Neighbourly Relations, for Better or for Worse, and a Different City?"

In this talk, Candan touches upon the neighbourly relations that we form or abstain from forming within the context of transformations Istanbul is going through, the relationships we form with the city and the nature, and the borders we draw. The main question Candan discusses in her talk is whether it is possible to imagine different ways of redrawing these borders and of co-inhabiting this city with all kinds of neighbours – good and bad, old and new.

Ayfer Bartu Candan is a lecturer at the Boğaziçi University’s Department of Sociology. Her research interests are anthropological theory, urban studies and political ecology. She edited the book Yeni İstanbul Çalışmaları: Sınırlar, Mücadeleler, Açılımlar (New Istanbul Studies: Borders, Struggles, Openings) with Cenk Özbay.


Stavros Stavrides

“Sharing the City: Communities of Commoning and Emerging Common Spaces”

In practices of collective improvisation and collective inventiveness, common spaces are created where people not only express their needs, but also develop forms of life in common. In everyday life struggles, solidarity becomes a creative force. Common space is both an explicit scope of urban commoning and one of its most important shaping factors. This presentation explores the ways the production of common spaces in contemporary metropolises shapes urban communities of sharing and struggle, communities of sharing through struggles oriented towards possible different urban futures. Examples from Europe and Latin America are offered in an effort to study such practices that treat the city as a collective work in the making.

Stavros Stavrides, architect and activist, is professor of design and architectural theory at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, where he teaches graduate courses on housing design (including social housing), as well as a postgraduate course on the meaning of metropolitan experience. Stavrides has published numerous articles on spatial theory. His most recent book is Common Space. The City as Commons (2016). His research is currently focused on emancipating spatial practices and on experiences and forms of urban commoning.

The event is free of charge. The venue has limited capacity. No reservations.

In English and Turkish with simultaneous translation.

Right to Being a Neighbour

Thursday, October 05, 2017, 18.00-20.00
Venue: Istanbul Modern Cinema 

People have the right to good neighbours, just as they have the right to start a family, to move freely, to own property. The law regulates neighbourliness in its own cold language and has set down the rules for being “a good neighbour” in legal codes. Consequently, people have legal rights and responsibilities to their neighbours, as neighbours. In this country, those who do not fulfill these obligations are sometimes warned from a window, “Look, that's it, I've had enough of this. I'll see you in court!” Sometimes, words aren't enough and people resort to taking a broom and desperately banging on the ceiling, the walls, the floor, wherever the noise is coming from. Sometimes, the building manager is asked to intervene, sometimes the police get called, sometimes these cases end up in court. What then can court records tell us about being a good neighbour?

Participant: Rita Ender

Rita Ender: Born in Istanbul in 1984, Rita Ender graduated from the Saint Joseph French High School in Istanbul in 2003 and from Marmara University's Law School in 2008. Working as a lawyer since January 2010, she has Master’s degrees from Galatasaray University and Panthéon-Assas University (Paris II), and has worked in the field of minority rights. Ender, who has written for a variety of newspapers and magazines since 2001, has published three books: Mümkündür Mucizeler [Miracles Do Happen] (Gözlem Publishing), Kolay Gelsin: Meslekler ve Mekânlar [May the Work be Easy: Professions and Places] (İletişim Publishing), İsmiyle Yaşamak [Living with This Name] (İletişim Publishing). She also made documentary film, Las Ultimas Palavras.

The talk will be held in Turkish.

The event is free of charge. The venue has limited capacity. No reservations.


If I Don’t Have a Neighbour, What Is My Home / My Neighbourhood!
Panel and the launch of Neighbourhoods Dictionary

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
: 15.00-17.30
Launch: 17.30-19.00
Venue: Istanbul Modern Cinema 

As cities are re-built through urban transformation and renewal processes, the notion of “home” changes, destroying the inter-neighbourhood social, cultural, and economic relationships that we would call “neighbourhood culture” as traditional neighbourhood textures disappear. As a social relationship, being a neighbour is a notion we attribute a lot of positive qualities to, now redefined, tested by the spatial transformation and relocation policies.

Those who live under the threat of urban transformation and renewal organize themselves through associations and cooperatives to defend their homes, their neighbours, their neighbourhoods—in other words, the daily life that they know and that they are used to. They are trying to make their voices heard, trying to become a part of the plans and projects that will determine their future. The common statement of 80 neighbourhoods that are gathered under the roof of Neighbourhoods Association: “Don’t touch my home, my neighbour, my neighbourhood!”

Participants: Association of Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods Dictionary: Neighbourhoods that have been seeking their rights legally against urban transformation projects have an extensive vocabulary of words that relate to their situations. Requiring a knack for the disciplines of law, architecture, planning, political sciences, philosophy, this series of concepts are needed to give meaning to the history of the neighbourhoods, their realities and their experiences, serving as a guide to understand the neighbourhoods and the struggles of inhabitants of these neighbourhoods who are fighting against the urban transformation process in Turkey. This extensive and complicated terminology that the neighbourhoods learned under the pressure of transformation and precarity could also be interpreted as a form of semantic violence.

The talk will be held in Turkish.

The event is free of charge. The venue has limited capacity. No reservations.