[-empyre-] In solidarity

Renate Ferro renateferro at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 08:33:05 EST 2011

What an amazing experience Tim and I had on our way to the ISEA UNcontainable show off from Taksim Square. Heading through the square from the center around midday riot police in full armor with water canon awaited demonstrators.  The entire gallery was surrounded by plains clothed guards forming a human chain.  We  were told the gallery was closed. I walked up to a couple of them flashing my ISEA badge and pointing to my watch.  Wow, that ISEA badge had power!  Tim and I were whisked though the police and guards, the heavily locked door was opened and we entered the exhibition space.  

Wish I could remember the wonderful ISEA person at the door who was Turkish, but she explained to me that tomorrow is the first day of school for the children of IStanbul.  However, no new teacher hires have been made and many teachers are unemployed because of the cutbacks.  In solidarity the people were demonstrating against the government layoffs.  

Inside we were delighted to finally see all of the work but special thanks to Mari Velonaki for giving both of us an extraordinary demonstration of her robotic piece, Diamandini.  

Also thanks to those of you who we spoke with us  among the crowds who attended the lounge event tonight. I agree that despite a little inconvenient searching at the Center, Istanbul is a fabulous city and full of people eager to please.  And ISEA has provided a wealth of wonderful people to network and learn from.  Great to see so many old friends from all over the world and to meet new ones. 

More reflections tomorrow.   Renate

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 18, 2011, at 10:25 AM, Tracey M Benson <bytetime at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> We attempted earlier to go to Cumhuriyet Art Gallery is located in
> Taksim Square to be told by plain clothes police all lined up along
> Istikilal Caddessi that the gallery is closed.
> Also - we noticed on all the side streets police assembling with riot
> gear and machine guns so decided against meeting with fellow empyreans
> for drinks.
> I have no idea why there was such a strong police presence - there
> seemed to be lots of guys with maroon and yellow soccer jerseys but I
> couldn't see a protest/demonstration along the street.
> Would be interested to know if any one else has any clues about what
> was happening in Taksim this afternoon.
> For those -empreans meeting at the ISEA lounge, have fun and hope to
> see some of you around Sabanci Center in the next few days.
> Regards
> Tracey .
> On Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 8:47 PM, Lucas Bambozzi <lbambozzi at comum.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I am a lazy lurker and did not follow the whole discussion. But for me it seems that the model of panelism and conferencism adopted by ISEA and other related meetings does match the model of Sabanci Centre and commonly lacks the vibrant life outside there. Sao Paulo, a city where I live would not survive without the hundreds of corporate driven conferences filling up expensive hotels and feeding business tourism. I am not sure to which extend ISEA is able to create a model apart from this.
>> Hope the drinks at Nuru Zya will last enough to refresh some discussions around this topic.
>> BEst
>> L.
>> Lucas Bambozzi
>> mobile: +5511 91892338
>> www.lucasbambozzi.net
>> www.artemov.net
>> On 18 Sep 2011, at 05:24, Joseph Delappe wrote:
>>> Hello all!
>>> Simon, I hope to see you in Istanbul!  I leave tomorrow.
>>> Fascinating exchange here regarding ISEA.  Istanbul has been fascinating.  ISEA a bit problematic for sure, from the security checkpoints to the blocked internet access onsite.  Unbelievable from my perspective - donated spaces or not absurd to hold such a gathering in what is essentially a censored corporate environment - perhaps there might have been a workshop the prior week to develop a hack to share with all attendees to break through the great Sabanci Center firewall?
>>> There have been some great presentations although the physical location of the panels and paper presentations feel a bit more like small classrooms than proper spaces for true exchange - these rooms in the 2nd basement of the Sabanci are not set up for true panel presentations - there is literally no space for all the panelists to sit facing the attendees - as such, in the panels I've attended, and even on the panel I chaired ("If you See Something Say Something"http://isea2011.sabanciuniv.edu/panel/say-something), the cramped space has tended to hinder the exchange and discussion.
>>> I am perhaps less surprised by the security at the buildings having read prior to my visit to Istanbul of bombings as recently at 2010.  Each entry to the Biennial has the same metal detectors as the Sabanci center although not the xray scanners for bags.
>>> I had a very interesting experience at the Istanbul Biennial that I would like to share.  We wandered through both of the exhibitions spaces - impressed by some of the works but immediately struck by the absence of any digital work and scant attention to even video art.  Most astounding though, was that we somehow missed the text statements at the two spaces until finally exiting the larger of the two buildings.  Honestly I was quite shocked upon reading that the theme of the biennial was to address "politics and art"?  Was I missing something?  Yes, there were some politically oriented work for certain - most impressively the display of found objects taken from blown up Palestinian homes, Marth Rosler's classic Vietnam Era montage work, Group Material and 1980's AIDS themed artifacts and a few others.  Mostly however, the show seemed to be full of work that was less than "political".  Am I missing something here?  If this exhibition represents the best of political art fro
>>  m
>>> Latin America and the Middle East we are in deep trouble!
>>> Istanbul has been truly amazing however - a bit challenging to find the venues for the exhibitions - the map in the brochure for ISEA is rather useless to be frank. There is something to be said about distributing events throughout a given city but one of such immense proportions as Istanbul presents to serious challenges to visitors.  Nagoya ISEA provided a different model of centralized spaces just adjacent to the conference spaces.  Certainly more convenient while also creating a sense of a critical mass of events and energy.  This ISEA feels a bit dispersed on many levels.
>>> Lastly, it was a very bad idea to schedule ISEA across two weeks?  There are so many academics from the US in particular who are now two, three weeks into our teaching schedules.  This weekend represents a departure of a huge portion of the attendees to ISEA and the arrival of a second group.  We cannot take two weeks off from our teaching duties to participate in such a conference!  Thus the organizers have essentially chosen to bifurcate ISEA.  Very frustrating as our $500+ conference fee seems a waste for being able to participate in roughly 1/2 of a conference.
>>> All the best and hope everyone coming in this weekend or remaining for the full term of the conference h,
>>> Joseph DeLappe
>>> Professor
>>> Digital Media Studio
>>> Department of Art/224
>>> University of Nevada, Reno
>>> Reno, Nevada 89557
>>> 775-784-6624
>>> delappe at unr.edu
>>> http://www.delappe.net
>>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> Dr Tracey Meziane Benson (aka bytetime)
> Adjunct Postdoctoral Fellow || The Australian National University ||
> School of Music
> Visiting Scholar || The Australian University || School of Cultural Inquiry
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