One of the highlights of the lockdown period was talking to Deniz Ova, director of the Istanbul Design Biennial, Jan Boelen and Nadine Botha, alongside whom I curated the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, in 2018. We revisited some of the themes of the biennial and their resonance in the present moment, in a conversation that was recorded for the biennial’s podcast series “Design Biennial Revisited”. You can listen to the episode here, and follow the series for more conversations. Thank you to the IKSV/IDB team!
Design as Learning: A School of Schools Reader, designed by Offshore Studio and published by Valiz. Image by Offshore Studio.
On the occasion of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, I edited the accompanying publication, Design as Learning: A School of Schools Reader. The volume was beautifully designed by Zurich-based Offshore Studio (as was the striking visual identity of the whole biennial, explored hereÂ in detail) and is published jointly by IKSV and Valiz.Â The 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, Jan Boelen, Nadine Botha, Corinne Gisel, JoÃ£o Ferreira, Naho Kubota, Nina Paim and myself. Additionally, the book features interviews with Zeynep Celik Alexander, Claudia Mareis, Peter Land and Nelly Ben Hayoun, contextualizing issues on the past and present states of design education. And finally, a series of conversations with participants in the biennial looks at ways to approach design education today. Interviewees includeÂ Ã…bÃ¤ke, FABB (Burcu BiÃ§er Saner, Efe GÃ¶zen), Navine G. Kahn-Dossos, Ebru Kurbak, Mae-ling Lokko, Studio Folder, SulSolSal (Hannes BernardÂ and Guido Giglio), and Pinar YoldaÅŸ. Below the back cover blurb:
Why do design? What is design for? These are forward-looking questions for a creative discipline that seems more slippery to define than ever. In a world of dwindling natural resources, exhausted social and political systems, and an overload of information there are many urgent reasons to reimagine the design discipline, and there is a growing need to look at design education. Learning and unlearning should become part of an on-going educational practice. We need new proposals for how to organise society, how to structure our governments, how to live with, not against, the planet, how to sift fact from fiction, how to relate to each other, and frankly, how to simply survive.
The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, and this publicationÂ Design as LearningÂ ask: can design and design education provide these critical ideas and strategies?
Can AltayÂ presenting at the Spaces of Exception roundtables during the opening weekend of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools.
I was thrilled to be able to curate theÂ public program of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, as part of my role as a member of the biennial’s curatorial team. As a crucial part of our understanding of the “expanded” character we wanted to give the biennial, the public program was an active and intense part of the biennial’s effort, testing a variety of formats and experimenting with elements of duration, complexity and materialization. Taking place across the six venues of the biennial, the public program was also a way to involve a large local audience and bring several international practitioners to Istanbul, including some international schools who became temporary residents of the exhibition spaces, adding to the show and creating new work while there.Â In this way, the public programÂ sought to expand and amplify the discussions started by A School of Schools.
Performance by Vivien Tauchmann during the press conference of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools. PhotoÂ Ilgin Erarslan Yanmaz.
The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, has officially opened its doors to the public. The Orientation Days on 20 and 21 September â€“ open to professionals and other accredited visitors â€“ kicked-off an intense series of events and formats, complementing the main biennial exhibition, which extended over six venues in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. From 22 September to 4 November, A School of SchoolsÂ will be free and open to the public.
The biennial brings together projects fromÂ more than 100 interdisciplinary practitioners from across the globe.Â Six of the cityâ€™s most iconic cultural institutions in the BeyoÄŸlu districtâ€”Akbank Sanat, YapÄ± Kredi Culture Centre, Arter, Pera Museum, SALT Galata, Studio-X Istanbulâ€”will transform into “schools” where new ideas in relation to expanded notions of design and its role in contemporary culture are explored.
Overview of ALCOVA just before the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial presentation
The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, was present during Milan Design Week with a public presentation that took place at ALCOVA, amidst the School of Time installation by Z33. The director of the Istanbul Design Biennial, Deniz Ova, introduced the ambitions for the event, and the curatorial team â€“ Jan Boelen, Nadine Botha and myself â€“ anticipated some details of the biennial, which will open next 22 September in Istanbul.Â Additionally, we also announced a collaboration with Z33, who will bring School of Time to Istanbul as part of the biennial. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Istanbul in the Fall!