So, admittedly, we’ve been a bit quiet this week (and it isn’t just the Venice hangover), but, like many of our colleagues and readers, we haven’t really found the words to speak about what’s going on in Turkey. As we’ve mentioned before, Istanbul is one of our favorite cities, with a vibrant art scene (championed by the always-impressive SALT), and home to some of our favorite artists, galleries, curators and critics. It’s tough to watch a city you love struggle, especially when this is a week where the art world – purportedly a space exempt from traditional regulation, where political speech can thrive – well, suffice to say, this art world is otherwise occupied, getting an eyeful of the new architecture at ArtBasel. This is not to say that the art world is apathetic, or privileged beyond having to care, but more that sometimes it’s difficult understanding how best to care (as casual lamentation over canapes may not be truly helping the cause.)
Kaelen Wilson Goldie delivered a superb piece on the dilemma, for those who want to have their bellinis and their progressive politics, too. Departing the spate of DIY performance pieces always flanking the entrance to Biennale events, she considers the extent to which the protests hastily arranged in Venice acted as another such gesture. Two weeks earlier, Wilson Goldie had delved into a similar set of gestures, comprising the fascinating, homegrown opposition to the Istanbul Biennial, which, under curator Fulya Erdemci, is set to investigate issues of public space.
Coming from southeast of Turkey I am used to mass protests, but I have never witnessed one like this before. Thousands of peaceful demonstrators from all kinds of political backgrounds are protesting side by side. Together, we have all faced extreme police violence with tear gas and high-pressure water hoses, which in turn has caused more and more people to come together.
Read the entire piece here.
We would say our heart goes out to Istanbul, but the city already has it, so we are sending our love to all of Turkey in this moment, and to the brave individuals – some of our dearest friends and colleagues among them – who are out in the streets, ensuring their voices are heard.