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Scan Istanbul

location: Istanbul

date: 2003-08-15

In 2002-3 A-Station (Athens Center for Contemporary Art) organized the exhibition Scan Istanbul, Suburbs of a 21st Century Metropolis. The project was supported by the Greek Consulate General in Istanbul.

Scan Istanbul, Suburbs of a 21st Century Metropolis is an interdisciplinary project where young artists, architects, city planners and theoreticians from Istanbul and Athens examine the spatial realities and cultural narratives of the sprawling suburban cityscape of Istanbul. Scan Istanbul, Suburbs of a 21st Century Metropolis project is curated by Despoina Sevasti and Oguz Icsöz and the production manager is Haralambos Galanopoulos.

The 2003 project consisted of two parts, a two week workshop that took place at Karakoy, Istanbul from 16 to 31 August where 31 participants from both countries participated in seminars and discussions and the exhibition with the works they produced in situ, that took place at Turkey Science Centers Foundation in the Istanbul Technical University - Architecture Faculty in Taksim and at Nylon Gallery in Ortakoy, from 1-15 September 2003.
The workshop begun with lectures from an array of Turkish theoreticians & practitioners dealing with the city before the participants broke up into focused research groups, roaming in the suburbs and creating visual and written narratives. After two weeks of intensive collaborative work all material was exhibited in Istanbul, escorted by two public panel discussions and additional exhibitions were planned to take place the future.

This first collaborative approach of the art scenes of Turkey and Greece aimed as well to underline the common ground of contemporary art practices in the South-Eastern European region and create an active web of artists and theoreticians.


Alpha Station-Athens Center for Contemporary Art is an independent contemporary art center in Athens that is working in an interdisciplinary platform between art and social sciences with a particular interest in urban aesthetics and politics. In 2002 A- Station created a workshop and an exhibition named Suburbia, the vast Cityscape of the Athenian Suburbs that dealt with Athens and its complexity. Young artists, architects, theoreticians, urban planners worked together with the curators mainly in group projects that managed to exhibit a contemporary reading of the city, focusing on its underexposed areas. The project was curated by Paulos Lefas and Nikos Kazeros and funded by the Architectural Network of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

The Scan Istanbul project stemmed from and expanded this research process.

Istanbul and Athens are key cities of the Southeastern European region, both of them magnetize a big proportion of internal and foreign immigrants thus creating two different types of 'Megacities'. Furthermore they share a bilateral cultural past and present in between 'Eastern' and 'Western' cultural notions & traditions.

Established in a geopolitical crossroad Istanbul is a melting pot of cultural differentiations and definitions: political, economical, cultural, religious. The 'exotic' imago and heterogeneous readings of Istanbul which existed throughout history still mark its allure. The beat of idiosyncratic post- modernity reverberates in rapid, hybrid urbanization, consumption patterns, social and aesthetic elements. The notion of 'glocal' and the operations of 'orientalist gaze' within the perceptions of the city in the international art scene were critical discursive aspects in the theoretical approach and practical methods of documentation.

Scan Istanbul, Suburbs of a 21st Century Metropolis aimed to understand and bring forward the underexposed periphery of Istanbul through questioning these elements, delving into the chaotic cityscape of Istanbul with its continuous development rooted in differences and conflicts on its way to become a 'global' city.

This first joint approach of the art scenes of Turkey and Greece aimed as well to underline the common ground of contemporary art practices in the Southeastern European region and create an active web of artists and theoreticians. The collaboration of Turkish and Greek creators, with their contingent similarities and differences in their perceptions and readings, intended to enrich the view points of the project. A- Station and the curators of Scan Istanbul, Suburbs of a 21st Century Metropolis project would like to thank warmly everyone that collaborated to make this innovative project real.




+ Ana Dzokic and Marc Neelen
+ Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri
+ atelier d'architecture autogérée (aaa)
+ Asya Filippova
+ Sophie Hope and Sarah Carrington
+ Branca Curcic
+ Christoph Schaefer
+ Campement Urbain
+ Claudia Zanfi
+ Despoina Sevasti and Poka-Yio
+ Erden Kosova
+ Helmut Batista


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