Era of Colorful Steps

Written by Lousia Döderlein on . Posted in çapuling

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  • before-after
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  • The steps after they were re-re-painted
  • Before (colored) and after (grey) the repainting of the municipality
  • Spontaneously locals all over Istanbul decided to paint their steps colorful as well
  • The rainbow steps became quickly a symbol for civil participation of designing public space and spread through social media via twitter, facebook events, instagram and tumblr by #direnmerdiven (resitance stairs) and #gökkuşağ (rainbow) Istanbul

Hüseyin Çetinel, a retired engineer from Istanbul, decided in August to color the grey steps in the Fıkdıklı-Cihangir neighbourhood and painted the nearly 200 stairs with his assistant, Volkan Tecimeroğlu in colours of the rainbow “to put a smile on people’s faces”.

But what he didn´t know was, what kind of attention his action would call.

After a few days, the municipality found out about the colourful brightning up of the stairs and over painted them grey, because they feared the action would be a solidarity action to the gezi-protests or understood as a symbol of the homosexual movement.

Prompt a clamour of outrage went trought the social media. Many event pages on Facebook invent people to paint stairs together, as people write on tumblr about the phenomenon and tweets like #direnmerdiven (resitance stairs), #gökkuşağı (rainbow) or #Istanbul, #Rainbow were tweeted through the www.

Also Locals reacted strongly after the municipality workers painted the “rainbow” steps grey. Misbah Demircan justified his reaction as follows on Hurriyet Daily News: “One of our citizens took a decision and offered Beyoğlu such a beautiful project. However, he made a methodological mistake. Not only did he not apply to the municipality, but he did not inform the other residents in the neighborhood”, adding that this had led to complaints.

As the mayor recognized what flame war he triggerd through his action by repainting the stairs grey, Demircan decided to rerepaint to stairs colourful again.

“The era of colorful steps will start in Beyoğlu”, commented the mayor of Beyoğlu municipality Ahmet Misbah Demircan via Twitter on Aug. 30.

The rainbow steps of Beyoglu can be seen as a sign of civil disobedience or understood as a capuling-act as well as it reminds the people of the authoritarian politic during the Gezi-protests.


Update (28/07/2015)


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The Cihangir stairs were re-painted colorfully after the grey-washing by the municipality in 2013. They remained tinted in rainbow colors until 27th of July in 2015. By then, bulldozers of the municipality destroyed the stairs – according to the resident’s wish of rebuilding them.

“We met with Beyoğlu Municipality as residents of Salıpazarı and said these stairs needed to be repaired. We have been negotiating this for the past year. The municipality accepted our request and promised to reconstruct,” initiator Hüseyin Çetinel said. According to him the stairs’ demolishing is part of wider infrastructures work. “The stairs will then be rebuilt. Nobody should worry, the stairs will be painted again and be even more beautiful than they used to be,” Çetinel said.


Turning Gas Masks into Art

Written by Theresa Wiedemann on . Posted in Events


A gas mask is a gadget often underestimated in many countries. If there are no grave occasions it is not necessary to possess one. In Istanbul – after the Gezi Park Protests 2013 – a gas mask can be a very useful item – a fact that inspired artists Ruben Aubrecht and Maria Anwander to turn gas masks into art. The results of this idea developed during their stay at the Bosporus in 2014, granted by the Senate Chancellery for Cultural Affairs of Berlin, can be seen at Galerie allerArt in Bludenz, Austria at the moment.

Guerilla Photo Exhibition

Written by Thomas Büsch on . Posted in çapuling



Over the next few days, Istanbul residents will find themselves randomly coming across photographs taken during last year’s Gezi Park protests: On the façade of abandoned houses, on the walls of ATMs, and even at the top of street signs.
Some 25 photographs, each printed 20 times, will be hung around the Taksim area until May 26 as part of the project. Around 100 photographs will be hung every day, but it remains unknown exactly when, where, and for how long they will stay up.

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