Guerilla Knitting in Istanbul

Written by Lousia Döderlein on . Posted in Place Hacking

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  • In-knitted tree in the Gezi Park in march 2013
  • A peaceful sign of the group "Örgü-T" during the Gezi-protests
  • The bull was dedicated to the victims of the earthquakes in Van

Maybe you have heared about guerilla art in urban areas. „Guerilla …“, is spanish for „little war“.
„Guerilla actions“ are ways of protesting, which is frequently about retaking and reconquer urban spaces in framework of anti-capitaslism and a artistic form of expressing political messages. This street art movement can also be seemed as civil disobedience.

„Guerilla knitting“, also called „yarn bombing“ is an urban art form, where people change public spaces by knitting in public objects. The knitting can be just because of brightning up urban areas or it can also contain a political message (often feministic ones).

Once a group of people under the name “Örgü-T” heard that the trees in Gezi Park at Taksim square were going to be cut down, they knew how to express their anger about the government plans in a peaceful, creative way, which attracts attention on the trees.

Örgü-T gathered more than 8 m² of knittings, prepared to cover a tree during a picnic protest in Gezi Park on 25th of March with their wool. After 3 hours of work, the tree was had a warm, cozy casing.

An other knitting action of Örgü-T was based on the plan of the government to ban abortion. On their website Örgü-T wrote: “I knew our knittings would be a suitable medium to bring out the message”.

Art and debate: the Gezi phenomena

Written by Wu Ming on . Posted in çapuling

  • Auto
  • Bibergaz
  • ückedi
  • Pinguin
  • The Pinguin got the symbol for the clumsy attempt of the mainstream media to ignore the uprisings
  • The gasmask got an icon for the sacrifically courage of the activists resisting in spite of massive gassing
  • "At least three cats" is ridiculing Erdoğans claim, every Turkish family should have at least three children
  • CNN Türk was showing a documentary about Pinguing during Erdoğans first hate speach

First published in Today’s Zaman by Rumeysa Kiger, Istanbul, 25 June 2013


The Gezi protests, which have shaken Turkey for the past three weeks, have stirred up controversy in İstanbul art circles over the question of how these events will be reflected in the city’s numerous art galleries.

Some artists argue that it is inevitable that such major events will be reflected in the artwork created following them, while others are worried that the commercial art market will seek to exploit the issue and suggest that this should be discouraged from the very beginning.

Contemporary artist Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, who focuses on issues such as identity, memory and otherness in her work, says that these past few weeks have transformed every aspect of the protesters’ lives in addition to everyone’s way of seeing and experiencing the public sphere, both individually and socially.

Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, One Step Foreward, One Thousand Steps Back, 2012.

“The strength of the whole process has let creativity come to such a great level that it has crossed the borders of all means of artistic production and has become ‘art’ itself. Obviously this will have effects, and it will influence many, many artists’ ways of creating their art. This will have varying results based on their own experiences,” she said.

“After witnessing the strength of the whole resistance, I think it is necessary to question the role of art, one’s own way of seeing and approaching art production and how an artist should position himself or herself after such a life experience. I suppose from now on, this issue will be open to criticism, which I think is a natural process — to question things and the whole system of art. However, on the other hand, there is also the fact that many artists’ work, research and preferred subjects were based on social, cultural and political issues long before this movement,” Büyüktaşçıyan noted, adding that during the days of the protests, many artists saw things in real life that they had previously only researched and thought about.

In Situ by Hera Büyüktaşçıyan at PiST


Video artist Zeyno Pekünlü, who focuses on matters such as nationality, citizenship, manhood and womanhood in her work, says she has always believed there is a difference between using politics as subject matter in one’s art and one’s art being influenced by one’s own political stance.

sus kimseler duymasın4
Don’t let anyone hear! by Zeyno Pekünlü – B&W video, 2’10’’, 2012


“During the Gezi Park resistance, for many people the distance they had from active politics evaporated very quickly. The days of resistance were days that were faster, more surprising and fascinating than art. I believe the important thing now is to ask if it is possible to ask a new question, bring a new suggestion, create a new debate or contribute with a new critical ground to these ‘weird’ days through art, rather than asking where or how the artworks related to the Gezi resistance should be showcased,” she stressed.


… read the whole article on Art news from Istanbul by Rumeysa Kiger

Erdogan’s Islambul

Written by Wu Ming on . Posted in çapuling

Turkish Prime Minister became a motif for ‘Capuling-Caricatures’…


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  • democrat or sultan_economist

  • Erdoğan Monster

  • girgir

  • the dictator

  • If there is no bred, they should eat biber gas.
  • They tell me, you are so harsh, change. Tayyip Erdogan does not change, he transfooooorms!
  • It smells like stinking liberty!

During the last few years, the PM and the ruling AKP have often been accused of enforcing a ‘creeping Islamization’ or even ‘Iranization’ of Turkey. Although in the beginning of their reign the party rather conveyed a secular image of its policy objectives, within the last years it has increasingly become clear that Erdoğan is planning a huge Muslim Disney Land.

Big hotel complexes are being built at the expense of the century-old historical architecture in Istanbul. Alcohol was banned after 10 p.m., instead people shall drink an Ayran according to the Turkish Prime Minister, and compliance with freedom of speech is obviously not at all open to debate.

However, people are obviously tired of living Erdoğan’s restricted play of society. What began as a huge economic success almost all across the country, has turned into a much discussed, inappropriate land and urban planning. The AKP-governance seems to have lost track of their liberalization-plans, but steered onto the course of fascisms and lobbyism by profit-driven industries and the vision of a self-made Islambul in memory of the great Erdoğan.

Thus the planned reconstruction of the Gezi Park and the AKM, was just the tip of the iceberg. Social distrust and calls for democracy have become loud. And while the Prime Minister acts like a dictatorial gladiator, the demonstrating crowd resists: not in the name of parties, authorities or political claims, but solely by spreading its blatant humor.

Demands of Gezi Park Protestors

During a press conference with 12 journalists and public representatives, among them five representatives of the Gezi-movement, they made five demands on behalf of the demonstrating people, which are:

1 – Gas bombs are chemical weapons! Gas bombs must be banned!

2 – All sick and wrongly arrested prisoners must be released! And those who resisted should not be prosecuted!

3 – Taksim belongs to the people! All the people forbidden places should be opened!

4 – Stop the gentrification!

5 – The governors and police officers, who gave the orders to attack the people must be held accountable!

Except for these very reasonable demands, the whole movement is based on its humor and as a consequence, its solidarity from all walks of life. Hundreds of  illustrations and artworks function as the main weapon in the resistance against the ruling party and Erdoğan’s undemocratic measures. By spreading their messages via social media, the Capulcus accomplished to be heard and supported all across the country.


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  • This people does not give in!

Dynamic of the Ilustrations

Besides the by now well-known typical symbols of the movement (standing man, lady in red, penguin, gas festival), Erdoğan has become one of the most popular motives being poked fun at. Ironically, the Premier Minister functions as a perfect inspiration for artists and creative minds, since he acts not only slightly imperious and boastful, but seems to have lost any touch with reality since the beginning of the peaceful protests.

Not only the excessive use of chemical weapons against the people by “his” (he himself said so) police, but also Erdoğan’s rejections to negotiate with such “looters” (Capulcus) and his unwillingness to listen to anybody but himself, seem absolutely despotic: The perfect target for cartoonists, illustrators, photographers and journalists.


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  • Erdoğan Toma

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  • common word_jobs

  • Halk Polis Medya Tayıp

  • people / police / media / Tayip

Technically, it seems absurd, that a democratically voted party could seriously block the Internet excess. As soon as we remember that the AKP has banned YouTube between March 2007 and October 2010, that all media is subject to excessive censorship and that right now hundreds of inventive illustrations are being spread, that Erdoğan might probably not appreciate, it does not seem too trivial. When authorities investigated on who to hold responsible for such artworks, Facebook and Twitter luckily refused cooperation. So hopefully the demonstrators and supporters keep giving virtual reality checks, in order to prevent Erdoğan’s constructions of an Istanbul a la Dubai.


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