March 6, 2023All Posts / Events / Seen Beyond / Topics / VoicesNawar Bulbul is an actor and theater director living in Aix-en-Provence (France). He was born in 1973 in Homs, Syria. Nawar’s father was a communist creating theater performances for the working people. His mother, a deep believer and religious person (1). Nawar’s vision was strongly influenced by his father’s work, and was one of the reasons why he decided to commit himself to the theater. A passion that brought him to enter the Dramatic Arts Institute of Damascus, where he graduated in 1998.  Lately, touched by the authoritarian government of Bashar Al-Assad and the political instability of the country, Nawar started to engage in the anti-regime demonstrations that were taking place in 2011. His critical vision and desire for freedom were too dangerous for staying in Syria. For this reason, he decided to quit his country to throw off his chains and develop his artistic career without threat.  Nawar Bulbul in his play Égalité (202 1) “My limit is the sky” “There is some kind of nostalgia”, Nawar says. When he remembers his years in Syria and reflects about his current situation in France, Nawar affirms that he can’t forget his friends and family there. He points out that he graduated there, and had lots of memories which he had to leave. “Suddenly, you have to leave everything. Every memory there”.  However, Nawar considers himself a French man now. “I’m free”, he says, and he notes that in France, he can do what he wants with his work. “Here, my limit is the sky. Nobody can say what we can’t do”, he states. But Nawar also mentions the censorship that still remains inside his head: something abstract that stops him from being completely free. He describes it as something like police, religion and dictatorship. Something implanted in his head which he tries to kill. “This is my battle”, he states.  Nawar says that theater is like medicine. He feels so passionate about it and doesn’t feel like working. “When I’m doing theater, I feel in vacation”. Of course, he needs to make a living and bring money for his family. But he affirms that it doesn’t feel like a job for him. He is so happy on the stage and everywhere in the theater, that he doesn’t get tired. “This is my motivation, my happiness. This is my life”.  Nawar Bulbul developing Shakespeare in Zaatari (2014) with Syrian refugees Nawar Bulbul has a big CV: he has worked as an actor and director in several films, tv shows and theater plays since 1998, where he debuted as a professional with the Dramatic Art Institute of Damascus. His work has also been published in several journals and recognised media, such as Arte, The Guardian, Le Monde and even The New York Times.  The most recent theater plays of the Syrian director that have received press coverage are Shakespeare in Zaatari (2014), a play with children set in the Syrian refugee camp “Zaatari”; Romeo and Juliet: between siege and refuge (2015), a work done with children separated by war (from Jordan and Syria) which were reunited via Skype for their final performance; and Love Boat (2016) a tragicomedy with adult Syrian refugees touched by war and living in Jordan.  Nawar Bulbul’s Love Boat (2016) Nawar affirms that “the three biggest taboos in the Arab society are: religion, sex and politics”. He has been trying to fight against these taboos through his works, and that’s one of the reasons why he feels good in France. “In Europe, when they separated the Church form the State, they started to see the future”. Nawar talks about the corruption and the control of Arab governments, and affirms that they are doing this to control the people.  The great thing about theater, Nawar says, is its authenticity. The fact that you can do, modify and perform whatever you want. “You’re with me and I’m with you. This is the life”. The difference with other media and arts is that you don’t have to follow a paper and repeat it. “Can I change? No, no, no. This is my text. This is my Bible”, a cinema or tv director would say. In the theater, instead, you have plenty of “shining moments”.  “The culture is food for humanity” After more than 25 years dedicating his life to theater, Nawar Bulbul stays motivated, passionate and optimistic. If he had to go back in time and choose a profession, he would select theater again. “Of course, one more time. And second, and third, and fourth time”. Even if he is working alone most of the time, he receives the visits of some French friends that come to his house to watch his rehearsals, give advice and ideas.  For Nawar, theater is something that feeds your soul. “The culture is food for humanity”. And he states that he’s doing theater not only for Syrians, but for all the people. At the end of the interview, I asked him about his biggest dream. “My hope is to be able to come back to Syria”, that the government of Bashar Al-Assad finally falls, and he can find the peace in his country.    Vulin, V. (2016). Nawar Bulbul : un artiste syrien sur les sentiers de la liberté. Cairn.Info. Available at: [...]
February 16, 2023Place Hacking / Places / Seen Beyond / Topics / Voices  Raphael Vella is an artist, curator and teacher based in Malta. He did a Bachelor’s in Education (1991) and a Master’s in Arts (1997) at the University of Malta and concluded a PhD in Fine Arts at the University of London in 2006. Since 2009, Vella has been curating exhibitions and creating diverse cultural initiatives such as the Valletta International Visual Arts festival (VIVA). From 2000, he has enjoyed several artist residencies around the world, and his artworks have been exhibited in many international contexts. Currently, he is also an Associate Professor at the University of Malta and has worked extensively to promote the work of emerging Maltese artists (1). Raphael Vella participated in the Mahalla Festival – Murmuration– 2021 in Istanbul with the installation and the stop motion animation Antibody. His new work News from Nowhere was on display in Japan 2022 and will be on display in Malta at Valletta Contemporary this year, curated by Maren Richter.   INTERVIEW with Raphael Vella By Maëla Sanmartín Did you always want to be an artist?  I think so. When I was a kid, both of my parents were teachers, so there were lots of books at home. Neither of them was an artist or had any kind of inclination towards art, so it didn’t really come from them. But I remember the house was full of books and paper. And I would make lots of drawings on these, any piece of paper I found around the house. In the beginning they thought I was just scribbling. But then they realized it was more than that, because it was an obsession. They started sending me to lessons, and that’s how it started.   Would you say that art is political?  I think it’s important that art has to be political. In my case, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between art and politics. Also, the more I matured, the more I understood how important it is to think about the relationship between art and life. I never liked the idea that art is simply a case of letting your imagination run loose. Of course, I like creative ideas in art, and I tell my students it’s really important to be creative. But I’ve always thought as well that it’s important to ground that creativity in real life and social issues.  You’ve worked with diverse topics like migrations, gender, medicine, history… Which one would you say is the topic that touches you the most?  I’m interested very much in the relationship between medical, political and educational practices. In a sense, all those different disciplines try to improve our lives. And my question is: can we actually do anything to generate a change? And do artists need to be given this kind of extra responsibility? Are artists like teachers, or are they expected to be like doctors? If you go to a doctor because you’re sick, you expect to get better. Do you go to an artist for the same reason? This is a question I like to ask myself all the time, and it’s at the bottom of what makes me move forward as an artist. Thinking about the relationship between art and healing.    Raphael Vella. Medical School, 2012.   You have a quote on your website: “no matter how much we attempt to destroy or forget our past, it returns to haunt us”. What relationship do you have with the past? How does it influence your art?  All art or literature is a kind of reaction to what has already come before us. So you can’t really ignore the past or erase it. In my work, I have sometimes tried to use processes of erasure. For example, using pages from books and crossing them out. When doing this, the text is still there, it’s still visible. Even if it’s not as legible as it was before. And this is a way to show that no matter how much you try to forget your past, your past is still going to haunt you and it’s still going to be there, all the time.  What are your sources of inspiration?  Current events sometimes inspire me. But also the future, the unknown. And the fact that the future is a bit shaky, a bit scary, because you’re never sure what’s going to happen. Now, with so many issues related to climate change and so on, the future doesn’t look great for future generations. And that is something which I think about quite often. I also usually think about any situation in which we communicate with others, what I call dialogic situations. Situations which make me create some kind of dialogue with other people, or assemblies of people coming together to try in some way to improve their lives.    Raphael Vella. Antibody, Installation and Stop Motion Animation in Istanbul 2021   Do you believe in something like a revolution, with art involved?  The easy answer to that question is no. Nobody’s going to expect art to create some kind of political revolution that will change the world, in the same way that the French Revolution changed Europe, for example. So, the answer is no. But I do believe that art and other aspects of art, for example in educational settings (not only with children, but also with adults) can be part of a slower process. However, very often it’s so invisible. But just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.   Which one do you prefer: teaching or doing art?  That’s a difficult question. Well, I think in my heart I prefer art. You know, I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, and I think I’ve given students enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching, but it’s something you must do in a way for a living. If I would have tried to survive only through my art, I would have probably died of hunger ages ago (he laughs).   What do you think is the power of teaching and the power of art?  The power of art is, I think, the power of empathy. Connecting with people you don’t even know. The power of teaching is the ability to connect with people you do know. And this is a beautiful process which grows over time.  Does art have a meaning for you?  Yes. I mean, for me that question is the same thing as if you were asking me “does life have a meaning for you“?   Raphael Vella. News from Nowhere, Stop Motion Animation 2022   Is your future predictable or unpredictable?  I don’t know if I’m going to be alive in three years, so I don’t plan it too much, you know? But to some extent, I’m kind of in control of my future. I tend to plan projects one or two years ahead. But not much longer than that, because then it becomes too far in the future. And then, in your daily life I get these moments of unpredictability. For example, getting invitations, being part of exhibitions or projects. So I never know, perhaps next week I will get an invitation to be part of a project, and it happens. So yeah, to some extent I can say my future is predictable. Luckily, it’s also unpredictable, because even when you’re doing your own art, you’re never a hundred percent sure what’s going to happen.  We did an interview with Aaron Bezzina on InEnArt, who is also an artist living in Malta. I wonder if you, artists in Malta, are in contact or create cooperation networks.  Aaron was my student, for like a year or so. And I know him from other things, because I curated two or three exhibitions in which he was involved. At that time, he was an emerging artist. Now he’s more established. But your question is perhaps more important than you can imagine, because here in Malta (despite our small size) there is not much collaboration, unfortunately. Around 18/19 years ago, I coordinated a group of contemporary artists. There were around 10 of us, but it lasted perhaps three years, not more. It was difficult to survive for longer. So it’s not easy to collaborate, but I don’t feel guilty about not having offered a hand.  What can you tell us about your latest work, News from Nowhere?  It’s called News from Nowhere because it was inspired by a novel written by the socialist William Morris in 1890. He really had this kind of utopian belief that art can change society, and he believed it could change society through work. If all work could become like a form of art, then you would enjoy going to work. He was very much inspired by Marx’s ideas, and he wrote this novel where the main character basically wakes up in the morning and finds himself in a completely unknown world in the future. And this world has been transformed into a kind of communist paradise where everyone loves going to work and he’s walking around the streets. But he totally doesn’t recognize the place or the people, because everyone seems happy.  So what I did in my animation is that I took the basic structure of the novel, but then turned it completely upside down. It’s only a five-minute animation (but it has about a thousand frames) where you get someone waking up, going out and finding a completely transformed world. But it’s a world on fire. The whole place is literally on fire, and there are explosions everywhere. Later, the man just returns home completely shocked. He looks at a plant, waters it and that’s the end of the animation. So, even if the world around us is changing (maybe for the worse) there is still hope and the possibility of dreaming of change.  Raphael Vella (n.d.). Available at: [...]
February 16, 2023All Posts / Events / Place Hacking / TopicsThomas Geiger studied Fine Arts in Karlsruhe and Interdisciplinary Art in Tallinn, Estonia and is now settled in Vienna as a performance, sculpture and language artist with a focus on public space. He is currently in Istanbul for a 3-month stay as part of the International Residency Program of the Austrian Cultural Ministry accompanied by the Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul and Diyalog. Co-financed by the Goethe-Institut, he was invited to the “Arter” Museum, one of the most renowned art houses in Istanbul, to present his performance “The Pigeon“, adapted to Turkish public space. However, under the current conditions, triggered by the terrible earthquake in southern Turkey, Kurdistan and northern Syria, the performance has been cancelled until further notice. Geiger plans to realise the performance in another house or place in a respectful way towards the earthquake. In his performance “Le Pigeon” (The Pigeon), first realised in Paris, Thomas Geiger shifts the perspective of the recipient and focuses on the omnipresent pigeon in public space. In doing so, he gives a voice to the expert for this space, as Geiger calls the pigeon, in order to draw attention to its living space, which is threatened by privatisation. In the continuing version in Istanbul the pigeon is to remain the protagonist as a recurring character, sharply criticising and questioning the advancing privatisation, which is often only distinguished from private space by only fences or walls. In this way, he places objects of everyday life and daily perception in a slightly shifted context and encourages the recipient to rethink the prevailing structures. In his new project “Istanbul Simit Exchange”, Thomas Geiger plans to buy a vendor’s daily supply of simits and offer them to pedestrians for free. In return, he invites them to draw their own simit on a sheet of paper as a value compensation. As is well known, the steadily decreasing purchasing power of the Turkish lira can be illustrated by the price of simits and underlines the ever-shrinking, affluent middle class and ever-increasing poverty in Turkey. The basic idea of the project is to take up and critically question the issue of value representation and the payment for creative work. So you don’t pay for your simit with money, but with a small, creative, self-produced piece of work. These creative imitations of the simits will then be sold in Vienna as components of his project “I want to become a millionaire”, which has been running since 2010. The performance was canceled because of the earthquake that took place Feb 6 in Turkey and Syria. Instead the artist will prepare a video of the performance which will be screened later on. Watch out for further notification. [...]
February 12, 2023All Posts / Events / Seen Beyond / Topics  Şerif Kino titled his latest exhibition “The return of Rosinante” (Rosinante’nin dönüşü). One of the strongest works shows the fall of the knight and his horse into a reddish, fantastic landscape, which appears clouded by animal figures. Disproportionate and shadowy, a bull and the hindquarters of a zebra peer out of the mist. A parrot and fish appear to be heading west, a rooster is bisected by the end of the canvas. The mishaps of horse and rider are completely ignored by the mythical animal figures. Their failure is either irrelevant or ubiquitous, like the ongoing destruction of nature by an anthropocene turning itself into a black hole. “I had bad timing,” stressed Şerif Kino during the opening of the exhibition on February 10. Due to the earthquake disaster that hit south-east Turkey and Northern Syria, it had already been postponed by a few days. Kiziltepe, where Kino lives, wasn’t too badly affected, but it is surrounded by the areas hit by the disaster. It needs to be noted that the themes actually correspond with the present catastrophe. A natural disaster occurs as the zero point of existence. While the trappings waver in old dilemmas. Efforts and good intentions are corrupted by greed and corruption. Collapsing new buildings bury thousands of people under their own belongings, which are exposed in the cracked concrete. Before setting out on his adventures, Don Quixote decides that as a knight-errant, he must choose and name a horse. He deliberates about the name for four days before settling on Rosinante for the old and rather sickly horse. Don Quixote picks a name that means “ranked before all other horses,” which shows Don Quixote believes this horse to be capable of great adventures. As much as Şerif Kino does. Since 30 years the Şerif Kino analysis the metaphorical universe of the literature classic “Don Quixote”. His tenacity is almost like that of the hero he has chosen as his lifelong inspiration. He used sculpuring but mostly painting in different styles, mixing concrete and abstraction in an anachronism. In particular, his images in this exhibition move from figuration to dreamlike transitions of color and form, blurring into a very contemporary abstraction from reality to internalize the recurring theme of loss and failure of the image of the still never-giving-up hero. The main figures are rarely looking alike. They often are contextualizable by the eye of the viewer. The motive of master and servant, horse and donkey are universal, the earthy tones transferable. When reflecting the fate of the area where Şerif Kino lives, different contexts come to mind. In one painting, the knight and Sancho Panza walk in front of their mount. The visualizations are reminiscent of the unfortunate young people who left the village of Roboski for Iraq in 2011 to be shot there by the Turkish military as alleged PKK military units. But that depends on the knowledge and interpretation of the viewer. Born in 1967 in Kiziltepe, Mardin, Şerif Kino started his Art-Carreer in Istanbul after graduating from the Art Faculty at Marmara University.  He attended as a young artist to a group show in the Press museum in Çemberlitaş. The second exhibition was opened in the Marmara Museum at Taksim sqare in 1992. In the war-torn 90’s the cities were under emergency law. Turkish military was fighting PKK units. Locals “disappeared,” Hezbollah, a Kurdish Islamist movement, murdered people they saw as connected to the Kurdish political movement.  Admired figures like the writer Musa Anter were assasinated. Counter-Terrorism was a strategy of the Deep State. Don Quixot as a motive was very meaningful then and kept being for Şerif Kino. He moved back to Kızıltepe years ago when the Emergency Law was lifted under the rule of the Islamic Conservative movement. A peace process started and failed. The country is still longing for heroes that are ultimately sentenced to failure somehow. Not only in Turkey but globally it seems to me. As these lines are what I see in the return of the motives of these works. “The Return of Rosinante” is the 21st solo exhibition of the painter Şerif Kino in his 30-year art career.  ZibaArt Gallery, 10. – 28.02.2023. Curated by Fehim Güler and Şerif Yaşar. [...]
November 23, 2022Events / Topics / VoicesUkrainians sheltered underground in the relative safety of the subway stations when Russian bombs fell on Kyiv and Kharkiv. Photos from those shelters are exhibited in three stations in Berlin, organised by journalistic NGO ‘n-ost’. The exhibition “Next Station: Ukraine” is placed at 3 metro stations in Berlin subway. The images are made by Ukrainian and international photographers Maxim Dondyuk (🇺🇦), Pavel Dorogoy (🇺🇦), Serhii Korovayny (🇺🇦), Jędrzej Nowicki (🇵🇱) and Emile Ducke (🇩🇪). (11.-24.11.22) We spoke with Anastasia Anisimova, who co-organised the project with Stefan Günther. How did the idea for the exhibition come up and how did you choose the Photographers? The idea to put images from Ukraine in a public space came first from my colleague Stefan Günter. He initiated an unofficial exhibition on the 9th of May with images of destroyed Ukrainian houses near the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park in Berlin. It was a symbolic and powerful gesture because many people came there on this day and could see it, including those Russians in Berlin who supported Putin. Since then we have started thinking together about how to do similar actions officially. The decision about the subway as a platform came first because the audience is huge and billboards are perfect for powerful documentary photography. Then we started brainstorming images. The first thought was to make a subway exhibition for the anniversary of Euromaidan with images from 2013 to show Berliners the dignity and power of the Ukrainian revolution. But after consultations with Ukrainian colleagues and the new escalation of the war, we decided it is not the right timing for it. Then we started thinking about the subway images. We have a Ukrainian colleague Alyona Vyshnytska. She is based in Kyiv and is sheltering in the subway during Russian attacks. One day she wrote the message describing her sheltering underground, without enough water supplies, electricity, and internet connection. It was a turning point to decide on images and captions. Initially, we thought of writing some statistics about the war in the photo captions but then decided to better describe life in the subway. The caption like “Instead of announcing train delays, the speaker system can tell the inhabitants that food arrived” should create an immersive experience for the audience seeing it in the Berlin subway. About Photographers. For us, it was important to include Ukrainian photographers. We also make some criteria for the images: no graphic violence, pictures should be obvious and easy to understand for a broad audience and images together should be diverse. We try to maintain balance, not use too many pictures of kids and old people, and include images of musicians playing underground claiming not only challenges but also the power and spirit of Ukrainians. How is the atmosphere in Berlin regarding the Ukraine war? How do you want to influence the viewers with the exhibition? We don’t use the phrase “Ukraine war”, “Russian full-scale invasion” describes better what’s happening now. We all live in our bubbles, and it is hard to say about Berlin overall. But of course I feel that people are less emotionally involved as it was in the beginning of the war. And it is the goal of the project to remind us that right now when we go to work in the center of Berlin and wait for our train, at the same moment in the same public space people in Ukraine are sheltering from Russian rockets. [...]
October 21, 2022Displacement / Featuring Kabul / Topics / Voices  Since the Taliban’s took control of Afghanistan in 2021, women’s rights have been in grave danger. In the film Life in the Taliban’s Afghanistan, reporter Isobel Yeung deepens into the current state of women’s rights in the country and shows how their lives are under the Taliban’s rules. In Afghanistan, women are deprived of going to work, studying and even going outside home. Streets, parks, schools and even courthouses are now dominated by men, as the Taliban don’t believe in gender parity and equality before the law. Under this situation, there are lots of cases of sexual, physical and psychological abuse that are remaining hidden in the country, benefiting the power of the man over the voice of the women. Even if the Taliban assure that women’s rights are being defended in the country, they have established a discriminatory government in which women are being removed from the public life, marginalized and mistreated. In addition, Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis in which medical care is scarce and some people don’t even have access to it. This represents a critical situation in which many children have problems for surviving and, if they do, they will have a black future ahead. Even more if you’re born as a girl.  The movie Life in the Taliban’s Afghanistan was screened Oct 8 at Salt Galata in the frame of the Kite Runner project taking place in Istanbul between July and December 2022.     The Kite Runner Project  The Kite Runner project is an initiative of the Istanbul based association Diyalog which started in August 2022, in cooperation with the International Media Support (IMS) based in Denmark. Inspired by the novel Kite Runner by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini this project aims to provide workshop opportunities, organise social events and network building activities for Afghans with journalistic and media background living in Turkey. Some of the gatherings are just online meetings for those who want to attend the activities from Afghanistan or any other part of the globe. Among the activities we can find language courses, film screenings, legal advice and media workshops, available for Afghans with and without journalistic experience. There are also specific working groups for female journalists. The condition for the participants to attend the events is to have interest and enthusiasm about video, filmmaking and journalism, and to show passion for social justice, equity and human rights. The objective of the Kite Runner project is to encourage the participants to use their skills for creating movies about their environment, their own journey, community life or conflict situations. Everything to serve as social gathering, networking booster and a platform to professionalizing media skills while promoting intercultural understanding between borders.    Afghanistan has been qualified as “the worst place to be a woman”. With the work of the Kite Runner project and the involvement of the public activities organised in Istanbul, we will get to spread and raise awareness about the significant problematic in Afghanistan and denounce the hard violation of human rights in the country.  [...]
August 30, 2022Topics / Urban VoicesRoni Aran, Serhat Ayebe and Herman Artuç, members of Fungistanbul FUNGISTANBUL is a trio that plays with instruments made from waste materials. The project was born in 2014 and they started working with recycled instruments in 2019. Roni Aran, Serhat Ayebe and Herman Artuç wanted to create awareness about the dangers of climate change, and nowadays they’re inspiring people with their music to recover the natural order of life. Their last album, called Trash Oriental, was released in 2022 and they received very good feedback from people who are sensitive to ecology and the environment. Fungistanbul comes from the word fungi, which in Latin means mushroom, as these living things are really important to decompose dead plants and animal residues, allowing nutrients to return to the ecosystem. Fungistanbul got in touch with Diyalog when Thomas Büsch and Sabine Küper made a documentary video about them. After that, they send them some information about the group and Diyalog proposed them to meet and do something together. They called them for this year’s edition of the Mahalla Festival, in which they will be participating the 1st of September in the opening day of the festival.   INTERVIEW with Herman Artuç (Fungistanbul) By Maëla Sanmartín Maëla Sanmartín, Diyalog Derneği                          Herman Artuç, member of Fungistanbul   How did you get in touch with Diyalog? Thomas and Sabine once made a documentary about Fungistanbul, and that’s how we met him. After that, we sent them some information about the group. That’s how they proposed that we meet and do something together, and they called us for this edition of the Mahalla Festival.   Are there other groups like yours in Türkiye? Not in Türkiye, I’ve never heard of it. That’s why our project is interesting here, because some people are seeing it for the first time. People don’t believe that with these instruments from waste materials we could create an album called Trash Oriental. When they watch our performance, they are shocked, because it sounds like a professional music band. Our costumes are also designed with waste materials. This creates an interest between people, and it’s helping us to explain upcycling. The instruments designed are giving us power to explain the problems of nature, waste, and pollution. However, the fact is that there are few groups in the world that are making music from nature, with recycled instruments.     Are you all professional musicians in the group? One of us, Roni, studied in the Conservatory. But Serhat and I learnt from our masters. I’m a latin jazz musician, and I play percussion. Serhat is a bass player, he plays double bass and electric bass. Roni plays many string instruments and designs many of them with his luthier friends. He’s very talented at making improvisations. We mostly work with improvisations in our music, but we’re also covering some traditional songs.    Do you improvise while recording your albums? While recording, we play at the same time because we want the nature of sounds in our albums. We don’t want to copy and paste music.   Do the instruments usually go out of tune? Yes, we are always tuning the instruments. We mainly tune the string instruments that Roni plays. With the pot bass, Serhat is trying to play near sounds, near tones: If it’s D, he’s using more or less 6 or 7 notes in the scale. But he can also play with rhythmic positions.   Our mind is working everywhere: could this material be an instrument? Fungistanbul playing Trash Oriental 4   How is the process of choosing the materials to build an instrument? Sometimes we find very interesting objects and sounds, and we want to use them for changing an instrument. Other times we’re deciding to arrange an instrument and we’re first deciding the material to build it. We try to find it on the street or different places, or we tell some friends to find them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of trash in Istanbul, it’s easy to find waste materials. But we continue with our work. Our mind is working everywhere: could this material be an instrument?    What about the workshops you do with children? Sometimes the children bring their waste materials from their home -like bottles, some plastic- and we’re doing instruments together in workshops. They are so talented. We’re not saying “do this, do that”, we’re just playing with our instruments, explaining our project and showing them videos about what we do. We’re sometimes helping them on how to bring some parts together, but we’re not telling them what to do. They know about it. For us it’s important to see how they do, how they think. In Türkiye, there are many teachers with students doing instruments, and children send us pictures. It’s very good that we are inspiring them.     We must learn how to live with nature and not wait for the future   Are children aware of climate change in Türkiye? How is the situation in your country? In schools, there are many teachers making workshops and classes about climate change and nature, using waste materials and upcycling them. In the last three or four years, there have been more protests happening in Istanbul, especially with young people. There are also artists making exhibitions about this topic. We have to find solutions. We must learn how to live with nature and not wait for the future. Sustainability is very important, because we are all producers or consumers. When you’re buying or when you’re producing something, we should think about the future and learn how to live a nature-friendly life. In this sense, like biodiversity, cultural diversity is also very important. If we say that biodiversity is important but cultural diversity is not, it’s comic.   Was it risky for your musical career to start the Fungistanbul project? At first, when we started doing waste instruments, it was very risky, because we had a professional musical career. There’s a very thin line when doing experimental music, because you can make very bad music or a very interesting one. Although it was a risk for us to start this project, we’re very happy that everybody can listen to our music and enjoy it. For us, a music project is not just something for earning money. This is our life, and we feel the problems of humanity and nature.   This is not only our problem, this is a humanity problem   Workers sort the waste at a recycling plant in Istanbul, Türkiye, on May 25, 2021. (Photo by Osman Orsal/Xinhua)   Have you seen an evolution since you started your Fungistanbul project? Yes, it’s very interesting. I’m giving drum lessons in a school in Istanbul, and one of the cleaning workers there told me: hey master, I’m using my can for cleaning and you’re making music with it! (Herman laughs). Or in the street where I live, many people have seen our project in the media and they honoured us. People tell us very good things. We’re also trying to make more exhibitions and concerts for people who still don’t know our project. We want to share our music, because this is not only our problem, this is a humanity problem.    What would you say to someone that asks you: Why do you waste your time playing instruments with wasted materials? (Herman laughs). Some people are asking us similar things to what you said. When we were children, we were aware of many things, but years passed and we’re becoming very unaware of things. We’re humans, and our nature is being aware of everything in life. As years pass, some thoughts and sentiments are coming back, and we start to remember that this situation is a common issue. If you understand that: listen to us, listen to our music. You will feel what we’re doing.    [...]
August 28, 2022TopicsAaron Bezzina working in his current artwork for the Mahalla Festival   Aaron Bezzina lives and works in Malta. He’s interested in structures, contraptions and mechanical objects, and his work focuses on existential questions and philosophical issues (1). He studied a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art (2014) at the Malta’s Institute of Art and Design, and later a Master in Digital Arts at University of Malta (2016). In his latest exhibitions he has shown mainly sculptures, gadgets or installations that make use of various media like wood and metal. In 2015, Bezzina was awarded a residency by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. In 2016 he undertook a traineeship with the cultural association for the arts Nuova Icona in Venice, and in 2017 he was one of the artists selected in the Maltese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.    Bezzina met Thomas and Sabine for the first time in Malta. It was in 2017, regarding Bezzina’s participation in the Malta Pavilion. He was later invited to a Maltese edition of the Mahalla Festival in 2018, and they stayed in touch since then. This year, they directly called him to participate in this year’s edition of the Mahalla Festival, happening in Istanbul. This is Bezzina’s third time in this city, and he feels pleasant about that. His participation into the Mahalla Festival in the frame of parallel events of the 17th Istanbul Biennial under the title Palimpsest of Power and his stay in Istanbul during this time is supported by the Art Council Malta.   INTERVIEW with Aaron Bezzina By Maëla Sanmartín Maëla Sanmartín, Diyalog Derneği                          Aaron Bezzina, artist of the Mahalla Festival   What artwork are you proposing for the Mahalla Festival? My works, sculptures or installations are very dependent on the concept of the event. But most importantly, they are sensitive to space. I design the installation according to the environment it’s going to fit in. Initially, I had proposed something involving the panoptic, which is a surveillance method for prisons. But then everything turned differently. Instead of building a tower (that was my initial idea), I used the main staircase of the Greek Elementary School as a virtual tower. What I’m going to build is a staircase that is connecting three floors, around 12 metres high. In a panoptic there’s someone who is observing, but my work reverses that idea: this person who is observing is reversed using the figure of a boss, of a head. It’s about power, but in a very open and abstract way.                                                                        Sketches   What are your expectations about the Mahalla Festival 2022? I like the approach that the Mahalla Festival takes. It utilises existing, maybe also abandoned buildings. That is really a fresh way to look at art and how to work with artists. The Mahalla festival is very sensitive to the community and usually the artists involved are also very sensitive to the people surrounding the artwork. It is not about trying to dominate the space and saying that you need to look at this, it’s a different approach. It’s more of a communal approach, which I find that quite interesting and both beneficial for the artist and the community. I’m looking forward to finishing the work and seeing all the works happening, and meeting the people who would be interested in seeing the works.   Maybe an artwork is never finished   In general, when do you consider that an artwork is finished? I don’t know if an artwork is ever finished, because it always regains context. Since the viewer can change, the artwork can change in a sense. Even though physically it stays the same. But times change, so events change through changes. So yeah, maybe an artwork is never finished. We can still reinterpret Goya in today’s situation in Europe, for instance. From a physical point of view, an artwork can be completed when the artist signs it and says: “Ok. From my end, this is done”. But when it’s made public, it is never finished. It has a different narrative all the time.   Aaron Bezzina – Double Catapult, 2021, Wood, stain-varnish, screws and rubber   How do you expect people from the public to interpret your artwork? I’m usually more inclined to show my work in spaces where people intend to visit, and are interested in art in the first place. This time it’s going to be different, as we can get neighbours of the School and people who are just passing by. It’s not the kind of audience that is accustomed to art, or to contemporary art. And that is quite interesting. When I’ve done these kinds of projects before, I got the most interesting interpretations of the work. Some interpretations that I didn’t even conceive, and that’s why I mentioned that an artwork was never finished: because maybe people who are not accustomed to art have the freshest eyes on looking at it.   You said in another interview that your favourite artwork is the one that you’re working on at the moment. What makes the process of creation enjoyable for you? I treat every artwork as a problem to be solved. But I have created the problem. I will have to solve it for myself, and the other components follow. When I’m doing an artwork, I am probably engulfed by the whole process, and it allows me just to focus on that, leaving everything behind and leaving other other artworks for the future, just pending until it’s their time. I try to do my best with every work, whatever it is. It could be a small drawing or a sculpture that goes to three or four floors. So it’s the notion of focus and dedication that made me say that statement.   The muse doesn’t really exist. All that exists is work   Guillotine , 2019, Wood, stain varnish, rope, stainless steel, steel, paint, screws   How is the process from finishing an artwork to starting a new one? I think creativity is a very interesting term that is used by people who are not, in a sense, creative. I’m saying this because the muse doesn’t really exist. All that exists is work. And by work I mean sitting down and doing something. This could be just sketching or finding ideas. It’s not that I just sit and wait for an idea to hit me, but I try to fish it by maybe working or doing something mundane, like doodling around. By working you produce more work, more ideas and more energy. I don’t think artists ever stop working, if they call themselves artists.   Do you take some moments to rest? Or do you get stressed with the idea of doing absolutely nothing, like staring at the wall? I don’t like the idea of having a holiday. Maybe staring at the wall can be part of the process sometimes. Maybe it relaxes you and gives you space for more ideas. But to waste time (in the sense of not having produced any productive thoughts) makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time (Bezzina laughs). In fact, I have a sketchbook and I try to have an idea every day. It’s a self-imposed work.   Aaron Bezzina- Cruci-dagger,2022,Brass and wood   Don’t you think that trying to be productive anytime can be a problem? I think that my body and my brain show me when it’s time to stop. For practical reasons, I’ve learnt that if I’m building a structure and I’m using dangerous tools -like drills- and I’m tired, my body shows me that ‘hey, it’s time to stop, or you’re losing your fingers soon’. These are practical signals for me to stop, have something to eat and go to bed. And that is enough rest for me. Maybe the notion of rest or a break could also come in different forms like going out for a drink with friends, but I don’t need a whole week of a break. I’ve tried it. I’ve tried going on holidays. But after three days, when I visited all the museums in the area and wondered what I was going to do in the following days, I felt anxious. It makes me anxious (which is also kind of good).    Do you think there’s a lot of competitiveness in the art world? Do you feel pressure? I think the pressure comes purely from deadlines and bureaucratic stuff like funds. Otherwise, nobody is really asking for an artist to be an artist. I don’t see the competition there. I know that the work that I’m doing now is better than all the works that I’ve done before, so this is a form of a competition within myself. But how would you quantify or qualify this kind of things? Which artwork is better? It’s hard for me to say: this artwork is better than that artwork. Why? What kind of criteria or taxonomy would you imply on it? Maybe competition is more within the art market, but I’m not really part of that.   Have you made a lot of sacrifices during your artistic journey? I challenge the notion of sacrifice. Coming from a catholic country, everything has to be sacrificial. You have to sacrifice your life for your family, for education, etc. I don’t like the idea of sacrifice in the traditional way. Being an artist is initially difficult until you start to understand how you work and how the ecosystem around you works. And probably everyone knows this, because everyone discourages their children to be artists, unless they are well connected to it. Maybe this is what perpetuates it to be hard. Anyway, I think I would still do the stuff that I do: coming up with ideas and trying to produce them. I don’t think I’ve made sacrifices, because I love what I do and it has never put me in a weird situation. It’s just knowing what I’m going for. At least I know that I’m doing the thing that I love most.   Art is the craziest, most absurd invention of the human being   Face/Splitter (self-portrait), 2022, Gold-plated bronze and wood   Does art have a meaning for you? I think art is the most absurd thing that human beings have created. If we put some paint on a square piece of fabric and stick it on a wall, it is art. So it is the craziest, most absurd invention. I don’t know why everyone isn’t participating in this. Even if it’s, let’s say, low quality art, it’s still art. I think that’s one of the meanings of art, that you can do whatever you want and somehow it’s justifiable, unless it’s hurting another individual. Then it’s a different area. But when it’s just a crazy fun idea, that could be art. There’s no defining meaning of art, but anything that is related to it it’s at its essence absurd.    What is the best part of working in the artfield? I think that for the previous reason. How can you justify in the practical world to hang a structure from the middle of a staircase three stories high? There’s no way of justifying that, but that’s the idea you had. Art is the medium to make these ideas happen, but it also offers an aesthetic good side to it. It offers aesthetic pleasure, or some form of conceptual engagement. From this absurd idea comes out a lot of benefits or spaces where one can think, criticise and play.   Aaron Bezzina (n.d.). Mahalla. Available at: [...]
August 24, 2022Events / Seen Beyond / TopicsOna Juciūtė. Picture by Anna Melnykova Ona Juciūtė, born in Lithuania in 1988, is one of the artists participating in the Mahalla Festival. Ona Juciūtė has an artist residency in the frame  MagiC Carpets which is a Creative Europe project uniting 16 European cultural organisations that create opportunities for emerging artists to embark on journeys to unknown lands and to create, together with local artists and local communities, new works that highlight local specificities.  Ona Juciūtė works in the visual and sculptural field, and she has been awarded with the JCDecaux prize as the best young artist in 2016, as well as the prize Aleksandra Kasubiene 2017. In 2021 her scuptures were included in the permanent collection of Kiasma contemporary art museum in Helsinki. Juciūtė is specially interested in how things are made and how they work, in the origins and use of materials and their multiple applications and combinations. She got in touch with Diyalog by Lithuanian curator Brigita Bareikyte, who sent her portfolio to the organisation, and she was finally selected. This is not Juciūtė’s first time in Istanbul, as she spent some time there ten years ago, and she couldn’t seem to forget it.    Ona Juciūtė – Interview By Maëla Sanmartín Shot from Mahalla Festival in Istanbul, installation by Ona Juciūtė   Why and when did you realise that you wanted to work in the art field? Drawing out my thoughts was a very big urge when I was little. I still vividly remember the struggle of not being able to visualise the ideas I had. It is never the struggle today though. I think the art field allows us to jump between disciplines like no other field. I guess therefore I ended up making art. I never had a goal to become an artist – I was already doing what is called art today, when I understood that maybe it suits my moda operandi.   What other hobbies do you have, apart from sculpture and visual art? I would not call sculpture a hobby, it is more a way of thinking to me. A mode of existence by thinking without thinking if it makes sense. A very visual way of thinking about the found world – its material, plasticity, shape and content. When talking about my interests, I also find animals, furniture, markets, fiction, currencies, logistics and home-museums fascinating.   In the world obsessed with results and finished products we, as artists, can defend unfinished business   When is an artwork/project finished for you? It depends. Sometimes, a formal end matches the institutional deadline of an exhibition. Other times some topics and situations take longer to solve. I like to take my time, not force it, repeat things if I must and never claim that something is finished. I want to think that in the world obsessed with result and finished products we, as artists, can defend unfinished business – slow, long, ever-lasting, non-progressive creative process.   How much time passes from the moment you “finish” an artwork/project to the moment you begin a new one? I do not really see my projects as separate entities. One thing leads to another and almost always new ideas grow out of something that was a leftover of a previous work. I like to think of my process as something continuous rather than isolated. Like a one body with many parasites.   How do you get inspired when creating a new artwork/project? The world and situations we find are charged with material and meaning. Oftentimes we have no tools to fully see it and comprehend. As I work with material I like to think about where things come from and how they shift their shape. Almost always I find something that is not what it seems. This is how I start.   I want to believe that art has the right to be as complex and ever-changing as the world   With which artistic movements do you feel more identified? It is so hard to say. Movements tend to be a finished set of ideas and principles, helping the viewers to navigate what we see, like a glance towards the past. I want to believe that art has the right to be as complex and ever-changing as the world, non concluded pool. Or, even better – rivers, with many conflicting animals, breeds, micro organisms, invasive species, endangered species etc. I like to think, maybe in a very naive way, that I create in the present, so my practice is a blend of different ways of seeing. I can say that new materialism plays a role, but then again I find quite some stuff complicated there. I also like to think that my projects have a lot to do with storytelling, but I also have a complicated relationship to history. So, in the end it is like a patchwork of different movements, ideas and strategies. This is I guess the biggest privilege of being an artist – freedom of shifting between influences and movements.   “Joiners”, solo show by Ona Juciūtė @ CCA Derry~Londonderry, NI, UK, 2022. Picture by Simon Mills.   What do you like the most about intercultural encounters? It helps me reconsider what I took as default.   There is a lot of competitiveness in the art world. Have you felt it or experienced it? In what way? It is hard for me to say if art is more competitive than other fields. I just had a discussion with a friend about how comparison is in human nature, I guess this is the root of all the competition. Can we say that we compare ourselves more than other field practitioners? I am not so sure. Maybe it has something to do with jealousy –  being jealous of a brilliant idea, that someone else got. But to see a great show by someone else and get inspired is one of the best feelings. Whenever I think oh, how did I not think of that myself, it wakes me up and makes me more aware of my surroundings, keeps me awake and elevated in a way.   Have you made a lot of sacrifices during your artistic journey? I guess I have sacrificed some stability, but I gained something else instead. So it was a willing trade  rather than sacrifice. I am still not entirely sure what I got instead, but it seems to work so far.   “Joiners”, solo show by Ona Juciūtė @ CCA Derry~Londonderry, NI, UK, 2022. Picture by Simon Mills.   Art makes me laugh and cry by showing me things I would skip otherwise   Does art make you happy? Why and how? It really does – it makes me laugh and cry by showing me things I would skip otherwise. And this goes for both creating and seeing art. I still believe that art manages to be the space for nuance.   What does art mean for you? The freedom to skip the questions of meaning and focus on the rest.   What is the best part of working in the art field? Let’s say it allows me to live the life of someone with every new research. But even that said, I also do not think that the art world is so much different from other fields.   [...]
August 23, 2022Drifting / Events / Places / TopicsPeople from several regions of Spain and different countries in the world met last weekend in Lakabe (Navarra) on occasion of the 2022 Spain Ecovillage Gathering, organised by the Iberian Ecovillage Network (RIE). Workshops, concerts, screenings and project presentations took place from Friday to Sunday to learn about alternative ways of living, find people with similar aspirations, raise ecological awareness and build national and international cooperation networks. Lakabe, Spain Lakabe is a little village in the valley of Arce-Artzibar, Navarra (Spain). It became uninhabited in the 60’s and was occupied in 1980 by a group of young people from the conscientious objection movement who dreamed of building an alternative and transformative community space, adapting to the rhythms of nature. Today, this project continues with this same essence: to enable and experience utopia. (1) Lakabe is part of the Iberian Ecovillage Network (RIE), who each year organises gatherings in the ecovillages that are part of this national network. Besides, Lakabe is part of other networks as CEPAIN, Bizilur, Amnesty International, Alejab, EHKO and others. They also collaborate with GEN-Europe, the European Ecovillage Network formed of international communities, ecovillages and national ecovillage networks that work together to create a regenerative world. (2) Lakabe’s economy is based on the bread they make and sell outside their community, in their own animals and the food they groove in their gardens. All the economy of the community is shared: when a new member joins (after two years of trial), he or she must give all his possessions and properties, which automatically become part of the community. No private properties exist in Lakabe. Their way of organisation is through horizontal decision making, they don’t have Internet connection and they keep a responsible lifestyle using dry toilets and short showers due to water scarcity. THE ENCOUNTER Botanical alchemy workshop Lakabe’s Ecovillage Gathering 2022 started on Friday morning and ended on Sunday afternoon. During the two and a half days, people from all over Spain and even from other countries (Italy, Argentina, Colombia…) met to learn about alternative ways of living, ecological practices and horizontal ways of social organisation. The encounter intends to create links between people who want to join an eco community or that have the idea to create a new one, and for people who already have a community and want to improve their practices and gain experience. Besides, this encounter is also open for people who just have curiosity about ways of living out of the system, taking care of nature and escaping from the instantaneity and speed of today’s world.  2022 Ecovillage Gathering program in Lakabe The weekend was organised in different workshops, talks and screenings in which people had the opportunity to learn, listen and share together. Some of the workshops that were organised for the encounter were about collaborative economy, non-violent communication, sociocracy, free currency, botanical alchemy and holistic farming, basketry, food preserves and wild lemonade, world dancing and tribal contact. All of them were conducted by experienced people in the field and had a length of approximately two hours. During the first part of the workshop, the expert used to share his or her knowledge. At the end, people started asking questions and the workshop became a conversation between the participants and the expert, as well as a forum to share ways of thinking and collective concerns.  Improvised musical moment in Lakabe The spare moments were especially good to meet, relax and make friends. People spended the free time sharing opinions and experiences, talking about themselves and their dreams. Some beautiful moments emerged during the encounter, such as spontaneous dancing or improvised musical sessions. The mealtimes were especially good, as people joined together to share some exceptional ecological cooking. The nights were full of joy, as people gathered in the main place to watch the concerts that were organised for the encounter. The Katanga Dub concert on Saturday night was one of the most funny and memorable moments of the weekend. In sum, 2022 Ecovillage Gathering in Lakabe was a beautiful and emotional experience in which we had the opportunity to disconnect from technologies, escape from today’s society speed and have intercultural exchanges. Every person in the encounter had different ways of thinking, but we all had the same motivation: move and walk towards utopia, a new society in which people can live in harmony with the ideals of respect, tolerance, multiculturality, ecology and responsible progress. Lakabe, tierra de bosques. Available at:  Gen Europe. Available at:  [...]
August 18, 2022Events / TopicsAnna Schwarz is an Austrian interdisciplinary artist and sculptor. She holds two Master’s degrees, one Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of fine arts Vienna and another Master’s in Fashion Design from the University of Applied arts Vienna. Schwarz is currently in Istanbul for a 3-month stay as part of the Austrian International Residency Program of the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service, and Sports. She is preparing a collaborative artwork for the Mahalla Festival with Turkish artist Dilruba Balak. Balak graduated from Anadolu University, Faculty of Communication Sciences. She develops her artworks, mainly drawings, paintings, and videos, in her studio located in Heybeliada, Istanbul. How Schwarz and Balak met? Schwarz discovered the story of Balak when she read an article in the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard” about how the Austrian police violently scratched Balak’s face on her passport. The artist Balak who was supposed to start her Master’s degree at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, had all her plans canceled by a visa refusal. Schwarz, touched by the story she had just read, contacted Balak and offered her help. They met in person for the first time this July, at the beginning of Schwarz‘s residency in Istanbul. What are they preparing for the Mahalla Festival? This subject is personally linked to the two artists but in different ways. Schwarz and Balak share similar artistic interests. Together they are reflecting on “how the unseen, unsaid, and forgotten are part of an obstacle to furthering narratives.” For Balak, many things will remain unsaid and unseen as she was not allowed to be part of Vienna’s life. Scratching her face on her passport is also a way to make her unseen. Schwarz feels the same way about her father, who died when she was seven years old and seemed forgotten. He was a graphic designer, photographer, and sculptor, and there were things they didn’t get to do together. Their artwork for the festival is named “In Between Things – Unpredictable Emotions“. The venue of the Festival, Kurtulus Greek school, is also a meaningful place. It is a school with no children because it closed due to a lack of Greek community. But it’s like the story continues because the school is still here. We can consider that the duett (Schwarz/Balak) “didn’t find the topic of their artwork, but it’s the topic that found them.” The two artists have shared artistic skills, such as painting, so they are preparing four canvases for the festival. They will work with painting, drawing, and a mix of collage. For this purpose, Balak and Schwarz will use local materials bought in different Istanbul areas. The two artists like collecting all sorts of things to give them new meanings. They walk the streets of Istanbul searching for objects, materials, and fabrics. Together they visit the markets, the bazaars, and the stores. If you are enthusiastic about seeing this presentation, we will be pleased to welcome you at the Mahalla Festival between the 1st and 10th of September 2022 at the former Greek School in the Kurtuluş district on the European site of Istanbul. The Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul will support the two artists’ presentations. Support by [...]
August 12, 2022All Posts / Events / i-collect / TopicsMeeting with Filippo Riniolo in Istanbul The Diyalog association is setting up its fifth edition of the Mahalla Festival, which will take place under the title Palimpsest between the 1st and 10th of September 2022 at the former Greek School in the Kurtuluş district on the European site of Istanbul. The Italian concept artist Filippo Riniolo is in Istanbul for this occasion. He is participating into the Mahalla Festival with an interactive performance/installation with the title The Attempt of a Poem in the frame of a residency program by  MagiC Carpets. MagiC Carpets is a Creative Europe platform uniting 16 European cultural organisations that create opportunities for emerging artists to embark on journeys to unknown lands and to create, together with local artists and local communities, new works that highlight local specificities. Latitudo Art Projects in Rome is a partner of the network and nominated Filippo Riniolo to participate in the Mahalla Festival. The emerging curators Ilayda Tunca in Istanbul and Paola Farfaglio in Rome manage the implementation of Filippo’s art project for the Festival. Filippo was born in Milan. He started drawing at the age of 5. By comparing his drawings with those of other children of the same age, he quickly understood that he had a talent. His passion led him to the prestigious  Academy of Fine Arts of Rome where he graduated in 2011. Filippo is a concept and visual artist. His artwork is displayed in many forms such as performances, videos, paintings, poetry. The idea and the process behind the work is more important than the finished object. Depending on the concept he wants to develop he will choose the appropriate technique. Filippo’s artwork focuses on political, religious, social, poetic, and historical themes. He sees art as a tool to understand society just like philosophy or mathematics. According to him: “While mathematics use numbers and philosophy uses words, art uses visual.” He also thinks that knowledge is not an accumulation of information, it is being able to take a position. Regarding this statement and his artworks, we can consider his art as engaged. Filippo’s  project for the Mahalla Festival Filippo’s artwork for the Mahalla Festival, The Attempt of a Poem is inspired by the by the Iliad and Odyssey. During the period (1200 BC) climate change caused a famine that led to social and political instability resulting in migration, wars, and epidemics. The entire political structure, technology, and society were lost – only memorable poems survived from this period. The Bronze Age collapse featured several parallels to our modern world. Filippo recalls oral tradition by drawing an analogy between present and 1200 BC and he invits everybody to participate into the production of the art work into interactive workshops during the Mahalla Festival in September at the Greek School in Kurtuluş. Attempt of a Poem is a rewriting with a queer and feminist point of view of the mythology of the past. Patriarchy is a narrative to be torn down with collective rewriting work that starts from queer and nonconforming subjectivities. Attempt of a Poem returns to a moment in history; and attempts to rewrite the past by infiltrating to the moment of the horse’s appearance. In aim of organizing a new narrative and a poem accompanied by the Kirke and Tiresias passages, three sessions in total, the workshop is devoted to create a ‘nostoi’ by organizing a joint poem with the participants and transforming this poem into a choral performance/sound theater. Filippo will re-tell/re-write the epos of returning: the Odyssee – the Nostos. The Nostos are epic poems that relate the return home of the Greek heroes after the end of the Trojan War. Filippo wants to invent 3 episodes of the Nostos, both in the text aspect and musical aspect, in cooperation with the multicultural community of the Kurtulus district in Istanbul. That’s why during his artist residency, Filippo will hold workshops with local communities to write these poems. As the artist aims to work on oral tradition, at the end of the workshops, the written text will be destroyed and only the audio recording of the work will remain.  The poems will be finally presented as a sound installation (vinyl and nft audio) within the Mahalla festival. The language of the workshop depends on the participant’s preference, and the workshop is open to all languages. Translation will be provided upon request. So if you are an enthusiast of storytelling or a writer or a narrator interested in rewriting history and creating finally a collective sound installation, you are invited to attend the workshops with Filippo between September 1 and September 10.   Please register on the Mahalla website for participating into the workshop [...]