Workshop Avoiding Utopias?
Along with the title of Werkleitz Festival in October 2013 in Halle, Utopien vermeiden, the project Utopien vermeiden? (ein Ausstellungsprojekt zu Utopien, Szenarien und Modellen) broaches the issue of current utopias and investigates how utopia can either be displayed as an image, installed into space or performed on stage.
During summer semester 2013 students and lecturers have researched on actual and historic models and scenarios as well as on utopian literature in Halle and in Istanbul. In September 2013 they have met in Istanbul and in October in Halle in order to develop plans for the exhibition contribution to Werkleitz Festival.
With collective excursions, discussions and exercises the participants got to know various approaches and views on utopia – in Germany and Turkey, between generations, between students and lecturers and between study disciplines. References of this thoughtery were present and past city planning utopia and dystopia in Halle and Istanbul which moved on to the utopian project of a Turkish EU membership and current social transformations in Turkey.
As a result of the cooperation with students from Istanbul, we will set up a collectively designed area in the lobby of the festival center. A table with quotes and compilations of texts which clarify our discussion processes and their historical and theoretical points of reference, and gather literature on the topic, offer visitors a place to read, think and speak. ↩This open space of exchange is flanked by marginal interventions: a film about current demolition work in Halle Neustadt, a promising glowing window, small, barely perceptible architectural models, wastepaper stacks, balloons, a clock that doesn’t display time, an overhead projector that invites visitors to create text and color collages - these elements generate an atmospheric space, which is particularly influenced by a quote from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan had shouted to environmental activists protesting against government plans on September 18, 2013 (protests against cutting down Gezi Park in Istanbul to reconstruct an Ottoman-era military building, or against roadworks through the Middle East campus forest Eastern Technical University in Ankara): “… if you want, we can send you to the forest. Go and live in the forest! This quote “gidin ormanda yaşayın … “,” go and live in the forest … “, can be combined with a number of utopian concepts, just think of Henry David Thoreau’s” Walden or Life in the Woods” from 1854.
The utopian is always linked with alternative concepts of life. So, if you want to criticize the existing, can you even avoid utopias?
- Project Management: Maike Fraas, Malte Roloff,
- in cooperation with Werkleitz Center for Media Art Halle, Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi, Istanbul;
- Partners: Dr. Melih Görgün, Doz. Bahar Aksel, Doz. Sinan Niyazioğlu, Umut Sudüak, Research Associate, Istanbul and Prof. Dr. Nike Bätzner, Halle;
- Participanting BURG students: Maria Bauhofer, Johanna Padge, Sanna Schiffler, Olivia Schmid, Julia Senft, Nele Urbanowicz, Malte Westphalen, Judith Will, Mimar
- Participanting students Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi: Serim Dinç, Başak İncekara, Tuğçe İşçi, Çağın Kaya, Volkan Kızıltunç.