View of the Rivoli Cinema, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 26, 1952, as it burns during the rioting. (AP Photo)
10 May – 03 June 2018
MARSistanbul / SALT Beyoğlu
With works by Alaa Alhassoun, Keywan Karimi, Louis Henderson, Sibel Horada, Metehan Özcan, Neriman Polat, Özge Topçu, Pınar Öğrenci and Selini Halvadaki.
The exhibition Metaphorical Space examines the relationship of social movements with space, authority, and memory. Similar to carnivals, collective movements take place when people from different ages, ethnic or social groups take over the city for a short time. The city’s squares appear to turn into a theater scene. What differentiates uprisings from carnivals, however, is that in uprisings authorities and civilians confront each other; infringement of rights and spatial threats can develop in parallel to each other. The power of politics traces its own cultural and political language on architecture and the city, while civilians continue to defend symbolic spaces that are held in esteem in the collective memory, and are part of what Hannah Arendt calls the “field of appearance.” The city is now a stage for a rematch. The reference point for the exhibition is Louis Henderson’s “The Day Before the Fires” (2012) video, inspired by the 1952 Cairo Fire, also known as Black Saturday. The fire was the result of protests in Cairo that started as an anti-colonial movement, causing significant damage to buildings that were deemed to be the symbols of colonialism. Many historians have compared the Arab Spring in Tahrir Square to the Cairo Fire. Metaphorical Space takes as a beginning point urban spaces that have been the stage for cyclical social movements similar to that of Cairo as an action of ‘remembering’. Metaphorical Space explores spatial ‘stories’ from cities such as Athens, Cairo, Aleppo, Tehran, Izmir, all of which have been the stage for oppositional movements spanning from the post WWI era – an era of nation and ‘modern’ society building – to the present day. The exhibition opens out to thinking about ‘metaphoric’ meanings of space as an alternative to established ways of thinking about urban and architectural productions of form within the frameworks of war, revolution, colonialism, military regime and rebellion movements (Öğrenci 2018, translation: Merve Ünsal).
In conjunction with the exhibition, Keywan Karimi’s “Writing on the City” (Iran 2015) will be screened at SALT Beyoğlu on May 12, 2018.
Metaphorical Space is organized by Pınar Öğrenci and Minou Norouzi with the kind support of the Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul, Arts Council England, Openvizor, Seven Cerceve, SALT, Depo Istanbul and Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV).
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