Istanbul Workshop

Workshop by Hackitectura 1st – 8th of November 2012 Taşkışla – Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul
Mapping the Commons, is an event, which includes a one-day conference (31st of October) and a week-long workshop, on emerging practices that explore the commons of Istanbul. The event aims to bring together activists, students, academics, and researchers from different disciplines, from architecture, arts, media, literature, and social sciences.Commons can be defined by being shared by all, without becoming private for any individual self or institution. Commons include natural resources, common lands, urban public spaces, creative works, and knowledge that is exempt from copyright laws. In Istanbul, like in many global cities, the discussions around commons have been relevant especially with the increasing pressure of privatization and control of the governments over the shared assets of the community.

In today’s world, the recurrent concept of the commons elaborates on the idea that the production of wealth and social life are heavily dependent on communication, cooperation, affects, and collective creativity. The commons would be, then, those milieu of shared resources, that are generated by the participation of the many and multiple, which constitute, some would say, the essential productive fabric of the 21st Century metropolis. And then, if we make this connection between commons and production, we have to think of political economy: power, rents, and conflict.

The questions, then, would be: may the commons provide us with alternative concepts and tactics to the dominant power, for a more democratic, tolerant, and heterogeneous society, which allows more participation and collectivity? Can we open up the different definitions of the commons, and are there different ways of understanding and discussing the commons through various practices?

Due to our tradition of the private and the public, of property and individualism, the commons are still hard to see for our late 20th Century eyes. We propose, therefore, a search for the commons, a search that will take the form of a mapping process. We understand mapping, as proposed by Deleuze and Guattari, and as artists and social activists have been using it during the last decade, as a performance that can become a reflection, a work of art, a social action. Istanbul will be the object of the mapping project. We propose the hypothesis that a new view of the city will come out of the process, one where the many and multiple, often struggling against the state and capital, are continuously and exuberantly supporting and producing the commonwealth of its social life.

A group of 20-25 architects, activists, artists, filmmakers and social scientists will work for more than a week developing collaborative mapping strategies, audiovisual languages, using open source software and participatory wiki-mapping tools. The final production will feature as its central piece an interactive online video-cartography, complemented by secondary databases and analogue-paper productions.

The workshop is the continuation of Mapping the Commons, Athens.

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