Utopia & Reality

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Utopia and Reality the future prospectsof Istanbul, Pcs, and the Ruhr region

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    urUtopia & RealityIstanbul Pcs Ruhrgebiet

  • UR - Utopia and Reality. Istanbul Pcs Ruhrgebiet

    Published by: Katja Melzer, Robert Bosch Cultural Manager, Lenau House PcsConcept + Editing: Katja Melzer + Zita SrvriGraphic design + Layout: WannatalkaTranslations: Deborah Anne Bowen, Zsfia Rudnay

    Print: Professional Publishing Hungary Kft., Budapest 1037, Montevideo u. 3/b2011, Pcs, text and image copyright by the artists and the authors Limited Edition: 3.000 copiesOur blog: http://utopiamag.wordpress.com/

    The ideaIn 2010, two cities and one region received the title European Capital of Culture: Pcs (Hungary), Istanbul (Turkey) and the Ruhr region (Germany). For the cities involved, 2010 was the year of transition, of de- and reconstruction. During the preparation period, each city tried to develop its own profile. For these cities, the year 2010 was in great part defined by regional and international initiatives as well as by a rich cultural program. Next year, Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) will follow this European cultural initiative. But what will happen to the former European Capitals of Culture?

    Based on the assumption that the inhabitants of each city gained very different impressions of the past year, the project UR - Utopia and Reality consisting of a magazine and a blog aims to provide a platform where ideas and thoughts on the cities can be exchanged. We intended this publication to be less of a documentary, and more like a pool of international ideas and designs from city dweller to city dweller of the Cultural Capitals 2010. The objective is to create a space for discussion, in which the concept of the Cultural Capital of Europe in general, and the future of each city in particular, will be reflected on.As contributors to this project, we aimed to find people in each city who were sensitive to the temporariness of these kinds of events and could articulate their ideas about this socio-cultural phenomenon. To share their impressions of the year 2010 we invited artists, architects and photographers from Istanbul, Pcs and the Ruhr region. We were curious what these people with different cultural backgrounds thought about the influence of the year of European Capital of Culture, and the sustainability of this influence for the future. Our interest was not only in taking a retrospective look, but also in focusing on the general features of each city. We gave license to the invited artists to share their projects in whatever way they would like, to compose utopias, realizable or fictive plans connecting to the present, or the future. This was quite an experimental approach, but we wanted to give space to the artists to develop their thoughts on what was really important for them.

    The participantsWith nearly 13 Million inhabitants, Istanbul is by far the largest of the three ECC cities. Istanbul, the centre of culture and business in Turkey, maintains a distinguished position among world metropolises with its unique geographical location and cultural heritage spanning thousands of years. The events of Istanbul took place under the motto of the four elements Fire, Air, Water, and Earth in testament to the cultural diversity of the city. Contrasts also play a determining factor in the socially critical review of architect Mert Eyiler. The local differences between the districts of Levent one of the main business districts and Gltepe an underprivileged district have shaped his futuristic architectural concept as well as his thoughts on the tense relationship between nature and city. A critical approach to urban changes is also characteristic of the work of Nalan Yirtmac, who is often using such media as drawings, graffiti and stencil, to express her ideas. Also she is active in the field of street art, relating her work directly to the environment. In her contribution, Yirtmac refers to the complete restructuring of urban areas and the associated, even involuntary, resettlement of residents. While artist Deniz Gl also deals with urban interventions in some of her works, in her contribution for the magazine, she focuses on another exciting topic. One of the reasons that there had been great expectations about Istanbul be-coming the European Capital of Culture in 2010 was that, since 1999 Turkey had held the status of EU candidacy, which is still an ongoing process today. With her project BEST WEST, Gl approaches the complex issue of Turkish identity in an ironic manner. The year 2010 was also used to strengthen the cultural relations between the three countries: exhibitions were ex-changed between museums, and artists and musicians were invited to each others cities. While the relations between Germany and Turkey are quite close, the connection between Hungary and Turkey is not as strong. This is so despite the long common history between the latter two countries, which is evidenced by the beautiful architecture in the main square of Pcs, for example, or the linguistic similarities Gamze zer reveals in her contribution. (Note: Sapka is both used in Hungarian and Turkish language as the word for hat). zer often uses words and images in a humorous way, inspiring multiple associations and interpretations in her audience. In a similar artistic language, Evrim Kavcar working with different media, such as animations, sculptures and perfor-mances shares her experiences from 2010 through visual narration. With regards to content, she deals with topics like spatial culture and the social constructions of actions in and through public spaces. Koray Kantarcioglu, who works with diverse artistic media as well (graphic, music, photo), created a number of pho-tographs in 2010, which have a character of street photography. The ostensive, incidentally taken snapshots of frag-ments, gaps and patterns tell a personal story about his impressions of city life during Istanbul 2010. Atilkunst, a progressive artist group founded in 2006, provides an overall picture encompassing all the questions and comments we wrote in our invitation to the contributors. In their collage, they refer to these different aspects in an ironical way. The group is very active in the virtual spaces as well, using virtual stickers and net media to spread their ideas and critiques on ongoing actions.