metropolis m

Witte de With Director Defne Ayas was recently in Istanbul where she went right after the opening of the Venice Biennale and has been sharing her daily dispatches about her observations with her friends via the ever-active Facebook. These updates were intended for her friends only, and we are happy that she agreed to share her personal take with Metropolis M readers.

Ayas says:” Every one and each person in Taksim is equally participating as well as taking the lead in this urban revolution. Those who have been there from minute one, those who arrived just now are all worth mentioning in these updates. Those acting as bridges, as shields, as mediators, those acting as messengers, historians, story-tellers, night-watchmen, librarians, doctors, lawyers, musicians, cleaners, cooks, film-makers, print-makers. At the same time, none of them would even want to be mentioned or singled out, because it is all about collective spirit, about shared resistance and forms of expression. It has been a privilege to be there with everyone to share the united front. The journey for all of us in the art world had started long time ago, but now it has certainly accelerated and taken a whole new level… I would like to remain hopeful that reconciliation is possible. No doubt that all this will have seismic shifts for the European continent”

[h1]June 11, 2013

First thing in the morning, I am reading my friend’s status update.
"This morning at 730 am hundreds of police and water cannon vehicles marched into Taksim. When they attacked with gas bombs, a group of about 30 started attacking the police back with molotov cocktails. These 30 people are clearly installed there as provocateurs, who are NOT from us, who are NOT activists, who are NOT among the people who resist. Curiously enough the Toma s (water cannon vehicles) which are able to push away and separate hundreds of people within seconds (as we have seen many times in the past two weeks) could not get rid of this group of provocators for over an hour now. Why? This is all a planned game to be played in front of the international media. The resisting people are still peaceful, they do not throw stones or molotov cocktails!!! This is a set up!"

[h1] June 10, 2013, 9.11am

At Hopper in Rotterdam. The daily flat white is accompanied by an unexpected conversation with my photographer friend at the counter there. “Benim ailem Yozgat’li. Annem AKP’li. Sonradan baglandi. Taksim’deki herkes Komunist mi gercekten? My family is from Yozgat, my mother is an AKP supporter, she veiled recently. She tells me everyone is a Communist in Taksim. Maybe I can go to travel for holidays in August again, when things settle down.” I try to tell her otherwise, but have to run to the office to find out from Annick how late the Dutch press went to cover the news. I wondered why. I walk to my first meeting of the day.

June 9, 2013, evening

You can have a super bipolar life in Istanbul. Looking at the expansive blue Istanbul waters this morning and keeping the social media turned off, one would never know that the heart of the city is in flames. Young boys descending from the hills to swim and dive into the Bosphorus joyfully. Fishermen cleaning up their mussels on the pavement. Sait Halim Pasa Yalisi- an homage to the historical kick-out of the Ottoman families from Egypt in 19th century – plays host to a wedding of conservative and rather colorfully veiled ilk- the kind of a wedding that Bulent Arinc (Deputy to the PM) must have attended last week and mentioned in his press conference the day PM was away on his trip in Morocco. Driving to the airport, the sun is bright, Bosphorus gleaming. At SAW, all the TV channels at airport cafe and duty-free shops are broadcasting French Open with a close-up on Nadal. Girls are sampling the new Prada Candy. But then I hear PM’s familiar roar, and find myself in the lounge. PM in his checkered Sunday blazer, accompanied by his amigo wife live on TV, with the grinning Mayor of Ankara right next to him. I don’t have a lounge pass, but ask gracefully if I can just look at TV. Receptionist lets me in and tells me how she can’t wait to finish her work and drive to Gezi Parki. She is there every night and is fed up with PM’s distortions of the Taksim story. She tells me about the six police officers who committed suicide from overwork.

It is super clear that PM already kicked off his election campaign. Otherwise why would he host 3 talks in 3 cities in one day to an audience of rounded up audiences of enthusiastic supporters? So far there is no alternative to him in the upcoming elections, which are in seven months. Any alternative leader would need network alignments, some form of serious capital backing…

The Turkish guy at the counter at Amsterdam airport tells me, "Sister, I am from Istanbul but never been to Gezi Parki. I never walked there. Is it really that important?" Just in time, I get a SMS from a dear colleague in Graz, "it is one of the ugliest squares ever." True that. It certainly needs healing and re-envisioning.

And yes, Gezi Parki is settled upon an Armenian cemetery that was used for centuries. In the 30s, the graveyard was confiscated and demolished. It had encompassed most of the surrounding areas around Taksim Square, on whose parts then various hotels and the state radio building were eventually raised. And yes, the stones were used to pave the ground of the newly built Eminonu park. Kutlug has been tweeting on this, too. As Karin put it in her well-written piece in Agos, let’s not only focus on this particular past only, but also on the collective enthusiasm stirred up now for the future.

Yozgatlilar celebrations are followed by a classical Turkish music concert at Lantaren Venster in Rotterdam tonight, so I hear from a diplomat friend. European repercussions of Taksim remain to be seen. After all, it is the same PM that visits Ruffa quite often, not only for last year’s 400th anniversary of Turkey-Holland relations, but also to discuss the second Bosphorus with urbanists or to do talks at the Islamic University, stone throw away from Witte de With. A quick call to Lidwien late night who said that at the square someone came up to her to ask if she was working for a long time in Cairo… Keep yours, your press cards and memory cards safe and close to your chests b/c in Ankara, police had been taking them away today, Ovul wrote.

This week together with Natasha and Vivian, we will host Landings: Sensing Grounds as part of The World Turned Inside Out summer program, featuring Rana at as the chief of the desk. Their beautiful text on Dragon Jar—arguably the first seismograph—developed by Chinese polymath Zhang Heng in the 1st century AD has been an influential image for framing their research project and will also be a highlight. With an inner pendulum, the Dragon Jar communicates not only seismic movements but also the directionality of an earthquake occurring vast distances away, which previously went undetected. Be with us. Xoxo,

June 9, 2013, morning

Unprecedented numbers of people in Taksim Square tonight. AKM rooftop has been emptied out as to avoid a building collapse. It is THE night of the football fans on site. Archrival football teams, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas gathered together united in their cause protesting the PM. Arguably, the largest crowd that Taksim has ever seen since its inception. Clean-up expected Monday morning. I doubt this crowd can ever be cleaned up! TV stations are clearly instructed not to broadcast from the capital city Ankara. Clashes and tear-gasing continue there with minimal coverage. Online streams come and go. PM to go to Ankara tomorrow. Exit plan? He backs off. He backs off with early elections and comes back. He does not back off and does a mini Tianamen. He does not back off and goes straight into elections in seven months and wins. And/or creates a distraction ? His track record in terms of backing off especially, when you consider the recent Kurdish hunger strikes is not very promising. 12 days into the resistance.

Tonight, every comment on TV is the same- yes "it is an long simmering accumulated reaction to his ongoing abuse of power." No new perspective. Almost all new pundits speak as if learnt by heart. In the meantime, TGRT shows Istanbul Modern exhibition, another channel an important spiritual leader preaching, another features a talk on Sacredness and Love in Islam, another 19. Turkic World Children Festival, IMC channel of Kurdish ilk just had the Anti-capitalist Muslim leader Ilhan Eliacik on, but the stream just got interrupted abruptly when he was criticizing the Islamic police mentality of the government.

It is all about the attitude of the PM, his Sultaneque character (see the new Economist cover this week), his ways of dealing and handling that everyone got united against. A minor sacred cow is the intended expansion of public space for the rising Islamic middle class, which the seculars cannot turn a blind eye anymore. This time it is also worth mentioning that the resistance is not led by the ultranationalist wing of seculars, which has been happening for years now, but rather a progressive united front whose majority has no political alignment and is super young. PM’s perception of the Gezi Parki is that it is the game of the crumbling fractions of the 70s leftists movements, it isn’t. It isn’t only. That’s just a piece of the united front. PM’s advisory council, which consists of people with nationalist and Islamist background, perhaps don’t tell him enough. And clearly, they tell him something else. His defensiveness does not help either. There seem to be some cracks in his party, some who subtly criticize his way of handling the youth, the situation. Some former ministers such as Gunay, some (former) close allies.

That’s it tonight. Way too exhausted.

June 8, 2013

I wish more and more Sinologists and old China hands could come to compare the opaque real estate investment schemes surrounding Gezi Parki these days, along with capitalism this time with AKP aesthetics, or one or two fabulous pundits who are familiar with the Putinification of Russian politics (minus his divorce today) to analyze the character. Some Berlusconi psychosis analysts would help, too. The pressure from outside means nothing to the man. He could not give a darn about EU’s Štefan Füle’s recent briefing or the New York Times ad that just got published with the efforts of Turkish diaspora in the US. He is keen on taking down the park, after all he has been working on its plan for 20 plus years, since he was mayor of Istanbul (1994).

The bet is how AKP can split, how much confidence can be entrusted into Gul to take the lead. Author Gary Golschneider’s book defies this. They are too compatible to split. Gul and Erdogan are actually best in friendship, according to the red Bible. Some friends say we knew it all along that the events would turn out this way, some say we trusted democracy, you come and go with democracy, they argue we had to support them to weaken the role of military in Turkish daily politics. We were naive. The truth is that PM got into more mood swings only after his surgery, after he faced mortality. Soon an urban rumour hit the streets that he’d die, but he didn’t.

This morning I saw a bunch of fabulous dressed women in newly restored Tarabya hotel, once a modernist landmark for the republican elite of Turkey, than a petro-dollar destination in the 80s, now a stronghold for the new Muslim money. They featured Hermes and Ferragamo headgears, not really Armine- a brand highly popular in Rotterdam South, and surprisingly open toes and sandals. Was that a statement on their part the day after? Their lunch lasted longer than my several work-related phone calls. Stopped by Garanti Bank- the employees seemed clueless about my friends who were closing their accounts, I guess my friends are not very endowed to make a lasting impact. They were equally clueless about their CEO being the target of PM’s late night affections last night.

My trusted friends in HK say the short-term financial consequences can easily be handled, perhaps a slow-down can be expected, nothing major. Another lead on business front was afraid of being wire-tapped and barely responded to my questions on the phone, especially regarding the “interest rate lobby” that PM insinuated started it all. Or was he just waking up from a long night of social media overdose? Soon after, I watched the AKP-supporting Beyaz TV where I see how PM’s bus last night hit a bridge. The EU summit played host to the PM this afternoon at the Swiss Hotel, where EU Commissioner Fülle gave the PM a mouthful over Gezi Park protests. Fülle started his speech by saying: Let’s talk about the present of Turkey-EU relations instead of its future.

His vision of the Park is much more holistic in its approach than that of Dalan and Menderes, urbanist Orhan Esen said today at SALT, Beyoglu. Esen’s accent was so incomprehensible online that I had to go off-line and go to the site to hear him talk. It is a vision that includes the rising middle class, their cars, and consumption needs but excludes their need to protest and to be just pedestrians there to transit. Taksim had not been a touristic site at all historically he added, only the last six years or so it has been a destination. I recall how in the 80s Istiklal was our school hang-out spot with all its red lights, and lingerie shops. Some fabulous leather shoe shops, hand-made shoes like that of Nazaryan nearby, too. Or Atos where we used to get custom-made shoes back in the day. Then, Vakko of course was the pioneer into the pedestrianification of the street. It was such a big deal when Mcdonalds opened there in Taksim in 1985. Esen noted that only recently corporate capital for culture has entered setting up places such as SALT and Arter. Gezi Parki is a global crisis with no money, no car, no politics backing it up, he added. It has been six days since a little garden for seeds is set up, an audience member corrected. It is also a bit of a tourism site already for revolution. Later this evening, artist Asli (Cavusoglu), whose event kicked off Witte de With’s summer program The World Turned Inside Out on May 25th said it feels more like a fair tonight. A man with a loudspeaker announced that the park is a freedom commune and does not allow the vendors to sell at the park, but the kofte grills were abound and congested the traffic tonight. Lidwien arrived, took us two hours to find each other, finally at Divan- the pub was full. She downloaded the fractured Egyptian scene over a costly lentil soup. We had set up shop with young filmmakers. They had the perfect generator, the perfect light. At the filmmakers corner, our core group of four drafted up our new alternative party. We have a good list now but no doubt we need more Anatolian tigers to form the backbone of our platform.

In the meantime, Ankara stopped burning. PKK leader said Hi to Gezi Parki before PM. Good night everyone.

June 7, 2013

Nothing can stop Turkey’s progress but Allah, he concluded. Joined by hundred of thousands who chanted Allahuekber. He is leaving with his election bus now. Basically, he kicked off his presidential campaign. Basically, he made no apologies and rather declared war on Taksim and all.

He started with a quote from poet-mystic Yunus Emre, then immediately targeted CEO of Garanti Bank who earlier sided with Gezi Parki, implying his removal by his boss immediately. He blamed the finance industry, which he called "interest rate lobby" for trying to split the country, implying all the companies betting in and against the odds in Turkey. PM made no apology or plea, and bountifully criticized the youth as well as journalists and artists for prompting / committing vandalism

PM will go to early elections I bet, and will win with a renewed mandate b/c darn it, there is no other party left in our country. Not even a central right, not a proper left. No one opposition leader, no one opposition party…Or he will just wait for the elections in seven months and win again?

June 6, 2013

Ankara in the heart of the country is burning. Rize on the Black sea shore, too. 80+ other cities lit up. According to the Human Rights Foundation, around 640,000 people participated in the demonstrations. Istanbul on the other hand was jubilant this evening. On way to Gezi Parki, we called Banu and found out that her little one was the mini "capulcu" featured in the press photos. Anticapitalist Muslims as well as Reiki masters were to lead a prayer at 9 pm at the park tonight, in celebration of the Night of Ascent. The crowds as a result decided not to drink beer tonight. Out of respect. When we arrived sharp at 9pm, thanks to our flying earth-plane as the taxi driver called himself, we run into a loud drumming circle playing "L’ombelico del mondo" instead. The teahouses had moved their ad-hoc operations to the part and were serving hot black tea. Mevlid simids, several versions of halva were abound. Round pastry wafers called Ka??t Helva (literally "Paper Helva") were flying like UFOs in the air earlier, said Gunes (Terkol). We missed to see that, but had some warm cake served instead. It was a bit the open air concert crowd. And more of course. Kasimpasa folks-main base of the PM- were there today. DISK union was also there. LGBT has been day from Day 1. The most sound crowd it seemed- the least susceptible to external manipulation, all united against PM and his politics, his verbiage, his abuse of power. With the most sense of humor. Women abound. Real Istanbul spirit. Walked by a pop-up exhibition of cartoons about the PM. Tempted ourselves, we joked about scavengers of "found material" for art. A guy popped up with an inflatable penguin when we wanted to make a photo of three of us against a wish-tree. His penguin was referring to the documentary on penguins CNN Turk aired during the climax of the protests. It reminded me of the new song Carla Bruni just released called Penguin in reference to President Hollande. And coincidently, the human rights lawyer I met on the plan was affiliated with Lawyers for Lawyers-an organization for endangered lawyers, showed me the organization’s logo, which also features three penguins. Charles called it a new Penguin conspiracy, jokingly before he left yesterday. He had arrived the day of the San Marco protests to join Esra in Besiktas and Vasif in Taksim and everyone else, the neighborhood where the clashes have been the strongest. Then, we arrived at a candlelight vigil for Comert who died in Antioch. Our hearts poured out. No doubt, he went into all our hearts. Nearby another couple was using candles, but this time to play backgammon. A tent was set up to serve the wounded animals, but then there were no animals in sight anymore, even birds that used to circle around above park had left the park, due to the gas and fireworks. A whole charger station for cell phones out of juice was set up, and a large drawing featuring a black archangel with logos of universities both in front of AKM. Soviet Generals Vesilyevic and Frunze of the Taksim Republic Monument were dressed up this time with flags of still active but slightly outdated-in-their jargon leftist groups. In front of them, a corner was reserved for anti-capitalist muslims, who prayed. We extended them the red roses that flower-guy had earlier given us in exchange for the simids we had given him. The ezan from the nearby mesjid went off. Taksim has always been a politically charged spot, especially for May 1st movements, but historically has never been a powerspot. Asli said we turned it into one now.

The taxi driver who drove me back home was the most enthused, he was in prison for 14 years, tortured in Bayrampasa, he lost his youth he told me but now is so moved that he works at night just to supply the park. After every ride, he takes blankets, milk, juices to the park. He was hopeful of Taksim Dayanismasi- the platform has existed for about 2 years, which met the Deputy PM for an hour this morning and passed on the demands of Gezi Parki. Even rep’s from the Turkish Doctors Union are part of this negotiation team. We are now in suspense awaiting the governments’ response. All deprived of sleep, just sleepless. Online. Watching Ankara.

June 5, 2013

Exhausted. Worried. Dittoed an email to affirm to a European patronesse that she should rather not change her travel plans to Istanbul this week and rather join the crowds. She seemed to think that it was a military coup that had taken place in Istanbul. Not this time, we all had to say, it is the people who are defending their democracy against abuse of power. Plus military had been dismantled few years ago ago, this is our time to fight it out.

Started the day by getting stuck in an elevator. Electricity got cut off. The not-very-revolution-friendly Samsung Galaxy was juiced up enough at this time, so I could get out before claustrophobia hit my soul. Arriving to the hospital this morning which is owned by one of the major conglomerates I was surprised to see that Halk TV was broadcasting in all of its units. Halk TV had been consistently reporting live from Day 1 but with the worst quality journalism possible with added home-shopping network aesthetics selling Ataturk merchandise. Lidwien wrote that she is on her way. Great I thought, no doubt she has it.

Quick lunch nearby, where I felt I am rather in Milan. Sleek suits, corporate bold heads, savvy sunglasses. The waiter with his thick hair-gel. A quick peak into Shirin’s show for the heavy-duty pain-filled faces from Egyptian revolution that she shot in photographs before I landed to a sunny Gezipark. Consistent talks of boycotting that place, vs. that place. Friends closing bank accounts, despite the fact the bank that they boycott is half owned by public, a quarter by a Spanish company. (You close your account to protest the 25 %? Weird, how does that happen? Who drives this really? Even though the CEO of the bank said he is a capulcu, even though the CEO of the TV company they own apologized in public?) In the park, a corner was reserved for Angry Kurds. Bumped into Azra and Dino soon after. I asked them to decipher the talk of Gulen in digestible bits. Still not sure what spurs this reclusive bachelor priest who is considered Turkey’s most influential religious leader to tears each time he speaks. All I heard from him was that badly intended prayers hit you back like boomerang. OK. Got it. Karma. Halil was scanning the burnt-down bus with his camera in the meantime.

Bumped also into Joost and Nevin who just got back from the Netherlands. He said the atmosphere in Taksim reminds him of the squatting movement that took on an increasingly anarchist tone during the 1980s in Amsterdam. Leftism, combined with creative rhyme seekers, and freedom lovers. Arrived to Istiklal to await the anticipated protest of the academicians. Sad to see the grafittied walls in Istiklal, especially that of the French Consulate and also to hear the rumour about our favourite nearby toast & burger joint we used to frequent since elementary school, how its owner dismissed the youth of Gezipark as a result of its alignment with a religious network. Certainly the lines in front of it were much shorter today. Other shopkeepers said they want the business back. Tourism joints, taxis are starting to get disgruntled for loosing business. Too many cancellations at hotels etc. St Antoin still a a sanctuary filled with sleepy visitors. The academicians walk should have been much more crowded. More variations on chapulling as a noun, as a verb by professors and students alike. Also in Kurdish. Ez Capulci Me. Saw Cevdet. Also Taiping Tianguo at Salt for possible encounters. Further talks in loops. Unproductive. Headed to a drink with my mother, and went to the street where my grandma used to live. Her Greek lullabies came from there. The Ottoman fountain that gives its name to the hood long submerged under aluminum walls, long gone. But two art-world friends both bought super little jewel homes there. Beautiful cherries. Golden Horn. Happy Birthday dearest Child, little Prince! Some more cards for activism. For Stephan. For Ahmet. For Camilla. Back to Galatasaray.

The PM is back in a few. Enthused crowds in tens of thousands waiting him outside the airport. Chanting variations of Allahuekber. What is on TV is not looking good at all. He will not make a press announcement. He will not back off….

June 4, 2013

So little hours of sleep. Early morning was spent glued to multiple inboxes (synched up on a few reports, signed off on a release/announced book news to its authors) and TV channels. Was relieved to see NTV Ceo so apologetic. Upload. Updates. Calls to Berlin for work. Looked at Venice photos of friends nostalgically already even though it was only three days ago. Took my mother who had broken her shoulder for a walk, and luckily got through the Milanese hospital to reach to a dear friend, who just got his kidney-stones removed and who was still stuck in bed. Watched skeptically Turkey’s deputy PM’s take on the police crackdown on TV.

Received Istanbul Biennale statement, thought for a blink second how life went ahead and fulfilled the promise of this Fall’s biennale premise ahead of time. Received a whatsup from a long-lost friend in NYC, concerned, and another sms about how to translate the Columbian word Pura Vida to Turkish. Hit town again, first time in day light though it was 7 pm. I met with colleagues to catch up, to see friends. We spent time at the park, singing, chanting, observing the mood, which was jubilant, we did not feel any tension in the air unlike the previous two nights. Then Çar?? Group * “Çar??, her ?eye kar??!” (English: ‘’Çar?? is against everything!”’) arrived. To great enthusiasm. Everyone got up and applauded. We run into another lovely couple. We decided to head to Kizilkaya to pick up our toasts and durums and join the already crowded rooftop of AKM. The facade was now fully covered with banners by slightly defunct but faithful organizations. I thought of my high-school years spent there. Watching Yekta Kara’s operatic productions, lining up for various film, theatre, and music programs of IKSV, playing games with dates. On the way to AKM, a human chain formed of all of sudden. In anticipation for an ambulance. It was so touching how it beautifully happened at the corner between AKM, Gezi Parki and Square. There were no more dolmus’s nearby, the fleet of battered American automobiles left over from the 1950s to travel us to Asia. Those were long gone. Soon we got the news that a 28 year old fell down the stairs at AKM, and the ambulance passed by with its loud sirens. We walked on, saw the local version of Jeremy Deller’s blown-up car, the graffittied-down Collectorspace, jumped over few more barricades. Stones, slabs of rocks, chairs, aluminum sheets. Phone call arrived. Vasif had just arrived to the park and Charles detoured. We went to Ozkan’s home, had Turkish coffee and did divinations. As we thought perhaps the night would come to a close, the pepper-gas broke again. Our eyes teared, we closed the windows. We turned on the TV, took on the masks. Then Asli and I hit the road. Luckily we got a taxi quickly which turned onto to its AC to ward off the spray. When I got home, it was 1.11 am. Of course. Went back to online to check my inboxes, news on Antioch, to read whether the news we got about the Morrocan King rejecting the PM was true or not… It is 2.22 am now. And I go off. ..xxox

June 3

June 2

June 1, San Marco Plaza, Venice

Artists, professionals, let’s stand united against state violence and for democracy in Turkey, following major crackdown on our friends in Istanbul, as to support protests in more than a dozen cities, all around the world. Today at 10 am at San Marco. Be there! #venicebiennale #occupygezi #direngezi

The night before there was a gathering at Osman’s home (president of AICA Turkey) to prepare the protest and statement. We were all in touch between 2 and 4 am over WHATSUP and Facebook planning what to print, when to meet, with news feeding from friends from Taksim, to whom to reach out, asking everyone to bring pots and pans to make noise as if we are in Istanbul.

The following morning, San Marco had its constellation of protesters at 10 am sharp. We all wanted to be in Istanbul but had to be in Venice, so we gathered not only raise awareness vis a vis the international art world but to stand in solidarity with our friends. About hundred of us I would say. The mood of the protest was passionate, fiery. We stand united against the state violence to peaceful protesters was the main message that we kept reciting and chanting… A joint statement release was prepared the night before, and read intermittently in English, German, and Turkish, by capable voices Övül and Filiz.

Artist Ali Kazma whose work is in the Turkish pavillion, Arter’s Emre Baykal, also curator of Turkey’s national pavilion, Charles Esche of Van Abbemuseum, Adnan Yildiz of Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart, Lauren Cornell of New Museum, Istanbul Modern’s Celenk Bafra, HG Masters, ArtAsiaPacific’s editor at large; Bige Örer, director of the Istanbul Biennial; Fulya Erdemci, fomer director of SKOR and curator of the Istanbul Biennial’s next edition, curators Beral Madra, Ba?ak Senova, Duygu Demir of SALT, Ceren Erdem, Övül Durmusoglu of Sofia Contemporary, Rampa’s Özkan Cangüven and Devrim Üstüngel Inanc; Derya Demir of Galeri NON; Filiz Avunduk of NON-stage, Selda Asal, Isin Onol, Aslihan Kaya, Esra Aysun, Arslan Sukan, Kible Nüma, older generation arts journalists such as Zeynep Oral and Serfi Ergun, PR powerhouses like Sibel Asna, former Vogue editor Ece Sukan, and many more I cannot recall. I wonder if it is good to mention everyone’s names actually…

It felt good. Good to be together. We created enough noise. Some of the banners were provided by artist Qiu Zhijie over night, and pots and pans from our rented Venetian apartments as well as from the HK pavilion dinner celebrating Lee Kit for the sound effect ;).

After an hour at San Marco, we all went back to our "media desks" rather WiFi zones. We gathered again at 2pm at the Arsenale at the gate for another forty min again then wanted to go to the Turkish pavilion but all our accreditations had expired, and except few diehards nobody wanted to push through the security of Arsenale so we all went to Giardini via Via Garibaldi and concluded there.

All photos by Defne Ayas, except when mentioned differently

Defne Ayas

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