Art & Desire Seminars – November 2010 Session

The November session of ”Art and Desire Seminars”, which has been organized as a part of Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture program by Norgunk Publishers, Korotonomedya, KozaVisual and Pyromedia collectives, will take place this week, between November 22-26, and with satellite lectures on December 3rd and December 21st, at French Cultural Institute and Sanat Limanı venues. You can find a detailed program at the seminars’ website:


Our idea with this seminar series is to facilitate an exchange between contemporary creative practices and critical theories, with a particular emphasis on the interrogation of political and economic conditions surrounding cultural production today. The coming session of the seminars will offer highly interesting lectures, performances, presentations, and exhibitions from public intellectuals and independent artists in this context.

Our guests in the November seminars include two of the most prominent contemporary French critical theorists working in film, video and visual arts; Raymond Bellour and Georges Didi-Huberman. Bellour will present a lecture titled “Cinema and Installations” on November 23rd at 6:00pm at the French Cultural Institute, and Didi-Huberman will present his lecture, “Dancing the Desire and the Conflict” on December 21st at 6:00pm at the same venue.

One of our most exciting guests is Jim Fleming, a founding member of the Autonomedia Publishers collective in New York. Since the early 1980′s, Autonomedia Publishers has been an icon of global radical culture, with more than 300 books including very early translations of post-structuralist radical French theorists and Italian Autonomist Marxist theorists –such as Deleuze, Guattari, Baudrilliard, Virilio and Negri –as well as a wide range of publications from literature and poetry to urbanism, comics and science-fiction anthologies. Jim will give a lecture on “Autonomous Media: Theory and Practice” at Sanat Limanı on Friday, November 26 at 3:00pm.

We designed these seminars with the aim of opening up debate on alternative forms of cultural production and circulation. We are also excited to have the editors and writers from Express –the longest running and probably the most influential Turkish independent monthly politics and culture magazine in Turkish– with us to give a talk in this context. The Express crew will meet their readers at Sanat Limanı on Friday November 26, at 1:00 pm. Express’s sister culture and arts publication, Bir+Bir will also host a roundtable discussion with the presenters following Simon Reynolds and Halil Turhanlı’s presentations on Friday, December 3rd at 4:30 pm at Sanat Limanı.

Simon Reynolds, in our view, is one of the most interesting contemporary music and pop culture critics writing today. Besides his seminal books on post-punk era music culture (such as “Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84″, “Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (a/k/a Generation Ecstasy)”, and “The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock’n'Roll”), he has written frequently for Melody Maker and Wire magazines. Under the title “The Desire Called Underground,” Simon will discuss the internal dynamics and conflicts of alternative modes of music production and distribution on Friday December 3rd at 3:00 pm at Sanat Limanı. Halil Turhanlı is a notable cultural critic writing in Turkish; his writings on music, art and underground cinema have appeared in numerous periodicals, and he has published three books on the politics of music (“Music and Opposition”, “Sounds of Utopia”, and “Anarchic Harmony”). Halil’s presentation, titled “Strong Poetry called Music,” will take place at 1:00 pm on the same day, and will evaluate Richard Rorty’s concepts of “strong poetry” and “strong poets” with regards to musical works and the radical imagination they inspire.

Our other guests will include Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, who work with the New York-based 16 Beaver artists’ collective. Ayreen and Rene will present their new video work “Some People Have the Watch, Others Have the Time,” and talk about their artistic practice. “Some People Have the Watch, Others Have the Time” is based on fragments of a conversation with Albert Aghazarian videotaped in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, and it mines some of the critical questions of Palestine, while also offering a compelling interpretation of a world unable to affirm its own syncretic history. Ayreen and Rene’s presentation will take place at the French Cultural Institute on Wednesday, November 24th at 1:00pm. After them, at 3:30 pm, Berlin-based artist Sönke Hallmann will make a presentation titled “Language and Movement,” about his body of work,”Department of Reading”, in which he engages with reading and writing in performative settings, and draws attention to the adjacent space of reading, which cannot separated from the body of text itself. Alber Nahum, whose translation of “Letters to Bleyenberg” has been published by Norgunk Publishers in Istanbul, will present a lecture titled “Spinoza and Death” on Tuesday, November 23rd at 4:30 pm at the French Cultural Institute.

We are also proud to have two extraordinary live performances in our November program. The first one is an acoustic concert from Siya Siyabend at Sanat Limanı on Wednesday November 24th at 6:00 pm. Siya Siyabend gained a cultish status in the alternative scene of Istanbul since 1996 with their experimental performances that combine improvised storytelling and poetry with improvised music. Their performance will be in memory of Ulus Baker, whose work initially inspired us to create this seminar series. The other performance in our November session is a theater event from Tiyatrolokomotif, an Ankara-based experimental theater collective led by Bulent Acar. “Quad” is the first installation of Tiyatrolokomotif’s ongoing project for staging Samuel Beckett’s short plays, and it was specially conceived to be performed at our seminars at Sanat Limanı on Friday, November 26th, at 5:30 pm.

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