“Innominate Spaces” is a project in the field of visual arts run by two culture managers from Poland and Turkey: Karolina Bieniek and Gizem Akkoyunoglu developed in the frame of “TANDEM Cultural Managers Exchange Turkey & EU II” conducted by the European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam), Mit-Ost (Berlin), Anadolu Kultur (Istanbul), Stiftung Mercator (Essen). This wide-ranging artistic and cultural project is a response to, inter alia, the lack of cultural relations between the smaller Polish and Turkish artistic centers, and the fact that 2014 years is the year of Turkey in the Polish public and cultural diplomacy. The aim of the project is the mutual understanding between artists and cultural institutions of Izmir and Wroclaw and the joint work on the theme of urban space and artistic interventions in it.
In the planning phase of the project there has been increased social unrest related to the confrontational stances and actions of the state authorities. The escalation of these events was related to the interference of the state in the space of the park Gezi and Taksim Square. These events bearing signs of the revolution had a major impact on this project. Carnival of arts of all kinds, from what we saw on the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, was a major intervention in the public space of Turkey ever. So great that the 2014 edition of, having international importance, Istanbul Biennial, which took place after the events in Gezi, was described that could not be carried out. After Gezi Turks have a great need to work in public spaces. They expect art to go out on the streets. They want art to be socially engaged, not just “for art’s sake”.
Due to the fact that the process of education of young artists in Turkey is, from the perspective of the average creator of culture in the EU, very traditional, in the context of public talk “Art for social change?” Karolina Bieniek (November 2013) presented documentation of artistic interventions of Polish avant-garde artists in public spaces, such as: Paul Althamer, Ewa Partum, the Orange Alternative, or the achievements of SURVIVAL Art Review. The abovementioned presentation aroused great interest and stimulated vivid discussion.
Through our continued cooperation with Izmir, we have a great opportunity to highlight the importance and achievements of Polish socially engaged art. On the one hand, the Turkish recipient will be able to draw from the work of the eminent Polish artist Tomasz Opania, on the other hand – to participate in in-depth lectures on the history of artistic interventions in public spaces of Poland and the objectives and activities planned for the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 presented by artist and curator Michał Bieniek. We are confident that these measures will enhance the visibility of the activities of Polish artists in Turkey, as well as contribute to initiate new forms of cooperation.