Over 60 participants announced for 4th Istanbul Design Biennial in a cutting-edge new format with education at its core.

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by VitrA, the six-week project will take place at six of the city’s most iconic cultural institutions. The biennial brings together a transdisciplinary cast of practitioners curated this year by Belgian born design critic and teacher Jan Boelen, founder and artistic director of Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Belgium, artistic director of experimental laboratory Atelier LUMA in France, and current head of the Social Design masters programme at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Jan Boelen

Between September and November this year, the biennial will unfold through a series of intimate workshops and curated environments. Each of the six venues will host “schools” exploring different approaches to “design as learning.” The entire program, entitled A School of Schools, will include at its core educators in dialogue about production in contemporary design. These all include perspectives of both academics and amateurs. The new format is poised to present multigenerational and transdisciplinary perspectives, which may prove fruitful in digital versus analog design debates.

Map of the Biennial

At Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, for example, a program titled the “Currents School” will explore “flows, networks, distribution, and hierarchies of information and subjects, both digital and analog, abstract and embodied, to critically examine new technology and systems.” At the Pera Museum, the “Scales School” will unpack “the fluidity of taxonomies, quantifications, and institutionalized norms, standards and values to highlight biases and assumptions in our social, economic and intellectual agreements.” The “Earth School” will entertain questions about the Anthropocene and evolution and about human scale versus evolutionary scale, unpacking how through systems of design we impact the planet. Over at Salt Galata, the “Time School” will take a more metaphysical and space orientated approach, examining how design is impacted by issues like hyper-speed and acceleration and how “speculative futures form paradoxical durational perspectives and the objects that dictate them.”

The event brings over 60 international and Turkish designers in a program that appears as diverse as it does multifunctional, emphasizing pedagogy as a key method and tool behind design thinking. The invited participants this year include:

Biennial participants include: [AI]stanbul (Ersin Altın, Amy Hoover, Burcak Ozludil, Augustus Wendell) (Turkey/United States); AATB (Switzerland/France); Abake (France/United Kingdom); Bakudapan (Indonesia); Kerim Bayer (Turkey); Cihad Caner (Turkey/Netherlands); Ali Murat Cengiz (Turkey/Netherlands); Taeyoon Choi (United States/Korea); Commonplace Studio (Netherlands); Jesse Howard (United States/Netherlands); and Tim Knapen (Belgium); Danilo Correale (Italy/United States); Amandine David (France); Teis De Greve (Belgium); Derya Irkdaş Doğu (Turkey); Eat Art Collective (Netherlands); Ecole Mondiale (Belgium); FABB (Turkey); Studio Folder (Italy); Avşar Gurpınar and Cansu Curgen (Turkey); Mark Henning (Netherlands/South Africa); Nur Horsanalı (Turkey/Finland); Ils Huygens (Belgium); Navine G. Khan-Dossos (United Kingdom/Greece); Roosje Klap (Netherlands); Land+Civilization Compositions (Turkey/Netherlands); Pedro Neves Marques (Portugal/United States); Margarida Nunes da Silva Mendes (Portugal); Alexandra Midal (France); Carlos Monleon (Spain/United Kingdom); Gokhan Mura (Turkey); Martina Muzi (Italy); Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios (France); New South (France); Camilo Oliveira (Brazil/Italy); ONAGORE (Okay Karadayılar & Ali Taptık) (Turkey); Thomas Pausz (France/Iceland); Ana Peñalba (Spain); Juliette Pepin (France); Charlotte Maeva Perret (United Kingdom); (Argentina/United Kingdom/Netherlands); Emelie Rondahl (Sweden); Helga Schmid (Germany); Judith Seng (Germany/Sweden); SO? (Turkey); Studio Legrand Jager (United Kingdom/Germany); Studio Makkink & Bey (Netherlands); SulSolSal (Netherlands/South Africa/Brazil); Jenna Sutela (Finland/Germany); Jennifer Teets and Lorenzo Cirrincione (United States/France); Unfold (Belgium); Ottonie Von Roeder (Germany); Henriette Waal and Studio Klarenbeek & Dros (Netherlands); Mark Wasiuta (United States); Lukas Wegwerth (Germany); Pınar Yoldaş (Turkey/United States); and Peter Zin (Netherlands/Portugal). More names will follow.