House of Wisdom

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Artists: Mohamed Abdelkarim, Burak Arıkan, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Yael Bartana, Mehtap Baydu, Kürşat Bayhan, Ekin Bernay, Burçak Bingöl, Nicky Broekhuysen, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Cansu Çakar, Ramesch Daha, Işıl Eğrikavuk, Didem Erk, Foundland Collective, Deniz Gül, Beril Gür, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, İstanbul Queer Art Collective (Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergül), Ali Kazma, Yazan Khalili, Göksu Kunak, Mona Kriegler, Fehras Publishing Practices, Elham Rokni, Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand, Sümer Sayın, Erinç Seymen, Bahia Shehab, Walid Siti, Ali Taptık, Erdem Taşdelen, Özge Topçu, Viron Erol Vert, Ali Yass, Eşref Yıldırım, Ala Younis

Curators: Naz Cuguoglu & Mine Kaplangı

‘To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions – there we have none.’

Virginia Woolf, How Should One Read a Book, 1925

Throughout history, libraries have been perceived as places where information on life and space are organised, read, and interpreted. Their political significance, however, has at times been underestimated. As in the example of the original House of Wisdom*, libraries are also known as centers of research, learning, and sharing. This concentration and exchange of knowledge makes them important symbols of political power and the formation of cultural identity.

Based on the power of libraries, and Foucault’s notion of the archive as ‘the general system of the formation and transformation of statements’, the curators followed their archival urge and decided to build their own archive-library. To shed light on the increasing levels of censorship on information and the current sociopolitical situation in and around Turkey, they invited artists and researchers to take part in the project. The House of Wisdom exhibition aims to rethink the political nature of books, whose mere existence is under threat, ultimately asking the question: ‘What could be the outcome of collectively rethinking the notion of the archive, particularly when issues such as censorship and suppression of information are involved?’

House of Wisdom is an open space, a gathering place. Visitors of the exhibition are invited to enter the library-exhibition to read, discuss, collaborate, scheme, and exchange knowledge and ideas. Collective Çukurcuma organises public programs of reading groups, talks and presentations as part of the exhibition.

*House of Wisdom (Bayt-al Hikma) was a library founded in the beginning of the 8th century in Baghdad, where thousands of books in various languages from different regions, on philosophy, art, science, and history were housed. Researchers from different regions came together to make research, and work on techniques of translation, writing, and discussion.

** House of Wisdom is a mobile and ever-evolving library/exhibition curated by Collective Çukurcuma. It was previously shown at various locations in Nottingham (2018), Framer Framer (Amsterdam, 2017), Dzialdov (Berlin, 2017), and IKSV Building (Public program of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2017).

*** House of Wisdom Berlin is supported by The Art Department, IFA (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) and STEP Travel Grants of European Cultural Foundation. House of Wisdom Amsterdam is made possible with the support of Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Tolhuistuin and Stichting Democratie en Media. House of Wisdom Istanbul is realised within the scope of the 15th Istanbul Biennial’s Public Programme. House of Wisdom Nottingham is produced and organised by Queer Art Projects and made possible by Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants with the support of Nottingham Trent University, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Bromley House Library, Primary and Five Leaves Bookshop.

To check the e-book of the exhibition, please click here: House of Wisdom Booklet

House of Wisdom - Berlin installation views:
(Photos by Esen Küçüktütüncü)

House of Wisdom - Berlin public program views:
(Photos by Esen Küçüktütüncü)

Book Launch and Conversation by Özge Topçu on her artist book “Alteration Museum”
Book Launch and Conversation by Sümer Sayın on her artist book “Access”
Performance by Göksu Kunak with Lulu Obermayer, Martin Hiendl and Xenia Taniko Dwertmann
Opening Performance by Ekin Bernay “Burn like the Sun” at Stadt-Bibliothek Else-Ury

House of Wisdom - Istanbul installation views:
(Photos by Kayhan Kaygusuz)

House of Wisdom - Amsterdam installation views:
(Photos by Eva Broekema)

Performance ‘Psychic Bibliophiles: What the Cards Say’ by the Istanbul Queer Art Collective on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition ‘House of Wisdom’ at Framer Framed in Amsterdam. November 24, 2017

House of Wisdom - Nottingham installation views:
(Photos by Eda Sancakdar)

House of Wisdom Nottingham - Public Program
Curated by Dr Cüneyt Çakırlar (Nottingham Trent University, UK)

Istanbul Queer Art Collective
Visiting Bibliophiles: Fellowship of Books
Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul will visit Emeritus Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Gregory Woods. Presenting their Just in Bookcase, they will have a conversation on book loving, queer archiving and memory.

3 October 2018 Wednesday
Prof. Wendy Shaw (Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany)
Islam in the River of Wisdoms
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
Time: 19:00-21:00

10 October 2018 Wednesday
Misal Adnan Yıldız (ASA, Berlin, Germany)
A Feeling of Loss: Mutterzunge
Venue: Primary, Reading Room, 33 Seely Road, Nottingham NG7 3FZ
Time: 18:00-20:00

17 October 2018 Wednesday
Film Screening (introduced by Cüneyt Çakırlar, NTU)
Gürcan Keltek’s Colony (2015)
Venue: BON143, Bonington, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG
Time: 18:00-20:00

22 October 2018 Monday
Dr Aylin Kuryel (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
UPLEFTER: Workshop on Political Depression
Venue: BON146, Bonington, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG
Time: 18:00-20:00

24 October 2018 Wednesday
Film Screening (introduced by Cüneyt Çakırlar, NTU)
Shevaun Mizrahi’s Distant Constellation (2017)
Venue: BON143, Bonington, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham NG1 4GG
Time: 18:00-20:00