from çokçok to zikzak

17 Feb – 9 Apr 2012

çokçok is a Turkish expression that means “an insatiable hunger for more”. The exhibition ISTANBUL ALPHABET – from çokçok to zikzak partakes of the special quality of the Museum der Dinge: the exploration of the culture of everyday objects.

The focus is on the çokçok collection accumulated by the curators, Max Borka and Anna Pannekoek, during a sojourn of 100 days in Istanbul. This collection developed in part from the things that the designers and artists left and the interventions that they performed in the curators’ home in Istanbul. And in part it consists of objects, sounds and images that Anna Pannekoek collected while wandering through the city, in a situationist and Istanbulite way: meandering, guided by intuition and chance.

“The point is not to look for high-quality designer or brand-name products, but for objects that are at the other end of the scale: everyday products that seem to have been in existence for an eternity without ever having received much attention. Naturally these objects were designed too, but not by just one person. Users have adapted and shaped these things to their needs from generation to generation. Although many of these objects are ugly, ordinary and commonplace compared with and measured against the official rules of design, their beauty is undeniable. They are expressions of a collective consciousness that is unbelievably rich.
These objects are found everywhere, but especially in big cities, and most of all in Istanbul, because they play an important part in the lives of the Istanbulites themselves, as means of survival. Istanbul has become the world’s model of a self-organized city in which millions of unregistered inhabitants have to reinvent their lives day in and day out. These objects are a great help in this process.” — Anna Pannekoek

The exhibition is rounded out with the works of artists such as Nezaket Ekici, and with products of Istanbul’s burgeoning contemporary design scene, whose methods and forms tend in the same direction as the anonymous everyday objects in the çokçok collection. The comparison brings to light what the Western design scene has lost: the ability to invent something out of nothing, for example; ad-hoc solutions; improvisation.

ISTANBUL ALPHABET is the second in a series of exhibitions on Istanbul. Each part of the series will appear in new forms. Challenging and surprising, but at the same time highly entertaining, the exhibition in the Museum der Dinge combines the essay and the encyclopaedia, the snapshot and the three-minute song.

Taking the museum as a place of negotiation, the curators will receive visitors in the exhibition, offer them tea, and invite them to discuss Istanbul, now Europe’s largest city. As a link between Asia and Europe, Istanbul has always managed to bridge differences that seemed irreconcilable, like those between East and West or between the religious and the secular.

Invited designers, design studios and artists

  • Erdem Akan & maybedesign
  • Refik Anadol
  • Ali Bakova
  • Alper Böler
  • Ela Cindoruk
  • Karel De Backer
  • Nezaket Ekici
  • Ömer Ozan Erdogan & Creative Bonanza
  • Gürsan Ergil
  • Aykut Erol
  • Arzu Firuz & Paul Huber
  • GAEAforms (Tugrul Gövsa & Pinar Yar)
  • Serhan Gürkan
  • ilio & Demirden Design (Nil Deniz, Demir Obuz, Mehtap Obuz, Sema Obuz)
  • Meriç Kara
  • Asli Kiyak Ingin & Made in Sishane
  • Defne Koz
  • Mashallah. Design (Hande Akcayli, Murat Kocyigit)
  • Tamer Nakisci
  • Nerdworking
  • Koray Özgen
  • Kunter Sekercioglu und andere