BAK: Revealing the City through Memory | 2012-2017

Anadolu Kültür | Co-curator

The BAK project was initiated and co-curated with Övgü Gökçe in the framework of my work at Anadolu Kültür. It was realized with the collaboration of docIstanbul – Center for Documentary Studies and Geniş Açı Project Office (GAPO).

BAK: Revealing the City through Memory is a cultural collaboration and artistic production project that brings together young people from distant cities through a series of meetings, trainings, collective productions, exhibitions, screenings and panel discus­sions. It enables young people to work to­gether in recording the stories of their cities in film and photography projects. Artworks produced within BAK focus on issues related to daily life, public spaces, urban issues and social change. By introducing the young people participating in the project to one another, BAK aims to create an atmosphere in which they get to know each other and their cities better, and work together on stories of their cities through photography and video projects.

BAK was first realized in 2012-2014 with 24 participants from four cities in the east and west of Turkey – Batman, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır and İzmir. In its second period in 2015-2017, BAK extended its geographical scope to include young people from Aydın, Balıkesir, Batman, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır, İzmir, Mardin, Muğla, Şırnak and Urfa who were interested in video and photography. In its first two rounds between 2012 and 2017, more than 300 participants aged 18 to 28, engaged in the program at different levels, paving a way for open discussion and mutual understanding. BAK has now become an online platform for young people with different cultural, social, economical, ethnic and political backgrounds to keep an ongoing dialogue between cities through visual artistic productions.

BAK 2013 Program

Diyarbakır 2013 © Anadolu Kültür

Open Call and Applications | 22 January – 15 February 2013

Workshop | Diyarbakır – Batman | 20 – 24 April 2013

Workshop | Çanakkale – İzmir | 20 – 28 June 2013

Workshop | Diyarbakır | 29 November – 4 December 2013


İstanbul Depo | 24 January – 16 February 2014

Diyarbakır Sümerpark Amed Art Gallery | 8 – 26 February 2014

İzmir French Cultural Institute | 22 February – 16 March 2014

Batman Youth and Culture Center | 3 – 16 March 2014

Çanakkale Mahal | 22 March – 13 April 2014

Diyarbakır 2013 © Anadolu Kültür

From the Introduction of the exhibition catalogue of BAK 2013:

“Cities are our living spaces full of endless stories; they are spaces of memory where, between the past and the future, we look at something every day and they are full of sounds and images, some of which we record, but many of which we miss, or no longer remember. Traces of the social memory of the city can be found not only in the visual layers left behind by the stories of urban dwellers, but also in the habits of everyday life, passed on from the present to the future. There are also many places where memory is interrupted: A lost multicultural past, destroyed spaces, people, the overlooked, and those whose voices are not heard, or suppressed… We spent a year with young people from Batman, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır and İzmir, four cities from the east and west of Turkey, with different and multilayered relationships with both the recent and distant past, during which we looked at stories from these cities. The departure point of the BAK project was to look at the city, along with young people, in order to remember and narrate, and by doing so, describe the past via its relationship with the present and to hand down the recordings to the future with a vision full of hope. We set off with 24 young people with ages ranging from 18 to 26 and selected by open call from these four cities. Within the scope of BAK, these young people came together in these cities for three workshops throughout 2013, received training from our consultants on photographic and video documentation methods, and also on the relationship between the city and memory; and went on to carry out interviews enabling them to get to know the city and its people, and produced their own photography and video projects in groups. Many of these young people were seeing each other’s cities for the first time, and with the photography and video teams they formed, they went after various stories – some of which they knew very well, some of which they had heard about for the first time, some of which they were curious about, and rediscovered from a new perspective.”

BAK 2016 Program

İzmir 2016 © Anadolu Kültür

Call and Selection of Participants | November 2014 – February 2015

Workshop | İzmir | 9 – 15 March 2015

Workshop | Diyarbakır | 23 – 29 May 2015

Production and Post-production | June 2015 – February 2016


İstanbul Depo | 5 March – 10 April 2016

Diyarbakır Sümerpark Amed Art Gallery | 16 April – 8 May 2016

İzmir K2 Contemporary Arts Center | 27 May – 25 June 2016

Diyarbakır 2016 © Anadolu Kültür

From the Introduction of the exhibition catalogue of BAK 2016:

“A rooftop opening onto the city, a stone that is hard to digest, invisible people, and some who remain hidden, some who migrate, some who cannot remember, some who write on the skin, some who flow with the stream of life, and some who make life what it is… The BAK: Revealing the City through Memory exhibition, from the eyes of 24 young people, who met to explore each other and the lands they live on, tells stories about the country and cities we live in, and about people, spaces, transformation, the present, past, memory, and places far away and close by. Photographers and directors that go after stories from different cities, for a period that lasted over a year, took part in workshops, carried out joint photography and video projects, and turned the cities they came from and their identities into a part of collective production. During this period, when the differences between the west and east of Turkey have become deeper, and a shadow has been cast over the hope of coexistence, many issues related to living here, and living together became the subject matter of the projects of these young people. Transformations taking place in cities, the hidden subjects of city squares, the social and personal memory of generations that were forced into exile in the West, everyday life in the East during periods without clashes, women who have created an alternative living space, people who tell different stories with their bodies, and people living on the cultural thresholds of the cities… The voice of these young people that can be heard through these stories enables us to discuss what the past and present have to say about the future.”

Depo İstanbul 2016 © Anadolu Kültür

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