Travelling Academy curators Erik Wong and Sophie Krier try to materialise the idea of the ‘pluriverse’ with Jay Jordan and Isa Frémeaux and Camila Marambio in this action-packed TNL! Afterwards, they dive into the topic of water in İstanbul with Nur Horsananlı, Yaşar Adnan Adanalı, Eva Pfannes (OOZE) and Li An Phoa. The conversation focuses on the plea that Yaşar Adnan Adanalı made in the recently published Thirst Walk & Talk: free drinkable tap water for all İstanbulites. What is needed to make this happen?
In 2020, Sophie Krier and Erik Wong started their ‘search for the pluriverse’ as curators of the first edition of Travelling Academy. The book Designs for the Pluriverse. Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds by Colombian author Arturo Escobar, functions as their starting point and reference. The pluriverse can be read as a world that makes room for a variety of worlds in which there is no single dominant perspective. Wong and Krier are searching for manifestations of this pluriverse on the fringes of Europe. They share their findings in a series of podcasts.
After an extensive round of Warming Up Talks with artists, designers and other thinkers – to shape up the context for their travels – the first stop was İstanbul. Together with thinkers and makers based in Turkey and the Netherlands, Wong and Krier looked at the availability and distribution of drinkable water in the megacity of İstanbul: water as commons, as politics, as metaphor. Who quenches whose thirst? All the talks can be found in the ever-growing web magazine, and on Instagram where @insearchofthepluriverse functions as a digital radio guide.
The Travelling Academy is an initiative of Het Nieuwe Instituut in close partnership with the consulate general in İstanbul and embassies in Germany, Morocco, Spain and the UK. The Travelling Academy brings together makers from these regions and the Netherlands to learn how formal and informal ways of knowing can support each other in tackling ecological, socio-political and spatial issues.
İstanbul-based Nur Horsanalı is part of the Young Curators Group involved in the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial. Horsanalı graduated from İstanbul Bilgi University, in the industrial product design department. She completed her MA studies in Aalto University in product and spatial design and contributed to the Finnish Pavilion at the XXII Triennale di Milano as a curatorial assistant. With her research-oriented practice, she explores material culture, vernacular design and crafts, for instance through field projects such as Halletmek. In this, through a book and video, Horsalani documented 70 objects that demonstrate inventive uses for waste materials and unused objects, ways to circumvent municipal rules and prohibitions, and new interfaces for the public spaces of İstanbul.
Li An Phoa
Li An Phoa founded the Drinkable Rivers project after realising that a Canadian river that she could still drink from in 2005 (the Rupert), was no longer potable a few years later – the delicate balance of its ecosystem had been destroyed. As a “river basin mobiliser” and eco-artist she mobilises people to take care of rivers by organising pedagogical walks. Over the past ten years, she has walked more than 15,000 kilometres on five continents. In 2018 she walked 1,061 kilometres in 60 days, from the source of the Meuse in France to the North Sea, for drinkable rivers. She involved 500 children in monitoring water quality. She is currently setting up a network of Mayors for a drinkable Meuse. Li An Phoa graduated in whole system ecology, business administration and philosophy. As a systems thinker and doer, she connects people, disciplines and industries.
Yaşar Adnan Adanalı
İstanbul-based urbanist, researcher and lecturer Yaşar Adnan Adanalı is co-founder of Center for Spatial Justice (Turkish: Mekanda Adalet Derneği, or MAD), which was founded in İstanbul. Its goals are: to promote fairer, more democratic, ecological urban and rural spaces; to produce cross-disciplinary work; and to gather, accumulate and share knowledge that is innovative, qualified and public. The centre brings together transnational knowledge and cross-disciplinary expertise with local communities, to help to (re-)produce spaces and practices of hope.
Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg founded the cross-disciplinary design practice OOZE in 2003. OOZE is based in Rotterdam, and works internationally for governments, property developers, cultural institutions and private clients. OOZE works across scales, from temporary art works to regional strategies, combining an elaborate understanding of natural, ecological processes, with technological expertise and deep insights into the social-cultural behaviour of users of the built environment. The cyclic closed-loop processes found in nature are the foundation for each intervention and integrate the human scale within a comprehensive vision. Each project, whether an art installation, building, public space or spatial strategy aims to create experience and instigate change.
Jay Jordan and Isa Frémeaux
Jay Jordan and Isa Frémeaux are co-founders of Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Labofii). This lab brings artists and activists together to design tools and acts of disobedience and resistance. Unhappy with the world of performance and art (Jordan) and institutional education (Frémeaux), they created their own practice and approach in which there is always a ‘no’ and a ‘yes’ present, after the Zapatista movement. Since 2015, Jordan and Frémeaux are residents of the zad (zone à défendre, or zone to defend) in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, close to Nantes. From a reserved area for an airport, these 4,000 acres evolved over the last 50 years in a beautiful life experiment. A place where the gaps between art, politics and daily life are dissolved.
Camila Marambio is the founding director of Ensayos, a nomadic interdisciplinary research programme that has been collectively unravelling the eco politics of the archipelago of Karokynka - the Tierra del Fuego - for about a decade now. Besides this, Camila identifies and plays with the roles of private investigator, eco-sexual, permaculture enthusiast, and flautón chino player and dancer. Her home base is in Papudo, a coastal town two hours north of Santiago de Chile.