With Are We Human—the exhibition of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which ran for one month at the end of 2016—curators Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley were researching the fundamental notion of ‘design’. Their historic, cultural and conceptual exploration attempted to unravel the various programs and ambitions behind a (mainly) market driven inventiveness, which is presented as progress. This pushed the notion of design and the biennale as a format beyond their established definitions.
As the month-long 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial draws near, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) have revealed a full list of projects and participants. Curated by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, the biennial—which is titled Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years—will revolve around one pressing provocation: that design itself needs to be redesigned.
Presenting more than 70 projects from five continents by designers, architects, artists, theorists, choreographers, filmmakers, historians, archaeologists, scientists, laboratories, institutes and NGOs, the exhibitions will be spatialized by Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation and spread across five main venues – the Galata Greek Primary School, Studio-X Istanbul and Depo in Karaköy, Alt Art Space in Bomonti, and the Istanbul Archaeological Museums in Sultanahmet. The work of a dense array of international writers, video makers, and designer researchers will also be presented online.
Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, Curators of the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial, Discuss "The Design of the Species"
"Design always presents itself as serving the human," state Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, "but its real ambition is to redesign the human." Their curatorial statement for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which will open later this year and is themed around the title Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 Seconds, 2 Days, 2 Years, 200 Years, 200,000 Years, brims with reflective and often prescient statements such as this. All that will be encompassed by this Biennial, they say, will revolve around one pressing provocation: that design itself needs to be redesigned.
If one thing is certain, this Biennial will not come off as a 'trade show'. Wigley (New Zealand) and Colomina (Spain)—both Professors of Architecture at US institutions (Columbia and Princeton, respectively), theorists, writers, and critics—have exerted a profound influence on architectural discourse and pedagogy over the course of their careers. This Biennial, on the other hand, serves as their first formal foray into the world of 'design' – a field which few architects actively engage with.
In this exclusive interview with ArchDaily the curators discuss their intentions, criticise the traditional 'Biennial' model, and describe how they—alongside Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation—intend to spatialise the show against the backdrop of Istanbul – one of the great nexus of the world. Here, they also formally announce the launch of an Open Call for two-minute films.
At a media meeting this morning at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums Library, the curators of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley announced the theme of next year's event, titled “ARE WE HUMAN?: The Design of the Species: 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years.” The event, which will be held from October 22nd to December 4th next year, is intended to combine elements of both media documentary and archaeological project and according to the curators "will explore the intimate relationship between the concepts of 'design' and 'human.'"
The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts have announced that internationally renowned architectural historian and theorist Beatriz Colomina and architectural historian, theorist, and critic Mark Wigley will curate the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial to be held in the summer of 2016. Colomina, a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University and curator of the recent Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education in a Time of Disciplinary Instability exhibition (Lisbon Triennale, 2013; Venice Biennale 2014) will join Wigley, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University's GSAPP and renowned writer and curator, in helping to cement the biennial's international reputation.