READING GROUP – 1st semester

Founded by Gökcan Demirkazık, Mine Kaplangı and Naz Cuguoğlu, Collective Çukurcuma Reading Group will have monthly meetings and invite our friends to assign a reading, we will read, talk and discuss.



Date –  Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
Location – Magritte Cafe
Number of participants – 7
Selected Text – Suggested texts from the 9th Berlin Biennale

Link for the texts –
Fear of Content – Rob Horning
Geopolitics of Hibernation – McKenzie Wark
Cosmic Anxiety – Boris Groys
The Time Complex Postcontemporary – Armen Avanessian & Suhail Malik

Discussion questions –

– How do we define “post-contemporary” in arts?
– What are the key words for this year’s biennial?
– How would you present yourself to a content in the past? / How parody is not pure content?
– Today we no longer have a linear time, the future happens before the present, time arrives from the future. Discuss why?
– Today, why subjectivity has become a technical construction?



Date –  Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Location – MUZ
Number of participants – 6
Selected Text – Elmgreen & Dragset: Trilogy (first two chapter)

Link for the texts –

Discussion questions –

What do you think the title and the conceptual frame of the 15th Istanbul Biennial be?
In which venues is this edition going to be held?

Will the Biennial mostly consist of solo presentations or group shows?

Which artists are going to take part in the Biennial?

What will the public programme and parallel events be like?

What kind of connections will be built within the city through this biennial?

Which part of the 15th Istanbul Biennial will be the most talked about,the most appreciated and the most criticized?

What kind of successes and failures should we anticipate?



Date –  Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Location – Alt
Number of participants – 10
Selected Text – Marrakech Biennale’s curatorial text and the artists’ books

Link for the texts –
Curatorial Text –
Artists’ Books –

Discussion questions –

· What are the key words in the curatorial text that do not seem related to “art”? What took our attention?

· What do the “new” and “now” stand for in the curatorial text?

· Can we use these key words to make sentences defining “now”?

· What is the position of Morocco regarding “Arab” and “Africa” world as suggested in the text?

· Would you be impressed with this biennial if you could visit?

Discussed Artists:
·Tarek Atoi
·Dana Awartani
·Fatiha Zemmouri
·Bouchra Khalili
·Ahmed Bouanani
·Haig Aivazian
·Rayyane Tabet
·The Otolith Group



Date –  Saturday, March 26th, 2016
Location – Leslie’s House, Teşvikiye
Number of participants – 10
Selected Text – We watched a documentary called “Future of Art” by Erik Niedling and Ingo Niermann

Link for the documentary –

Discussion questions –

– What will be the “future of art” according to Hans Ulrich Obrist (co-director of Serpentine Galleries)?
(suggested reading –

– The four main chapters from the documentary; “Investigation”,”Creation”,”Incubation”,”Presentation”. How they are related with the artists, curators, collectors and directors that have been chosen for each chapter?

– What do we know about the artist Erik Niedling’s project called “Pyramid Mountain”?

– What does “future of art” mean for these featured artists, curators, collectors, and critics?

– Is this really a documentary for seeking answers for the most common question in the art world or is it just a trailer for Erik Niedling’s art project?



Date – Thursday, March 10th, 2016
Location – Minoa Cafe
Number of participants – 5
Selected Text –  “Artificial Hells-Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship” by Claire Bishop (pages 11-77)

Link for the text –

Discussion questions –

– We decided to use the term “katılımcı sanat” for the Turkish equivalent of “participatory art.”

– Where does Claire Bishop situate her writing project on participatory art vis-à-vis other writings on the same subject?

– What is the regime of aisthesis? Does Bishop outline criteria for aesthetic evaluation in the first two chapters, or does she only describe the boundaries of this regime?

– What form does critical negativity take in an act perceived as a socially constructive act (such as Tenantspin by Superflex)? How can we locate it?



Date – Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
Location – Space Debris Art
Number of participants – 11
Selected Text –  “Bodies that Matter” by Judith Butler (first and last chapters)
“Death of a Mannequin” by Mahrengiz Kar

Link for the texts – “Bodies that Matter” by Judith Butler – first chapter called “Bodies that Matter”

Click to access ButlerBodiesThatMatterEx.pdf

“Bodies that Matter” by Judith Butler – last chapter called “Critically Queer”

“Death of a Mannequin” by Mahrengiz Kar

Discussion questions –

– What is gender performativity?

– How are we to understand the constitutive and compelling status of gender norms without falling into the trap of cultural determinism?

– How precisely are we to understand the ritualized repetition by which such norms produce and stabilize not only the effects of gender but the materiality of sex?

– Can political discourse actually create a positive dialogue on the topic of the culturally determined model of the gender and the sexed body or is it limiting on the contrary?

– How is the public image of ‘queers’–the constitutive ‘outside’ of heteronormative society–forged and propagated?

– What does sexed bodies mean?



Date – Thursday, February 10th, 2016
Location – Cafe Lumiere
Number of participants – 7
Selected Text –
“Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway

Link for the text –
Link for the Donna Haraway’s “from cyborgs to companion species” lecture –

Discussion questions –

– How do we define cyborgs as political identities?

– What do we think about Haraway’s strong criticism on the feminist movement after the second world war?

– What is the main reason of the homework economy’s rising in the “New Industrial Revolution” according to Haraway?

– What are the connections & relations between the cyborgs and the companion species according to Haraway’s lecture?

– From Haraway’s “Cyborg writing is about the power to survive” statement, we discussed cyborg writings and cyborg authors.

– What is the difference between ‘weaving’ and ‘networking’?


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Date – Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Location – Ark Kültür
Number of participants – 11
Selected Text –
“Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway

Link for the text –

Discussion questions –

– At the center of Haraway’s ‘ironic faith’ is ‘blasphemy. How does one define blasphemy (in a non-religious context)? How is blasphemy related to ‘cyborgs’?

– What is Haraway’s attitude towards earlier wave feminists?

– Can there ever be a post-gender society, when biological differences are so determining in our current society?

– Will people not even display ‘marks of their gender’?



Date – Wednesday, January 6th, 2016
Location – Cuma Cafe
Number of participants – 5
Selected Text –
“The Experiential Turn” by Dorothea von Hantelmann

Link for the text –

Discussion questions –

– How do we define “performativity” in the context of art?

– What is the main relation between ‘Minimal art’ and ‘the experiential turn’ regarding the text?

– What do we think about Schulze’s theory of ‘the experience society’? And how is this theory grounded differently in Western and Eastern societies?

– What are the connections and the differences between Tino Sehgal’s ‘This objective of that object’ performance and James Coleman’s ‘Box’ installation regarding a phenomenological model of experience?

– Can we discuss the notion of aesthetic experience without considering social and cultural contexts of art?

– What is the main difference between ‘live art’ and ‘performance art’? When did we begin to perceive ‘the act’ as a performance?

– How do we decolonize an understanding of “performance” and “performativity”? What/who are some non-Western reference points?

– How is the entertainment sector in Turkey implementing the findings of Schulze’s “experience society” to their operating models?

– Antonio Negri writes, “[the performative] does not opens and does not close existence, unceasingly.” Can this be definitive definition for performativity? Do the performing arts fit within this framework?


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Date – Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Location – NO 19 Dining, Çukurcuma
Number of participants – 8
Selected Text – Arthur Danto’s ‘What is art?’ (Chapter I-II) (Chapter III is optional)

Link for the text –

Discussion questions –

– With abstraction and readymades in 20th century, art has become hard to define, but do we really need a definition, why?

– What do we think about Morris Weitz’s ‘open concept’ of art?

– What do we think about George Dickie’s ‘institutional theory of art’? (what art is decided by art world, anyone related to art) – Is it hard to defeat this theory? Is art pretty institutionalized?

– Arthur Danto defines art as the embodied meaning but what about the works with no meaning? (For example we discussed that artist Farid Rasulov from Azerbaijan (who also participated in 53rd Venice Biennial) insists that he has absolutely meant nothing.)

– What does ’embodied meaning’ mean? (Different approaches from Plato’s, Descartes’ and Wittgenstein’s theories)

– Who decides that there is an ’embodied meaning’ in an artwork? (so is it going back to the institutional theory of art?)

– What do we think about Danto’s definition of art as a ‘wakeful dream’ ? What references does it have in philosophy?



Date – Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Location – maumau
Number of participants – 5
Selected Text –
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev’s introduction text “SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms”

Suggested readings from Anthology part –
Italo Calvino’s text – page 203
Leon Trotsky interview – page 150

Link for the online catalogue:


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Date – Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Location – BLOK art space
Number of participants – 6
Selected Text – Geopolitics of Sensing and Knowing
On (De)Coloniality, Border Thinking, and Epistemic Disobedience by Walter Mignolo

Link for the text –


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