House of Wisdom I Bilgelik Evi Amsterdam

Opening: 24 November, 20:00 – 22:00 at Framer Framed (IJpromenade 2 1031 KT, Amsterdam The Netherlands)
Part of Amsterdam Art Weekend

Curators: Collective Çukurcuma (Naz Cuguoğlu and Mine Kaplangı)
Opening performance: 20:30 – 21:30, by Istanbul Queer Art Collective: Psychic Bibliophiles: What the Cards Say

Artists: Mohamed Abdelkarim, Burak Arıkan, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Yael Bartana, Mehtap Baydu, Kürşat Bayhan, Ekin Bernay, Burçak Bingöl, Nicky Broekhuysen, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Cansu Çakar, Ramesch Daha, Işıl Eğrikavuk, Didem Erk, Foundland Collective, Deniz Gül, Beril Gür, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, İstanbul Queer Art Collective (Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergül), Ali Kazma, Yazan Khalili, Göksu Kunak, Mona Kriegler, Fehras Publishing Practices, Elham Rokni, Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand, Sümer Sayın, Erinç Seymen, Bahia Shehab, Walid Siti, Ali Taptık, Erdem Taşdelen, Özge Topçu, Viron Erol Vert, Ali Yass, Eşref Yıldırım, Ala Younis

‘To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions – there we have none.’

Virginia Woolf, How Should One Read a Book, 1925

Throughout history, libraries have been perceived as places where information on life and space are organised, read, and interpreted. Their political significance, however, has at times been underestimated. As in the example of the original House of Wisdom*, libraries are also known as centers of research, learning, and sharing. This concentration and exchange of knowledge makes them important symbols of political power and the formation of cultural identity.

Based on the power of libraries, and Foucault’s notion of the archive as ‘the general system of the formation and transformation of statements’, the curators followed their archival urge and decided to build their own archive-library. To shed light on the increasing levels of censorship on information and the current sociopolitical situation in and around Turkey, they invited artists and researchers to take part in the project. The House of Wisdom exhibition aims to rethink the political nature of books, whose mere existence is under threat, ultimately asking the question: ‘What could be the outcome of collectively rethinking the notion of the archive, particularly when issues such as censorship and suppression of information are involved?’

House of Wisdom is an open space, a gathering place. Visitors of Framer Framed are invited to enter the library-exhibition to read, discuss, collaborate, scheme, and exchange knowledge and ideas. Collective Çukurcuma will organise a full weekend of reading groups, talks and presentations in the weekend of 16-17 December, and there will several public events curated by 7 Hills Foundation.

*House of Wisdom (Bayt-al Hikma) was a library founded in the beginning of the 8th century in Baghdad, where thousands of books in various languages from different regions, on philosophy, art, science, and history were housed. Researchers from different regions came together to make research, and work on techniques of translation, writing, and discussion.

** House of Wisdom is a mobile and ever-evolving library/exhibition curated by Collective Çukurcuma. It was previously shown at Dzialdov (Berlin, 2017), and IKSV Building (Public program of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2017).

20:00: Opening + welcome
20:30-21:30: Performance Istanbul Queer Art Collective
22:00 end

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Installation photo House of Wisdom at Framer Framed, (c) Eva Broekema

Installation photo House of Wisdom at Framer Framed, (c) Eva Broekema

Installation photo House of Wisdom at Framer Framed, (c) Eva Broekema

Installation photo House of Wisdom at Framer Framed, (c) Eva Broekema

Installation photo House of Wisdom at Framer Framed, (c) Eva Broekema

Performance ‘Psychic Bibliophiles: What the Cards Say’ by the Istanbul Queer Art Collective on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition ‘House of Wisdom’ at Framer Framed in Amsterdam. November 24, 2017

Interview: Istanbul Queer Art Collective at Framer Framed from Framer Framed on Vimeo.

*House of Wisdom is made possible with the support of Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Tolhuistuin and Stichting Democratie en Media



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