in situ

Art, Politics and Other Things in Life — Updates by Hakan Topal

Page 2 of 11

Student Exhibition at Neuberger Museum

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – — – – – — – –
In Defense of the Othered

Social Design 2016 Final Exhibition
Neuberger Museum Café
Opening May 3rd, 4PM – Open until May 10th
** This exhibition is organized as part of the experimental Social Design Class taught by Hakan Topal, Assistant Professor of New Media & Art+Design. Over the course of the semester, students have been actively researching issues of political representation, social justice, and the question of others.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – — – – – — – –

ARTISTS-IN-DIALOGUE: Confronting Disaster



Contemporary Art is against the Contemporary War

Open Letter to Art Institutions

The war in Eastern Turkey escalates with increased brutality. The Turkish State applies indiscriminate cruelty against its population within the whole blockaded Kurdish region. Peace protests in Turkey are shut down with sheer force. The mainstream media are silenced, and mute. Everyday starts with news alerts of increased state violence and civilian losses.  At this moment, we believe it’s time for art institutions step up their support for peace through art, and assist artists who firmly demand peace.

Dear Directors, Curators, Educators and Friends,

We urge you to consider opening your street windows and vitrines for art. Even though this may be regarded as a humble gesture, we hope you will consider artworks including installations, poetry, video, and text that question the ongoing war, discrimination, and nationalism. We hope that this peace initiative will resonate with you.

Signatures: Hakan Topal, Didem Yazıcı, Ali Akay, Defne Ayas, Adnan Yıldız, Artspace NZ, Chus Martinez, Charles Esche, Cansu Çakar, Sinem Dişli, İpek Ulusoy, Elif Erkan, Serra Tansel, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Sabine Küper-Büsch, Mehtap Baydu, Emek Ulusay, Ferhat Özgür, Aslihan Demirtas, Nermin Saybaşılı,  Ege Berensel,  Power Ekroth,  Hrag Vartanian,  Civan Özkanoğlu, Khaled Barakeh, Banu Cennetoglu, Pınar Ögrenci, Fulya Çetin, Mehmet Ulusel, Timur Çelik, Fulya Erdemci, Mirak Jamal, Ceylan Öztürk, İnci Furni, Süreyya Evren, Refik Akyüz, Bonaverture Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Zeynep Direk, Haluk Çobanoğlu, Derya Yücel, Tony Chakar, Öykü Özsoy, Korhan Erel, Rupali Patil, Metehan Özcan, Caner Aslan, Marwa Arsonias, Kari Conte, Leyla Gediz, Erdem Taşdelen, Önder Özengi, Tuce Silahtarlıoğlu, Mohammad Salemy, Jonas Staal, New World Summit, Asena Günal, Ali Taptık, Aykan Safoğlu, Feza Canlıgil, Ata Kam, Younes Baudi, Renée In der Maur, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Demet Ortaköylü, Nalan Yırtmaç, Adam Fearon, Ali Kazma, Gökşin Varan, Lorenzo Sandoval, Zeki Coşkun, Ceren Oykut, Oda Projesi, Özge Açıkkol, Güneş Savaş, Ani Schulze, Nick Wells, Leyla Ustel, Neriman Polat, CANAN, Volkan Aslan, Sanatorium, Marsistanbul, Labaratuvar, Işın Önol, AICA-TR (Uluslararası Sanat Eleştirmenleri Derneği Türkiye Şubesi), Yasemin Özcan, Özlem Altın, Erkan Özgen, Didem Erbaş, Fırat Araboğlu, Dilek Vinchistir, Özgül Kılıçarslan, Yeşim Ağaoğlu, Özgür Demirci, Özgür Erkök Moroder, Ali Şimşek, Amira Arzık, Ali Cabbar, Björn Schirmeier, Başak Şenova, Ayşe Erek, Ezgi Yıldız,

Exhibition: Unrelated Matters

Unrelated Matters: Fantazistan (2015) & Uniform Cut (2015)
by Hakan Topal

Ongoing Open Studio & Installation: June 23rd – July 9th
Exhibition Opens: July 7th, 2015
Reception: July 9th, 6-8 pm

3331 Arts Chiyoda, #205 — 2nd Floor Gallery
6-11-14 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Japan 101-0021

Unrelated Matters, an ongoing installation by New York-based artist Hakan Topal—an artist-in-residence at 3331 Arts Chiyoda—is composed of two distinct but interlocking projects that deal with everyday realities, speculation, perversity, subversion and representation in digital times.

The first part of the installation, Fantazistan is a playful attempt to engage with Islamist ideology and its phantasmagoric gender narratives and newly invented neoconservative norms. In this case, veiling (hijab), albeit a very contested issue, is extremely sexualized under this conservative order.

Uniform Cut is a project that is part of the ongoing research about coastal communities and global waters. The project revolves around the idea of speculating possible futures with respect to the aftermath of manmade or natural catastrophes. Uniform Cut invites us to rethink nature where it intersects with the built environment.

The installation brings together fictitious and documentary images, web pages, 3D renderings, video and text to create an amalgamated context.



I participated a conference at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich between 20 – 22 May 2015.

This conference explored the role and potential of the museum in relation to human
engagements with the sea and major water courses such as lakes, lagoons and large river
systems. It primarily intends to address questions in the cultural rather than the scientific or
ecological spheres, though it will include responses to environmental factors and climate
The themes  addressed are coastal communities, fragile coastlines, water (its meanings
and histories) and representing coastlines and the sea. Each plenary and workshop session developed questions and discussions in the area of each theme. The background to these
questions is thinking about the ways in which museums reflect or provide evidence for such
discussions, and how they engage their audiences with their implications. 

Gezi Uprising Anniversary

Exactly two years ago, on May 31, 2013, I woke up to the news of brutal police violence in Gezi Park, Istanbul. Some of my friends were occupying the park to protect its trees. Frustrated and angry, I created a Facebook event to organize a protest at Zuccotti Park, hoping that I could get in touch with people to voice our concerns together from New York City. Within a day, almost 3000 people gathered to protest in Zuccotti Part. Occupy Wall Street friends were there to support us.

Since then, New York Gezi Group held many protests, teach-ins, panel discussions, conferences. Most importantly nothing will be the same for younger generations, the shape and nature of Turkish politics have changed forever. I am just proud to be part of this.

Teach-in: What binds us together?

The University of the Commons
RIT (Research Institute on Turkey)

Teach-in: What binds us together?
Solidarity and New Institutional Horizons

Michael Hardt with Nidhi Srinivas & Hakan Topal

Thursday, April 9th, 2015. 5:50PM-7:30PM****University Center,  65 Fifth Ave. Basement floor, Rm. UL 102****The New School, New York

Public institutions, which play a critical role in democratic societies, have been under perpetual attack since the 1980s; the 2008 economic crisis further highlighted their precarity. Facing budget cuts, salary and hire freezes, public universities, research centers, museums, theaters and art spaces are deprived from public support and are forced to adapt new neoliberal models. In addition, modern solidarity networks such as political parties, unions and associations are unable to imagine new and steadfast remedies for their constituents, leaving them in the mercy of neoliberal administrations.

The Occupy and other movements have showed us that, in times of hardship, we are extremely agile in producing alternative solidarity networks on a temporary basis. However, when these movements lose momentum, networks quickly disappear or are subsumed under old organizational models.

In this “teach-in”, together with philosopher Michael Hardt, Nidhi Srinivas and Hakan Topal, we will speculate on various pressing questions regarding to imagining new institutions, cooperatives and collectives.

· How can we transform our marginalized synergy into sustainable assemblages, which can eventually provide salient alternatives to current institutional structures?

· What are the new forms of collaborative production? Can the so-called “sharing economy” and new technical models provide some answers?

· How can we imagine novel institutional organizations without repeating the mistakes of modern disciplinary institutions?

· What binds us together around a “common” goal? Love? Friendship? Passion? Respect? Work ethic? Urgency? Political will? Ideology? Hope for a better future? ___ ?

· And, what separates us?

Suggested Readings:

Hardt, Michael. The Procedures of Love. 2012

Deleuze, Gilles. Lecture transcripts: Spinoza’s Concept of Affect.


Michael Hardt is the chair of the Literature Program at Duke University. His recent writings deal primarily with the political, legal, economic, and social aspects of globalization. In his books with Antonio Negri (Declaration, and the Empire Trilogy including Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth) he has analyzed the functioning of the current global power structure as well as the possible political and economic alternatives to that structure based on new institutions of shared, common wealth.

Nidhi Srinivas is Associate Professor of Non-profit Management at The New School in New York City. His research interests center on critical theory, civil society and post-colonial management knowledge. Srinivas serves on the advisory board of Research Institute on Turkey.

**Hakan Topal **is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He is Assistant Professor of New Media and Art+Design at Purchase College and is one of the founding members of Research Institute on Turkey, where he now serves on the advisory board.

Speculation Now

I contributed to the book “Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork” with a glossary entry titled “Intentional Failure

What needs to change in our understanding of reality for reality to change? In the face of radical uncertainty, an awareness that things could be otherwise is beginning to organize common frameworks for action and debate. Interdisciplinary in design and concept, Speculation, Now illuminates unexpected convergences between images, concepts, and language. Artwork is interspersed among essays that approach speculation and progressive change from surprising perspectives. A radical cartographer asks whether “the speculative” can be represented on a map. An ethnographer investigates religious possession in Islam to contemplate states between the divine and the seemingly human. A financial technologist queries understandings of speculation in financial markets. A multimedia artist and activist considers the relation between social change and assumptions about the conditions to be changed, and an architect posits purposeful neglect as political strategy. The book includes an extensive glossary with more than twenty short entries in which scholars contemplate such speculation-related notions as insurance, hallucination, prophecy, the paradox of beginnings, and states of half-knowledge. The book’s artful, nonlinear design mirrors and reinforces the notion of contingency that animates it. By embracing speculation substantively, stylistically, seriously, and playfully, Speculation, Now reveals its subversive and critical potential.

Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork
Edited by Vyjayanthi Venuturupalli Rao,
with Prem Krishnamurthy and Carin Kuoni
With an Afterword by Arjun Appadurai

Artists and Essayists
Arjun Appadurai, William Darity Jr., Filip De Boeck, Boris Groys,Hans Haacke, Darrick Hamilton, Laura Kurgan, Lin + Lam, Gary Lincoff, Lize Mogel, Christina Moon, Stefania Pandolfo, Satya Pemmaraju, Mary Poovey, Walid Raad, Sherene Schostak, Robert Sember, Srdjan Jovanović Weiss

Advanced Praise for Speculation, Now
Speculation, Now holds a critical mirror up to the speculative practices that pervade contemporary life only to come away with a generative theory supported by a lexicon. In the book’s course, speculative practices emerge not as edges but as engines of artistic, scholarly, and economic creation, with the lexicon framing core concepts for a speculative renewal: from Credit and Risk to Shadow Worlds and Witchcraft. The voices are many and the disciplinary perspectives kaleidoscopic. But the overall effect is brilliantly choral. Under ever increasing pressure from degrees of complexity and interconnectivity so great that commonplace ideas of sequence and causality routinely fail, speculation is reborn. It casts aside its prior dreams of mastery in the name of strategies of productive drift and play.”
–Jeffrey Schnapp, Harvard University

“The line between the present and the near future has all but collapsed, and Speculation, Now revels in this space, envisioning a world on the cusp. This wildly diverse book makes the case for a broader definition of applied speculation, not one limited to calculated risk or dreamy conjuring(though it represents both those extremes), but a process that represents an engaged way of understanding the present: through the active desire to change it.”
–Emmet Byrne, Walker Art Center

Glossary Contributors
Benjamin Aranda, Judith Barry, Katherine Carl, Celine Condorelli,Holland Cotter, Özge Ersoy, Reem Fadda, Luke Fowler, Peter Geschiere, Kenan Halabi, Orit Halpern, Graham Harman, Larissa Harris, Victoria Hattam, Jamer Hunt, Angie Keefer & Lucy Skaer,Joachim Koester, Elka Krajewska, Nicolas Langlitz, Marysia Lewandowska, Josiah McElheny, Brian McGrath, Metahaven, Sarah Oppenheimer, Trevor Paglen, Dushko Petrovich, David Reinfurt,Amie Siegel, smudge studios, Beth Stryker, Iddo Tavory, Chen Tamir, Elizabeth Thomas, Hakan Topal, Byron Tucker, Nader Vossoughian, Aleksandra Wagner, McKenzie Wark

Published by Duke University Press and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School

Available in bookstores, at online retailers, and directly through Duke University Press at

Flicker in white cube.

Images from Istanbul during and after WW1
– 1914-1918 German-Ottoman Cooperation. 
– 1918-1923 The British Occupation 

Source: Imperial War Museums (Collections)

Page 2 of 11

© Hakan Topal, 2018