Istanbul: PASAJ / Seçil Yaylalı and Ekmel Ertan

PASAJ is an initiative founded by local artists, curators, and cultural actors in Istanbul’s Tarlabași district, a sociocultural melting pot. It additionally operates a project space in Galata. Pasaj primarily hosts socially committed, participatory projects by local and international artists which involve the neighborhood. One focus of its work is the use of public and semi-public spaces. The aim of the initiative is to realize temporary uses of these spaces for events and exhibitions, bringing contemporary art to livelier and more-dynamic locations, equally involving artists and the public, and enabling new encounters and the emergence of new meanings. Pasaj seeks to create a new public for contemporary art and implement projects that create new collaborative approaches between different artistic disciplines, thereby fostering self-awareness on the part of the audience and local communities.

Project Idea and Objective

The goal of the project is to communicate with area residents, especially teenagers, through the medium they are most commonly exposed to in their daily lives: the television series. Because Turkish society and, in particular, lower-income families avidly follow TV series, the project aims to develop a dialog using this familiar tool. The project will be based on the creation of a TV series that is written, shot, and produced by local residents. They will be invited to depict the daily reality of their lives, in seven episodes. Young people, especially, will take an active role in each step of production. In the first two months of the project, a large number of workshops will be held in which the participants will learn various aspects of the process, from writing scenes to shooting, acting, etc., thus acquiring the skills necessary to realize a production of this kind as independently as possible. Prominent artists and actors will be invited to assist, and thereby heighten the interest and attention of the participants. Street screenings will be held each week.


Seçil Yaylalı has studied, among other subjects, architecture, art, design, and urban planning in Berlin and Istanbul and works in interdisciplinary projects largely in the area of the participatory arts. She is currently writing her dissertation on Temporary Public Art Projects in Berlin & Istanbul in the architecture department at Berlin University of the Arts. She works in projects with various social groups, such as young immigrants in Istanbul, psychiatric patients in Novara, Italy, and youth in Berlin and Alexandria, Egypt. Her art embodies a thoroughly participatory approach and investigates the empty spaces of modern society.

Ekmel Ertan is an artist, curator, and educator. He is the founder and artistic director of the Istanbul-based amberPlatform (by BIS, Beden-İşlemsel Sanatlar Derneği / Body-Process Arts Association), a research and production platform for art and new technologies. He has served as curator of the international “amber Art and Technology Festival” in Istanbul since 2007, in addition to independently curating local and international exhibitions. He also works as site coordinator and director of international projects – mostly EU-supported – at the conjunction of art, technology/new media, and society. Ertan has exhibited his own photographic works and new-media installations and staged cooperative performance works at international festivals and other venues in Turkey, New York, and Europe.

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