"Event"Architecture: direnistanbul+direngezi by Pelin Tan
“An event is political if its material is collective, or if the event can only be attributed to a collective multiplicity” (Alan Badiou)
Since the brutal police force attack on the 31 May 2013 in Istanbul, it brought an uprising at the following night of that Friday and Saturday where thousand of people gathered and built barricades in the streets that reach to Taksim Square. Trash, any materials from the streets and pavements used to construct barricades collectively by the public in order to prevent the police force to enter the streets. Even some materials that gotten from the police force (such as benches…) during fight have been used in the barricades that somehow claims a de-colonization of the power of hegemony. I think barricades are still presenting the oldest and effective form of settlement in general architectural history. The barricades in the entrances of Harbiye, Talimhane, Gümüşsuyu, Sıraselviler, Tarlabaşı…are all marking Taksim Square.
The facade of AKM (Atatürk Cultural Center) covered with several posters, banners and flags, which represent the diverse communities, ideologies and resistance groups. Gezipark is now covered with hundreds of tents and temporary structures, which expands mutually and gets flexible in any moment of resistance. This practice of ephemeral and situational dwelling, which co-exists collectively through an unconditional moment, leads us to experience our city and its architecture in unusual ways. AKM, Taksim Square and Gezi Park are the main symbols right now, which were already under public debate along the 3rd Bridge, other urban transformation projects in Istanbul that are forced by the government. In the last few years the public debate between the governmental authorities and local actors (activists, urbanists, architects, NGOs, Chamber of Urban Planning, Chamber of Architecture, academics…) did reach its intense peak.
In Gezi, free food, drinks, and any kind of needs are organized by initiations. Furthermore, a vegetable and flower garden already started. Instead of celebration, the resistance considers how to transform the occupation into a creative and sustainable space and non-violence manner. Also a library is set up collectively with left-overs of construction materials in which readers can share and donate books.
A bus that was used as a barricade in order to prevent the police force and protect the resistance has been used now as info desk by a political organization. A temporary mosque, a movable food collective made up with simple materials and tent, an over expanding open hospital…these are examples of in situ and instant architecture in Taksim square and Gezi. Straps represent the borders of each section and places in Gezipark that marks the function of the places; the straps expand or shrink according to people needs. It reminds me the border of dwellings in the movie Dogville (by Lars von Trier).
State-led proposed project, which is about transforming Taksim Square into more a controlled space of high surveillance, forced the citizens to reconsider the symbolic political power of this space. The discussion about the demolition of AKM that the government proposed since 2007 is still under dispute. During the resistance, the facade was covered and the citizen went top of it, the representation of the building totally transformed, which did also transform our experience to an architectural “form”. In that exact moment the question is; how we can experience an “architectural form” without its representation? When exactly this form becomes an immanent experience of itself? Performative architecture most often can be experienced during the condition of “state of emergency”, conflict urbanism, instant architecture and radical spatial resistance practices. The moment of “event” in the context of Alan Badiou’s philosophy; takes part in a radical way where the rupture of the system is realized. Thus this moment is a breaking point for the system where it doesn’t repeat itself but becomes something else, for other possibilities.
Relational structures that are totally embedded in the practice of resistance in the streets, barricades and Gezipark offer us (we the subjectivities in that historical moment) a moment of situations, a multiple, which is the “event” itself. Thus, in case of situational dwelling practices in Gezipark and Taksim: an “event architecture” of resistance.