Çanakkale Biennial

Troia Museum, Turkey・2018

The conceptual framework of the 6th Çanakkale Biennial is inspired from the units used to historicise time: “Before the Past – After the Future” is preparing to present a selection of art productions that are directed to the horizontal (geographical) and vertical (historical) expansions of time that is defined as before and after certain milestones (BC/AD) or more objectively as its distance from the present day (BP- Before Present).

One of the main venues of the 6th Çanakkale Biennial is the Troia Museum that will be opening its doors during 2018 Year of Troy. Works that focus on mythological and historical aspects of Troy will be exhibited in the Museum’s Temporary Exhibition Hall. The unique spaces in the neighbouring Tevfikiye which has recently been renovated and transformed into an Archeo-Village as part of OPET’s Respect to History Project will be hosting film screenings and workshops as well as Biennial exhibitions. Biennial’s exhibition venues in the city centre on the other hand, will be MAHAL- CABININ’s events venue that was opened five years ago, and the independent cultural venues Bordo Bina, Sanatsever, and Studio Mavinil, all of which are founded in the recent years in Çanakkale by young artists and designers for various functions. There will be a video anthology of 11 artists put together by Videoist at the Troia Foundation Korfmann Library, one of the institutional partners of the Biennial.

Troy is once again on the World’s agenda at its 20th year of entering the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List with its unique existence that sways between an epic tale and a historical fact. Homer’s epic Iliad has been able to respond to both humankind’s curiosity for knowledge and authenticity and its need for dreams and imagination for centuries and millenniums thereafter. Homer’s epic and Trojan civilisation continues to be an inspiration for a diverse range of creative productions from high art to mass culture. Like all historical events, it gives us clues so as how to understand the context of present day’s social relations while continuing to be a reference for our cultural climate and collective memory with its epic aspect.

We could take another look at Troy today and contemplate how the history repeats itself in the ceaseless conflict between the East and the West or the North and the South and in the destiny of archaic struggles of the transitional geographies. Alternatively, like archaeologist M. Osman Korfmann did, we could reminisce it “as a communications and trade centre that is comprised of passageways and ports at the edge of the two cultural worlds and as an affiliation area between Asia and Europe” and witness the wealth and opportunities that the interdependence of cultures and people have created. The historicity of Troy is “a dreamed reality or a realised dream; an unprecedented rage; a tragedy that no heart can bear, a trick that turned everything upside down… Perished cities and hopes have turned into epics and dreams; these dreams and epics have shaped in flesh and bones and become Troy.” (Prof. Rüstem Aslan, head of excavations at Troy)