An open letter to the curators, artists, participants of the 11th International Istanbul Biennial and to all artists and art-lovers
We have to stop pretending that the popularity of politically engaged art within the museums, and markets over the last few years has anything to do with really changing the world. We have to stop pretending that taking risks in the space of art, pushing boundaries of form, and disobeying the conventions of culture, making art about politics makes any difference. We have to stop pretending that art is a free space, autonomous from webs of capital and power.
It’s time for the artist to become invisible. To dissolve back into life.
We have read the conceptual framework of the 11th International Istanbul Biennial with great interest and a grin on our faces. We have long understood that the Istanbul Biennial aims at being one of the most politically engaged transnational art events. And what a coincidence! This year the Biennial is quoting comrade Brecht, dropping notions such as neolibreal hegemony, and riding high against global capitalism. We kindly appreciate the stance but we recognize that art should have never existed as a separate category from life. Therefore we are writing you to stop collaborating with arm dealers such as the Koç Holding which white wash themselves in warm waters of the global art scene and invite you to the life, the life of resistance.
The curators wonder whether Brecht’s question ‘What Keeps Mankind Alive’ is equally urgent today for us living under the neoliberal hegemony. We add the question: ‘What Keeps Mankind Not-Alive?’. We acknowledge the urgency in these times when we do not get free healthcare and education, our right to our cities our squares and streets are taken by corporations, our land, our seeds and water are stolen, we are driven into precarity and a life without security, when we are killed crossing their borders and left alone to live an uncertain future with their potential crises. But we fight. And we resist in the streets not in corporate spaces reserved for tolerated institutional critique so as to help them clear their conscience. We fought when they wanted to kick us out of our neighborhoods, from our houses in Sulukule, Gülensu and Ayazma, we also fought against those who would smear the land with cyanide to search for gold in Bergama and the Kaz Mountains, those who aggrieved hazelnut producers in Giresun and cotton producers in Cukurova, those who blackened the lives of jeans sandblasting workers with the silicosis disease, making them work for 12 hours a day in unhealthy conditions in workshops, those who turned the docks into a death camp at Tuzla by not providing the workers safe working conditions, those who endanger the lives of the people in the region in Sinop and Akkuyu by wishing to construct nuclear power plants, and those who caused workers in Desa and Yorsan to be fired for registering with trade unions. And our fight and hope keep us alive.
The curators also point out that the one of the crucial questions of this Biennial is “how to ‘set pleasure free,’ how to regain revolutionary role of enjoyment”. We set pleasure free in the streets, in our streets. We were in Prague, Hong Kong, Athens, Seattle, Heilegendamm, Genoa, Chiapas and Oaxaca, Washington, Gaza and Istanbul…. Revolutionary role of enjoyment is out there and we cherish it everywhere because we need to survive and we know that we are changing the world with our words, with our acts, with our laughter. And our life itself is the source of all sorts of pleasure.
And we are in İstanbul and preparing ourselves to welcome 13.000 delegates of the IMF and the World Bank as we do wherever they go. We declared that we are not hospitable. We will take it to the streets in the carnival of resistance (1-8 October) and shut their meetings down down.
Join the resistance and the insurgence of imagination! Evacuate corporate spaces, liberate your works. Let’s prepare works and visuals (poster, sticker, stencil etc.) for the streets of the resistance days. Let’s produce together, not within the white cube, but in the streets and squares during the resistance week! Creativity belongs to each and every of us and can’t be sponsored.
Long live global insurrection!
Resistanbul Commissariat of Culture
Resistanbul-Resistance Days Coordination Against IMF and World Bank will work in September for the preparation and mobilization of Resistance Days activities and actions. The exact date of the Visuals Workshop can be followed from the website. For your participation, suggestions, and more revolutionary information: email@example.com
Istanbul Resistance to IMF and World Bank Begins
In the evening of 5 August, people who had followed the invitation of the Direnistanbul platform gathered in Taksim Square to protest against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
On 6 and 7 October, the two institutions will convene in Istanbul for their annual meeting. The Direnistanbul organisation has declared the week of 1-8 October a week of protests.
At yesterday’s gathering, around 100 people told the IMF and Worldbank, “Don’t Come!”
They asked others who oppose the institutions to join their protests.
The Bandista group supported the demonstration with music.
The demonstrators marched from Taksim Square to Galatasaray Highschool, shouting slogans such as “Capitalism kills in war and peace” and “Millions are hungry, occupied, long live global uprising”.
Speaking to business daily Referans, Marwan Muasher, the senior vice president of the World Bank, says Turkey is well equipped to overcome the current crisis. Muasher also warns police forces not to use excessive violence against protestors during the Oct. 6-7 annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
As Turkey transforms from a “major borrower” to a “donor nation,” it is appropriate that the World Bank-IMF annual meeting is held in Istanbul on Oct. 6,7, according to a senior World Bank official.
Speaking to business daily Referans, Marwan Muasher, the senior vice president of the Washington-based World Bank, also said security forces should not be too harsh on the anticipated protesters.
“This year we chose Istanbul for many reasons,” he said, speaking in Ankara Tuesday. “Turkey is a very important country both in the region and in the world. It is at the crossing of two major continents; it is a country that is an emerging economy, a member of the G-20, a member of the United Nations Security Council.” Turkey is transforming from being a major borrower from the World Bank to being a donor, he noted.
Muasher, a Jordanian national, expects about 13,000 participants from almost all 185-member countries of the World Bank to join the annual meeting. “We also expect a number of civil society organizations,” he said. “Around 650-700 individuals [from such groups] usually register for accreditation and 400 join in the meetings every year. [This year] we might see more civil society groups due to the location of Turkey.”
Calling on police forces:
Calling on Istanbul police “not to use pepper spray” against protesters during the meeting, Muasher said that civil society has always been a key part of the process. “Even if they criticize the Bank, there is no reason to hurt [them],” he continued. “What is important is that the protests should commence peacefully and in an orderly fashion.”
Turkey hosted the IMF-World Bank annual summit in 1955 for the first time, and this year it will be the host again after 54 years. The summit will be held at the Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center.
Commenting on Turkey’s role in the global economy, Muasher said the country “can play a key role as a developing country that has achieved very high growth and that has extensive ties with both the developing and developed world.”
“In that sense, Turkey can play a key role as a member of the G-20 and beyond,” he said.
Muasher also said the World Bank “agrees with many voices in the poorest countries who feel that they have been left out of the equation.”
“[Another] measure that we feel is important is to be on guard against [the threat of] protectionism,” he told Referans. “With unemployment becoming a big problem in the current financial crisis, there is a concern that it might [trigger] protectionist measures in many countries. We continue to be on guard against that.”
The Turkish economy is expected to experience a “significant contraction” this year as unemployment rises. But due to “sound macro-economic measures,” implemented since the aftermath of the 2001 crisis, it is still in a good position, Muasher argued. “The danger of the crisis to continue for a long time in Turkey is very remote,” he said.
Muasher joined the World Bank as senior vice president of external affairs on March 16, 2007 from his most recent position at the Jordanian Senate. His career has spanned the areas of development, diplomacy, civil society and communications.
Kaynak: Gözlem gazetesi
Abuja — Nigeria and the World Bank yesterday signed a $100m agreement in what is seen as a major push to eradicate malaria in the country. The fund is an additional financing for the malaria control booster project.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, which took place at the Ministry of Finance, Abuja, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Onno Ruhl, said Nigeria’s efforts towards the eradication of malaria in the country was on course.
He commended the exemplary leadership provided for the fight against malaria by the Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin. He said the World Bank was confident that with the exemplary antecedents of the minister in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Nigeria would triumph in the fight against the disease.
He said this was already manifest given the concerted efforts and integrated approach adopted, especially the involvement of the faith community in the malaria control efforts.
He noted that US President, Barack Obama , while in Ghana commended the initiative adopted in the fight against malaria where the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities were being partnered by government.
In his remarks, the Health Minister, Professor Osotimehin, assured that mosquito nets would soon be distributed in the country in large quantities.
“When we started the AIDS treatment in Nigeria, there were cases of people stealing the drugs to sell on the open market, but when we flooded the country with the drugs and we were administering it for free to HIV/AIDS patients, the black market for it was completely wiped out.
“In the same manner, we are distributing 60 million nets in the country free of charge and this will be coming along with free treatment for children and other measures with which the integrated war on malaria will be fought”, he said.
According to him, “we are using all we can in this. This will be exciting times in malaria research in Nigeria as the we are becoming the cynosure of all eyes. Thus, we will take advantage of this and showcase the skills and ability of Nigerrians to do things right. There is no doubt that this will come with a lot of challenges, but we will overcome them”.
Osotimehin assured the World Bank that “we would show results and ensure that there is transparency and acountability in our way of doing business.
He said we will show results and garner trust and faith in our system so that we can get more fuinding because with what we have on offer so far, we still need more funding to fully implement our plans to kick malaria ourt of Nigeria”.
Mr Ruuhl Signed on behlaf of the World Bank while the Finance Minister, Sarki Muhtar, signed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Also present at the event were the Solicitor General of the Federation who represented the Minister of Justice. The ceremony also witnesed the presence of health commissioners fron the 36 states who are expected to be key players in the malaria control efforts.