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Throughout centuries, libraries have been perceived as places where knowledge on life and space is organized, read, and interpreted, yet at certain times, their political significance are underestimated. Public libraries have been important symbols of political power and formation of cultural identity. They play a significant role in the political struggle for independence, as centres of democratic ideals, such as free access to cultural heritage and information. As public spaces, they are essential for bringing people together to share information, and they become even more important during times of collective resistance and protests for freedom.

Curated by the Istanbul-based Collective Çukurcuma, House of Wisdom explores the political power of books and libraries in our century, and is presented as a travelling exhibition/library that explores the increasing levels of censorship on information and the current sociopolitical situation in and around Turkey. It started its journey in the non-profit art space, Dzialdov, Berlin. The show moved to Istanbul as part of the 15th Istanbul Biennial’s public program, and then to the art space Framer Framed in Amsterdam, as part of the Amsterdam Art Weekend 2017 programme.

The exhibition and public programme of events now reside in Nottingham, with a panel discussion at Primary, in June 2018, followed by the exhibition here at Bonington Gallery and across the city, see public programme events (curated by Cüneyt Çakırlar) below for full details.

Artists include: Mohamed Abdelkarim, Burak Arıkan, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Yael Bartana, Mehtap Baydu, Kürşat Bayhan, Ruth Beale, Ekin Bernay, Burçak Bingöl, Nicky Broekhuysen, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Cansu Çakar, Ramesch Daha, Işıl Eğrikavuk, Didem Erk, Foundland Collective, Deniz Gül, Beril Gür, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, İstanbul Queer Art Collective (Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergül), Ali Kazma, Yazan Khalili, Göksu Kunak, Mona Kriegler, Fehras Publishing Practices, Elham Rokni, Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand, Sümer Sayın, Erinç Seymen, Bahia Shehab, Walid Siti, Ali Taptık, Erdem Taşdelen, Özge Topçu, Viron Erol Vert, Ali Yass, Eşref Yıldırım, Ala Younis

This project is being run in collaboration with Queer Art Projects (London, UK), Nottingham Trent University’s Bonington Gallery, PrimaryBromley House LibraryNottingham UNESCO City of Literature, and Five Leaves Bookshop.


Talk: Islam in the River of Wisdoms, with Prof. Wendy Shaw
Date: Wednesday 3 October, 7 pm – 8.30 pm
Location: Five Leaves Bookshop
This talk was recorded, you can access the footage on Vimeo.

Talk: A Feeling of Loss: Mutterzunge, with Adnan Yildiz
Date: Wednesday 10 October, 6 pm – 8 pm
Location: Primary
Bookings: Please visit Primary’s website for details
This talk was recorded, you can access the footage on Vimeo

Film Screening: Gürcan Keltek’s Colony (2015)
Date: Wednesday 17 October, 6 pm – 8 pm
Location: Bonington Lecture Theatre (room 143)
Bookings: please email to reserve your place
View the trailer on Vimeo

Uplefter: A workshop on Political Depression with Aylin Kuryel
Date: Monday 22 October,  6 pm – 8 pm
Location: Bonington 146
Bookings: please email to reserve your place
This talk was recorded, you can access the footage on Vimeo

Exhibition Walkthrough with Mine Kaplangı and Cüneyt Çakırlar
Date: Wednesday 24 October, 1 pm – 3 pm
Location: Bonington Gallery
Bookings: please email to reserve your place

Film Screening: Shevaun Mizrahi’s Distant Constellation (2017)
Date: Wednesday 24 October, 6 pm – 8 pm
Location: Bonington Lecture Theatre (room 143)
Bookings: please email to reserve your place
View the trailer on Vimeo

Istanbul Queer Art Collective
Visiting Bibliophiles: Fellowship of Books
Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergül will visit NTU Emeritus Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Gregory Woods. Presenting their Just in Bookcase, they will have a conversation on book loving, personal libraries, queer archiving and memory. This is a closed performance, the video documentation of this event is available on Vimeo.

Public programme curator: Dr Cüneyt Çakırlar, Senior Lecturer in Communication, Culture and Media at Nottingham Trent University. The events in this public programme are sponsored by School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University.