KIRIK* is a research-based, participatory and critical initiative for people and topics in the cracks.
By choosing KIRIK as the name of our initiative, we embrace and reclaim multiple meanings of this versatile word in Turkish such as crack, broken, hue, hybrid, fault, strange, queer and bent.
Our initiative comes as a response to the shrinking of individual, cultural and political spheres in Turkey in the past decade. While several collectives and solidarity organizations which we were part of struggled to sustain themselves, larger cultural institutions had to make concessions from programs that defined their long-term missions. Seeking comfort in actions of immediate solidarity against oppression resulted in gathering only around certain defense lines. Trying to push back the attacks on our lives, we were left with no time and space for nuanced debates.
Without forgetting the importance of togetherness, KIRIK would like to explore the creative potentials of in-betweenness. We aim to foster knowledge production and sharing through talks, meetings and screenings.
Founded in 2021, KIRIK hosted a number of discussions on the radical meaning of solidarity in its first year. The 2022-2023 term featured a series of talks on the complex issue of sanctions and boycotts in our neighboring geographies, as well as discussions of cultural hegemony and cultural polarization. The online screening programs in this period focused on the ecological crisis, colonialism, extractivism, capitalism as well as crime, genocide and accountability. KIRIK will continue its talks and meeting programs on cultural hegemony and cultural polarization in the 2023-2024 term, while starting a new screening program of works by LGBTI+ artists and of queer creations.
* crack / broken / hue / hybrid / fault / strange / queer / bent
Zeyno Pekünlü is an artist whose artistic interventions mostly take the form of videos and installations. She is currently running the Istanbul Biennial’s Production and Research Program as well as coordinating the Istanbul cell of the Fellowship for Situated Practice, organized by BAK Utrecht. Zeyno is on the editorial board of Red Thread Journal and a member of The Institute of Radical Imagination. Together with Köken Ergun, she was part of the collective Dünyada Mekan [A Place on Earth], a self-organized solidarity space which provided freelancers with free working space. Zeyno has been involved in several initiatives for freedom of expression and art workers’ rights in Turkey, since 2011.
Köken Ergun is an artist/filmmaker with a background in theater. He has been part of several collectives including the Watermill Center and Artists Video and Film Association Berlin. Prior to his artistic career, he has worked several years in the organization of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and was one of the founders of the !f Istanbul Film Festival. He is also a founding member of After the Archive?, an Istanbul based initiative that questions the role and function of archives in public memory.
The 2023 program on “Cultural Hegemony and Culture Wars” has been supported by the Militant Research Critical Node of the Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid).