For questions about the open call: tasarimbienali@iksv.org.

Kitchens are shared spaces of encounter. They embrace social differences, and facilitate the circulation of ideas, and practices of care, empathy and hospitality. Throughout history, kitchens have been the subject of designers, architects and artists’s work, engaged in ideas surrounding the value, production and distribution of food and the socio-political aspects of cooking and dining. Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky’s design for the Frankfurt Kitchen (1926) introduced efficiency to domestic labour; Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975) is a feminist performance parody of television cooking demonstrations, where kitchen tools become alphabetised and gestures indicate rage and oppression; Carol Goodden, Tina Girouard and Gordon Matta-Clark’s conceptual restaurant FOOD (1972) was a space of encounter for local communities in a gentrifying New York City. More recently, Michael Rakowitz bridged connections between hostility and hospitality in his Enemy Kitchen (2003); while Anna Puigjaner’s Kitchenless Cities (2016) offered a new typology for organising and distributing domestic spaces. In 2020, the Istanbul Design Biennial re-frames the kitchen as a space that is central to design thinking and production, reflecting the specific ecological, economical and geopolitical contexts of today and in years to come.

Forming part of the programme for the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial – Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one, it functions as a social and convivial space, a display, a cafe, a cooking school and a platform for performance. Inside the Kitchen, visitors can engage in the passage of food from plant to palate; take part in collective culinary traditions; and examine how food exchange, preparation and consumption impacts contemporary culture.

The Kitchen invites visitors to consider and experience design in an expanded sense, through its equipment and furnishings; its materiality and spatial conditions; its relationship to the body and its senses; and its potential to affect human behaviour.

A public programme will activate the Kitchen during the biennial, challenging practices of hospitality and rethinking the relationship between host and guest.

The Kitchen is inspired by the concept of a sofra, a term meaning a table prepared or set for eating a meal – reflecting a sharing spirit.

OPEN CALL: MENUS & TOOLS

The curatorial team of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial is seeking applications for ‘Menus’ and ‘Tools’ for the Kitchen programme.

The projects submitted should reflect the themes of the biennial, Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one, and must expand on the ideas and questions raised in the curatorial statement.

MENUS

Menus are projects that propose different cultural approaches to eating and dining informed by global conditions, socio-economic challenges, and contemporary discourse. They should contain ingredients, rituals and systems relating to food or culinary traditions that rethink the role of host and guest, establish collective practices, and build strategies to communalise the kitchen.

Whether menus take the form of a learning and engagement programme, or a one-off project, they must demonstrate the ability to engage both local and international audiences in new discussions surrounding design and food.

Successful applicants will be invited to host a week or a weekend in residency at the Kitchen, testing their menus on the public.

Types of Menus

Menu A La Carte (Tuesday-Friday)

During the week, the Kitchen functions as a participatory space for knowledge sharing and production. A programme of A La Carte menus will activate the space during the working week, where visitors can collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on food, through design.

Proposals for A La Carte menus should be learning and engagement programmes, characterised by research, dialogue and participation. They could comprise performances, talks, seminars, lectures, workshops, salons or screenings. They should aim to build new knowledge and skills in dialogue with local audiences and communities in Istanbul.

Building on the idea of an A La Carte menu, these proposals offer visitors the freedom to choose from a range of ‘dishes’ (e.g. activities and events) that best suit their interests.

Duration: A La Carte menus should serve visitors for a 4 day period.

Menu Table d'hôte (weekends)

On weekends, the Kitchen will be transformed into a performance space for local and international audiences.

These menus are site-specific projects involving performance, collaborative and participatory design practices that challenge pre-existing forms of ‘cooking’ and ‘dining’. They might include: food, spoken word, choreography, video and sound-based practices.

Building on the idea of Table d’hôte (set menus), these curated ‘meals’ are served to all guests at stated times throughout the weekend.

Duration: Weekend menus should serve visitors for a 1-3-day period.

TOOLS

‘Tools’ are objects found in kitchens that support and expand ways of cooking and eating. They respond to common kitchen tasks for preparing food (cutting, heating, baking, grinding, mixing, blending, and measuring), as well as for dining (eating, drinking, sharing, folding, cheersing, and talking).

The biennial is inviting applications from designers, architects and artists to propose individual tools or tool sets that interrogate the concept of ‘kitchen utensils’; creating new traditions for food preparation and eating. Tools should challenge the common typologies of utensils to create new processes and systems that serve the modern kitchen, the diverse needs of its users and the demands of contemporary domestic life.

Tools should consider rituals of commensality and introduce innovative approaches to table etiquette. Their design must respond to the current context of Istanbul and theme of the biennial.

The selected tools will be on display in the Kitchen. They will also be activated by the public through the ‘menus’ programme.

Types of kitchen tools might include: plates, cutlery, coasters, tablecloths, alternative seating, pots and pans and glassware.

SELECTION CRITERIA

The Open Call invites collective and individual applications from local or international practitioners and thinkers (including designers, artists, writers, curators, researchers, and academics) working across a range of fields.

We are looking for applications for ‘Menus’ and ‘Tools’ that address one or more of the following themes:

  • Alternative systems: scarcity, ecological crisis, waste systems, new materialities, unexpected ingredients, circular economy.
  • Geopolitical narratives: global culinary stories, agricultural industry vs local ecologies, forgotten recipes, cities vs rural hinterland, hidden kitchens.
  • Love and labour: domestic labour, economics of love, hospitality vs hostility, ownership and sharing models.
  • Posthuman encounters: interspecies relations, postcolonialism, posthuman narratives and inclusivity.
  • Ceremony and ritual: table manners, dining rituals, etiquette, spiritual connections with food, intimacy, myth.
  • Expanded perception: multisensory design, gustatory diversity, flavour and experience, palate and diet, health, accessibility.

HOW TO APPLY?

The biennial will select 12 menus and 12 tools for the Kitchen from the open call.

Applicants should state clearly whether they are applying to the open call for ‘Tools’ or ‘Menus’ – we welcome applicants interested in applying for both.

>> To apply to the open call, please visit here.

Menu

Applicants applying to the Menu Open Call should include the following documentation:

  • 1. A maximum 2-page project description stating:
    The thinking behind the menu and how it relates to the themes of the Kitchen and the overall biennial.
    Whether this is an application for a week (A La Carte) or weekend (Table d'hôte) menu.
    Any collaborators and whether they have confirmed their participation.
    Format of the programme (i.e. workshops, talks, seminars, cooking classes etc.)
    How it responds to the local context of Istanbul and intends to engage local audiences.
  • 2. A portfolio of images from past projects that relate to the themes of the Kitchen.
  • 3. A 200-word (max.) biography and a 2-page CV (if applicable), including details of where they are based.

Applications should be sent as a single PDF with the name of the author/authors and working title of the project as the title of the document. Please be mindful of file size.

Tools

Applicants applying to the Tools Open Call should include the following documentation:

  • 1. A maximum 2-page project description stating:
    The aim of the tool or set of tools and why its design is distinct.
    How it relates to the themes of the Kitchen and the overall biennial.
    How the tool should be used.
    How it responds to the local context of Istanbul and can encourage collective action.
    Whether they have a manufacturer and or distributor on board to produce the tool.
    A list of any collaborators or participants and indicate whether they have confirmed participation.
    An indicative budget.
  • 2. A portfolio of images of designs from past projects and 3D designs of the tool.
  • 3. A 200-word (max.) biography and a 2-page CV (if applicable), including details of where they are based.

Applications should be sent as a single PDF with the name of the author/authors and working title of the project as the title of the document. Please be mindful of file size.

ABOUT PROJECT BUDGETS

The feasibility of projects, as well as the scale of production budgets, will be taken into consideration during the selection process. Please include details of gallery representation, any collaborations with brands and manufacturers, or other relationships that may support the production of your work.

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