The last Mahalla Festival took place at Greek Elementary School in Kurtuluş, Istanbul Sep 1 – Sep 10, 2022.The palimpsest, our theme, implied ambiguity, multilingualism, interdisciplinary, exploration, re-design, interactivity and, above all, togetherness.
A Palimpsest is originally a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain. The Palimpsest metaphor was used in the context of Mahalla 2022 to indicate scripted and unscripted knowledge, polyphonic political, social, and cultural discourses and patterns. In the frame of the Mahalla Festival, artists were working in Kurtuluş on artistic productions. The term points to the reality of urban structures visible in remains of human consumption: remains, leftovers, waste, garbage, ruins, and scraps, but also visible in the reproduction of the construction of “the other” in gender and minority roles, the treatment of non-humans and the environment.
The Mahalla Festival 2022 aimed to corrupt dominant discourses and motivates artists to offer forensic views and cause narrative cracks. The Festival invited artists, curators, and visitors to produce different stories and to create new factual as well as symbolic spaces to destabilize common questionable narratives.
Mahalla Palimpsest also draws attention to the value of our everyday objects and their recyclability and upcyclability, as well as the connection between caring for the environment and other humanitarian values. What is left behind, overlooked, and forgotten becomes the playful and critical center of the artistic examination.
This year, Mahalla brought together 38 artists from 15 countries to work together in Istanbul, creating international participation that went far beyond that. The main venues was the Greek Elementary School in Kurtuluş, Istanbul.
The Mahalla Festival 2022 took place in cooperation with the MagiC Carpets Network, a Creative Europe platform uniting 16 European cultural organisations that create opportunities for emerging artists to embark on journeys to unknown lands and to create, together with local artists and local communities, new works that highlight local specificities.