During the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s and 1970s, the 'lower class' was encouraged to post their critiques on the elite in the form of 'Dazibao' (a journal/poster with large letters). Street corners became public forums. In spite of totalitarian propaganda, this approach showed a form of radical democracy, and even assumes an urban guerrilla-like insurgency. It is no surprise that the 'Dazibao' was banned in China after the Cultural Revolution precisely because it contributed to the challenge of totalitarian rule; it became the voice that claimed for reform and an openness from the 'bottom' of society. The famous "Wall of Democracy" in Xidan, Beijing, was the most remarkable example.

What is the most democratic form of expression in our age of new technology and global communication? How can it be demonstrated in the urban space today? A project of "Video Dazibao" is obviously an answer. For the 10th International İstanbul Biennial, five curators from Turkey have been invited to select over 150 short video works from an open-call to the public. During the nights, the program, under the title of "Nightcomers", will be projected in public spaces in different parts of the city, from the centre to the periphery. The Dutch artists couple Bik Van der Pol have researched and selected about 25 spots and have designed the mobile projection device, and a guidebook with the title "Istanbul. 59 Locations, A Format For Nightcomers".

For the first time in the history of İstanbul Biennial, a real open participation of the public has been made possible so that thousands of people living in areas without access to "high culture" can have direct contact with contemporary art. Or, contemporary art is brought to the frontier of a true public gaze.

For more information
Project Coordinator: Ceren Erdem
Project Assistant: Murat Alat

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