Eyes on|of Tarlabaşı is the artistic research conducted from September till February 2009-2010 in Istanbul. Tarlabaşı, part of the Beyoğlu district lies next to Taksim Square. It is considered to be an inner city ghetto and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

This research is about the inhabitants of this district, which can be perceived as an unofficial asylum camp. Kurdish and African people but as well Roma families and transseksuals have become neighbours in this area. Tarlabaşı, “for all who are not wanted or cannot be somewhere else” is now at the tipping point of being gentrified. Still the students of the famous Bilgi University (campus Dolapdere)a 10 min walk from Taksim the main center take a special bus and do not cross the district. It might house a handful internationals on the outer city, the core of Tarlabaşı remains dangerous with stories of drugs and violence.

How do the inhabitants see themselves and how does this relate to the perception of those not from Tarlabaşı?

We present an insight into Tarlabaşı from the perspective of its own inhabitants –eyes of- and seen by the others -eyes on- and play with all the prejudices.

To built up a trust relationship and observe at different times we chose to move within the district. Participatory action research was a logical method for this research. We learned social structures, got to know stakeholders and slowly gained insight into cultural habits. Borrowing strategies from among others visual anthropology

Eyes of Tarlabaşı xs tries to capture the perception from the children on its surrounding. Essential is the bottom up approach in which the smallest inhabitants, or ‘Eyes OF’, became photographers of their own daily environment. The photo-interviews, freestyle interviews and observations are documented on video and film but also by written analyses. In a playful game they revealed their lives with their notions and values. Their personal explanations of the pictures sketches Tarlabaşı in its last days. It offers a change to exchange pictures for young friendships and gives you and us a chance to see a portrayal of a district soon to be demolished. Special is that the entire process of this photo-research is documented on video.
The SHORT is small but strong part of the entire artistic research.

For more information about TARLABASI, the struggle people facing, the urban renewal project, forced migration and ghettoisation of an inner city district visit our Blog: tarlabasi.wordpress.com

DV PAL:: 8min:: 2009:: Tarlabaşı, Istanbul
Margot Deerenberg, Alper Munir Dogan, Thomas Stini

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