Arada Interdisciplinary Art Festival

arAda Interdisciplinary Art Festival is the first project of arAda Culture and Art Organization.

1st Festival What are you looking for? 26-30 May 2011, Istanbul

The first festival began with exhibition opening at Arada Studio. Paintings of Thomas Satiridas from Greece and Ahmet Milli from Turkey, puppets of Talya Melda Temuçin, photographs of Neslihan Albayrak, sculptures of Levent Duran and Bilal Yılmaz are exhibited.

Various events and performances took place during the opening night. Damla Aydın played cello to accompany Mehmet Şeker’s painting performance. After the performance all the participants painted together with the leadership Alja Piry.

26th May

The official opening of the Festival is hosted by Austrian Consulate with the concert given by Ozlem Bulut Band. This band is formed by Austiran musicians and a Turkish singer. It is also connected to festival concept “inbetween” different cultures.

Lina Höhne and Sayed Labib from Vienna Conservatory performed a dance show followed by the short recital given by Damla Aydın (chellist) and Selçuk Korku (pianist). Danshane tango team  accompanied the musicians by their dance show. (Murat Turgut, Ayhan Karaman, Bike Mert, Emine Boran, Ahsem Kaya, Saime Bozkurt.)

There dance workshop by Elena Luptak ‘Communication between Space and between Dancers’ took place in Danshane studio.

27th ve 28th may in Danshane Studio.

Tan Tolga Demirci gave a seminar ‘Surrealism in Cinema’ 27th May in TURVAK.

There were performances on 27th, 28th and 29th May in Arada Studio. Fatih Gençkal, Oğuz Turgutgenç,Sayed Labib and Lina Höhne, Honeymood     (Lerna Babikyan, Regina Picker) Melih Gençboyacı, Zinnure Türe, Dilek Dervişoğlu ve Steven Champs had performed in this performance events.

Engin Gürkey Percussion Group played during the parade from Tunnel Square to Arada Studio, Alper Akçay’s performance (Çembere Al) is accompanied by Boğaziçi Oda Korosu on 28th May in Galata Çıkmazı no:9. Group Rastgele took the stage in Tophane Lüleci Hendek Sokakta on 29th May.

Artists (dance, painting, installation, puppet, photography, sculpture) from Istanbul and Vienna showed their works and get a chance to create together.

Musicians gave a concert on the street. Performances met with people on the streets.  Children who live in neighborhood participated to performances.  Some works were, exhibited also in the neighborhood barber and pie shop, artists interacted with local people and took their comments during the exhibition.


The festival became a new meeting platform for the young artists. Artists who met at the festival, produced works together during and after the festival.

The festival was open to public  living in Tophane and Galata areas, which are very different from each other in socio-economical and ethnical terms. Galata is a historic area  with a touristic square. The urban transformation started from Galata through Tophane with the introduction of design shops and art galleries. But Tophane is still populated by immigrant people from Southeast Turkey and Romani people.. Tophane inhabitants found themselves in the art, therefore the festival became also a local event (location of  Aradastudio between Galata and Tophane) which includes everybody from different socio economic environment and in this sense the festival reached its purpose of inbetweenness .

New collaborations established with Austrian Culture Office, SAE Institute, TURVAK Cinema and Theatre Museum and 311 Art Gallery.

The experiences of the first part encouraged to organize next festival.

2nd festival What are you looking for? 26th- 30th November 2011, Vienna

The festival began with welcome reception of the Turkish Embassy in Vienna at Galeri Am Rotenhof where the artists from Istanbul and Vienna met each other. The reception began with dance performance, and continued with a video art work which is about the festival concept (interdisciplinary and in betweenness) and this video included all the participants of  festival.  The video art was prepared by Alja Piry, Erim Ayrancı and Regina Picker.

The next days of the festival a workshop was organized with the participation of a number of visual artists from Vienna and Istanbul. Alja Piry directed this activity.

Brunnenpassage opened doors to Arada Festival by Turkish folk dances workshop which continued  with the Sema Ritual.  Ritual had been taken place with a performance of whirling dervish (Ahmet Milli) from Istanbul and accompanied with German poems by a performer (Eva) from Vienna, and many  more performers joined from Istanbul and Vienna. The performance night ended by Bulut Band Concert.

The artists are welcomed by Turkish-Viennese breakfast at the WUK Flieger and they shared their excitement before the rehe

rehearsals.  After the performances artists and audiences came together again and a panel was organized around the festival concept.

The last day of the festival began with Elena Luptak’s “Stage Skills, Space Skills” Workshop at Vienna Conservatory. The artists from Turkey get a chance to meet with Elena Luptak again. After the workshop the performances are shown.  At the beginning the video which is prepared in Galerie Am Rotenhof was presented. The festival ended with the Novo Toko concert.


At the process of choosing festival places and partners we gave importance to reach people from different economic and social backgrounds as in the first festival. 

As a result, we reached people from different nationalities who are mostly immigrants at Brunnenpassage, alternative theater audience at Wuk Flieger, academicians and students in Vienna Conservatory activities and events.

This was the first Europe step for Turkish young performers who couldn’t get a chance before.

Regina Picker, Alja Piry and Lora Sarı from Vienna joined the festival as managers. The collaboration with an artistic platform facilitated to create new projects and to continue the ongoing the projects.

The artists had the opportunity to watch each others’ performances and discuss. The people from different social and cultural backgrounds met Turkish traditional culture and new modern face of Turkey at the same time by watching Turkish young artist’s works.

3rd festival What do you explore? between Vienna and Istanbul 31May-8 June 2012, İstanbul

Concept: What do you explore?

After the first concept, “What are you looking for?’’ festival developed with the idea “What do you explore?” with an aim to encourage searching individuality, society, and life. Thus the concepts are structured in the form of questions in order to explore human nature.

The idea of exploration also stems from searching and finding the realities about human. In addition, the concept of “What do you explore?” examines the meaning of “Exploration” and limits of “Exploration”.

Explore the Forest in the City:

NuPark (indie electronica group)
Group members are Uran Apak, Oğuz Öner, Ozan Erkan and visual artist from Vienna Ulrich Aschenbrenner.
During the concert most of the festival participants perfomed on the stage by Serkan Bozkurt’s choreography.

The concept of choreography was about city which is disturbed. The dancers was with masks and helmets, like city machines far to nature and hopeless to live.

Explore Austria in İstanbul’s Historical Map! Bahadıra foto sor!!!!

This festival concept was used only in İstanbul. But idea of concept stemmed from exploring exactly if there is Austria in İstanbul’s historical map.

Mostly we tried to find Austrian buildings in İstanbul which can be used for art. And Austrian St. Georg Hospital was a good place for festival to make connection between İstanbul and Vienna and also art between society and artistic research. Our painting happening (managed by Alja Piry and Regina Picker) in hospital had been many participants from patients and doctors and other workers from hospital.

Explore Your Individuality in Performing Art

Penny Arcade Workshop

Penny Arcade is well known by performing artists all over the world. She prefers to use the skills developed by traditional and individual background or resources. Therefore in the workshop she aimed the participants meet themselves without any academic or after learning process. If the artists can explore their own individuality and capacity in their platform they can easily reach the point of success without aiming success.

She worked with many different artists from different art forms (painter, performer, actress, sculpture etc.) in festival. The workshop took two days and after workshop there was a session to discuss and share among all the participants.

Explore The Performance Again:

How the performance can be explored again? We asked ourselves this question before choosing the works which came after our open call. So the works in festival were mainly intended to bring a new style of performing. We explored new artists who work with different materials of creativity. Cemil Can Yusufoğlu  shared his early experience in Vienna by giving a fear feeling in text of “Performance or Crisis” in Tütün Deposu. It was a big meeting for the audience with fear when he was at a border of death.

Then Austrian choreographer Laura Unger had took the participants to performance on the street by giving a chance of creating their own Protest. This performance happened at the same time by Veronica Lion in Vienna. The people started walk in a very slow way with feeling of their protest processes and lied down all together as a sharing their protests. This performance took place in Tophane, which is known as one of the most conservative areas in İstanbul. So it was a big challenge to do it there. Kandilli Turbe Çıkmazı was another performance exploration by travelling between historical culture and traditional beliefs. The choreographer Şafak Ersözlü explored a wall from Byzantine to make the performance. Going there by boat and to be in this historical and mystic atmosphere had brought the audience to travel in city which they cannot explore easily.

There is so much more’ from Germany (Julia Dick, Çiğdem Üçüncü, Elisabeth Wurst,Elisabeth Linding, Mayte Kappel Roviera) asked many questions to audience to make them brave to explore. They gave some examples to do it by stealing ice creams from the shop close the studio, taking audience outside and singing on the street, being naked on the stage, climbing on walls and kissing with guys they don’t know. Such situations brought them and audience to experience through the actions.

Other performances are;

(Traces) Martina Rösler,(Office) Ceyda Kasabalı, Fatih Altun, Bennur Duyucu,(Inbetween)Regina Picker,Alja Piry,Erim Ayrancı, ( Güçlü Kadın)Aynur Ertum, (Saklambaç)Erkan Uzdur,(Keyfi KEşif) Oğuz Turgutgenç, Seda Özgiş,(Deus Exmaschine) Deniz Teipel, Alessia Schumacher, (Ormanlardan hemen önceki gece) Zinnure Türe,(Sınır İstanbul) Derya Demiroğlu in Arada Sudio. Ceylan Dökmen and Alja Piry had made an exhibiton in Falls in Galata. (Impro Keşif) Serkan Bozkurt, Duygu Demir, (Adagio for 4 violinen) Regina Picker, (Apatos)Lerna Babikyan had been performed in Tütün Deposu. Marta Dunajko, Pauline Launay, Eren Mercan, Gökçe Düzgün, Onurcan Onuş had performed in Galata Tower.

Explore Inbetween


Kaan Kösemehmet is a writer works internationally and works in newspaper and magazines.

He talked about Istanbul’s Inbetween culture. How you can be inbetween by othering situations. Hazel Guney is mostly focused on Hate Crimes and othering.

Explore the Street with music

Barış Buran Drums Corporation music group travelled by making music between Galata and Tophane.

What Arada explored:

To explore the things brought us to a point to criticize ourselves and to rethink what we can explore about ourselves. So it was the question of our new concept ‘ Who am I? ‘

The happenings in festival showed us that danger comes to Turkey. The artists are feeling it before other people recognize.  So artists is explorer if they see everything before the people sees. How the artists react the position by doing Protest or doing art. What is different art and protest? Where the artists locate themselves between public and creative platform? What is the difference between society and artists? Who is artist? Who is society? Who is making festival? Who am I?

4th, 5th, 6th festivals between Istanbul - Amsterdam - Vienna. WHO AM I?

Arada Festival goes on research relation between person, community and identities. This process of research has been in three countries and cities.
First research was in Istanbul (September 2012) in the events of 400th anniversary celebrations between Holland and Turkey.
(Amsterdam and Istanbul)
Then the festival has been take place in December 2012 in Amsterdam and in Vienna in June 2013.

Concept (Who am I?)

We are asking the artists question of ” who am I?”
In the industrial countries seem that the jobs give the people their identities. (Doctor, engineer, bus driver, student etc.)
That brings people to express their selves by their jobs, educations or qualifications.
Functional person is the most valuable thing to earn money to have statue in a society.

Beyond this many identities are also given us by the community where we are coming from.
Are they really our identities? Turkish, Berliner or another city from country sides and any other identities (Religions, regions, body colors, economic situations etc) can be put us in any classification or not.
We would to like to ask the artists and all audience of festival how we can decide to establish our own identity or if there is possibility just to be within the time without any identification.

The Open call of the “Who am I concept?”

Who are you? Are you female? Are male? Are you queer? Are you bourgeois? Are you worker? Are you in between?  Are you from Amsterdam? Are you from Istanbul? Are you Turkish? Are you an asset? Are you human? Are you yourself? Are you your mother? Are you your father? Are you your grandfather? Are you child? Are you an engineer? Are you doctor? Are you student? Are you teacher? Are you director? Are you assistant? Have you got high school degree? Have you got university degree? Are you ignorant?  Are you Jessie? Are you masculine? Are you smart? Are you body? Are you soul? Are you mind?  Are you water? Are you dust? Are you ice?  Are you everything? Are you nothing?  Are you in or out?

4th Arada Festival,17th-30th September 2012, Istanbul

Who is Concert? Who is singing? Who is Painting?

Festival had started by concerts of many different hip pop groups and graffiti performance in Ortaköy Square.

After we asked many questions about being artist and ending it by ‘Who am I?’

Festival; with a voice of streets. So we took the sound of rejection of misidentification. Art has no identity, street arts show it exactly. We met with a illegal painters (graffiti artists) to make this performance during concert. We opened the big stage to young hip pop singers in the center of Istanbul at the side of Bosporus which is mostly used for classical artistic events to break down of identity of place and take the attention of young people as a festival.

Painting and concert was at the same time. So the people felt visuality and sound of the street together. We didn’t invite anybody. it was a square. There was a choice for audience to come and participate or reject the rejection of disidentification.

Who is Show? Who is showing? Who is not?

26th…First day of festival took part in Cossy Theater.

There were three performances. Aynur Ertum was the first performer by Güçlü Kadın (Powerful Woman) project. It was about identity of woman in Turkey. How are the women in culture, in life, at home, at work or on the street. Society rules brings women unpowerful situation and if the women want power they have to be like men. How the women can be powerful by not losing their feminine characteristics in Turkey.

Meat Meetings was a performance by Amsterdam Theater School SNDO Choreography students. Capatalist system takes the people inside and gives them some roles. It asks if there is a way to get rid of to find yourself in it .

Anne Izi Baba Izi is a work of Ceylan Dökmen . She is working professionally as asculpture artists But in this work she experienced video art and performance together on stage.

26th … Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Bomonti Stage

Ego Chat was a performance by Aradafest team, choreographied by Serkan Bozkurt.

27th Talimhane Theater

Amsterdam Jong Rast Theater workshop and performance

Jong Rast was a theater for young people whose family came from mostly different countries. Peter van Roermund is the teacher of theater and Farnoosh Farnia is managing the artistic facilities.They brought two students from Amsterdam(Leandro, Levent, Tülin ) and took two young Turkish people from İStanbul in a workshop to create a new work. PErformance was about identities of young people to choose and establish a new individual identity.

Depression of Pigs

Choreography of Dicle Doğan

Gamza Yaman is a creative dancer from Mimar Sinan Fine Art University. It was about humans and borders. Where is the borders and how human body especially women body reflects the borders.

Video Installaions at Galata Fotografhanesi:

There were 4 video works in exhibition (Nuri Sergen Şehitoğlu, Zafer Aziz Özer Ceylan Dökmen, Tuba Yılmaz) All the works were presenting different faces of identity inbetween psychological and sociological views.

5th Festival Who am I? Amsterdam December2012

The fifth festival continues with the same concept in Amsterdam. As a result of that the same groups also took place in Amsterdam.

8th December -Podium Mozaik (performances)

Performances showed at Young Rast Theater place. First performance was Meat Meetings from SNDO. Then Ceylan Dökmen’s Anne İzi Baba İzi and Serkan Bozkurt’s Ego Chat

Anne Izi Baba Izi is a video art and performance together. Ceylan Dökmen is a sculpture artist. It was her first video art project and performance on stage. She had mixed a lot of her family’s people pictures to say how your family influence your identity.

Ego Chat was a performance by Aradafest team, choreographied by Serkan Bozkurt.

It asks if the performer on the stage for his or her ego or just to share experiences.

How you can get rid of all the identities which is given by society on the stage as a way of opening your heart mind in the way of body’ nakedness.

9th December-Young Rast Theater (Workshop) By Serkan Bozkurt

Inbetween workshop body, movement, quality between dance and theater .

Inbetween violance and peace. Which kind of body movement and quality have they?

Everybody has both of these feelings. When can you use your violance as a creative way on your body? When does have to give its place to peace? How can be mixture to create something on the stage? If there is a war on stage there has to be real as real otherwise if we cant use all the violance power on stage. The power which stays make itself bigger to make it in a real life.


On the first research step of Who am I? inbetween Amsterdam and İstanbul festival went out its line by working with young street artists at concert. It was a first experience to give a place to street-art (graffiti happening and hiphop dance show) and street artists in festival. So there was a possibility to understand different style of performance and happening. In many artistic platform (festival etc.) performers had made any kind of activity on the street from painting to video, but what really street says about itself is connected the people who are coming from street, who are living the streets.

Our partner Rast Theater is also working with young people from streets to give them chance to create an artistic career. So it was a good timing to bring this kind of openness to stage. Stage is not owned just by artists who are studied art in academies.

At the same time as our general conditions of festival goal we would like to be in collaborations with a different artistic platform in different countries; by this festival we reached a new partners as Amsterdam School SNDO and  Rast Theater to go on our collaboration.

As Arada team we started to think about not to be just a manager also to do it with people on stage on the exhibition. So we created a video all together with all Arada team to make known festival concept of ‘Who am I?’  During the video shooting  we could catch the people’s view on street about our concept. So street was in center of presentation video of this festival.

6th Festival Who am I? Vienna on 29 th June 2013,

The 6th Arada interdisciplinary art Festival in Vienna took place during the height of the Gezi Park movement in June 2013.

The course of planning the festival was marked by the events. Some weeks before the festival took place it became clear that the team and the performers from Istanbul could not come due to the situation. The email communication became very thin as demonstrations were going on. The team in Vienna decided to move on with the festival nevertheless and dedicated the festival to the protesters in Istanbul. Some adjustments had to be made in organizing and some gaps in the program could be filled with an international and diverse group of performers from Chile, Iraq, Austria and Hungary.

The evening itself went smoothly. Four performances were shown. The atmosphere was a open and welcoming and the room filled with around 60 people. A small buffet afterward invited people to stay around and chat with the artists. It was an evening open for experiments, social and political issues.

7th Festival Where am I? What am I? Where am I? between Amsterdam and İstanbul, 9th-20th September 2013

‘Who am I?’  brings us to another question  Where am I?

As Festival we want to see ourself where we came where we are.

In this process we invited SNDO school to give an intensive workshop in İstanbul. Workshop brought many body workers together from different countries. In this point to ask them Who am I? Where am I? What am I? questions through intensive workshop created an atmosphere if it is important to be from somewhere to live somewhere if my body is my town and giving its rules all alone. I am where my body is, I can be in  can be out, visible or invisible.

Time of lot of demonstrations, center of protests many people came together in a violancy atmosphere but  they put some peace in it.


During two weeks 50 performers and new dancers  who came from all over the world took a place in workshop.

It was a collobration inbetween SNDO school Gabriel Simit and Aradafestival.

The workshops influenced from Arada consept and Aradafest concept influenced by the workshops.

Every year the SNDO sets up a series of intensive courses, next to the regular program, for everyone who wants to get an overall impression of the programme of the SNDO. From September 9 until 20, 2013 we will set up in an intensive course in Istanbul that focuses on Movement Research and Choreography. This Intensive Course is an addition to the regular course, designed for those who wish to refresh their ideas on contemporary dance and choreography.


The School for New Dance Development ( SNDO ) in Amsterdam provides a fulltime 4-Year professional education course that leads to the diploma Bachelor of Dance – Choreography. The school educates students to become choreographers/dance makers enabling them to contribute to the development of dance as an art form.

What was the Intensive Course in Istanbul be about?
The course was focus on two of the elementary classes in the SNDO study program: Movement research and Choreographic tools.

Who were the teachers?

Movement Research: Ria Higler  and  Guillem Mont de Palol
Choreographic tools:  Bruno Listopad and Paz Rojo 


We give place to workshop participants as performer groups. So some participants get the chance to show and share their work to theachers and young artists from other countries. 

Budala Sultan from Turkey performed Kandilli Türbe Çıkmazı  (the development version) which was showed before in Arada festival, three times in 7th festival . People was taked to a mystic and historical place in Istanbul by boat.

An Iranian gruop

It was a laughing performance by three performers ( Rohan Amiri, Yalda Pakzard, Azade Behmanesch) They did laughing during 15 minutes by changing the place with a small body movements, mostly gestures.

What are you looking for?

8th Festival Why am I here? June 2016  İstanbul

What do you explore?

8th Festival Why am I here? June 2016  İstanbul

Who am I?

8th Festival Why am I here? June 2016  İstanbul