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This exhibition is a result of an exchange course between CCA and Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey in which students at both schools researched the geopolitical and cultural heritage of particular neighborhoods in their respective cities. They became almost like ethnographers, delving directly into the field to analyze patterns of human behavior in public space.
Via blogs and email, the CCA and Bilgi students exchanged ideas as their research progressed; the CCA students also collaborated closely as teammates with the other students working on the same neighborhood. They allowed the shape of their final projects to be determined as much by their conversations as by their individual interests and media of choice, which ranged from sculpture to photography to fashion design.
The San Francisco neighborhoods they explored were the Financial District, Chinatown, the Tenderloin, and the waterfront. In Istanbul they were Bomonti, Taksim Square, Galata, and Tophane. All are multilayered and historically significant. All have undergone tremendous changes in recent decades.
This is the first in a series of exchanges Mariella Poli is organizing with Istanbul universities. In fall 2012 she has arranged an exchange with Mimar Sinan University (on the European side of Istanbul) for the course Multiculturalism and Identity, and in spring 2013 the exchange will be with Marmara University (on the Asian side of Istanbul) for the course Locality and Global Discourses.