MAKHism was born in Tehran, Iran in 1987. After graduating from high school with a special degree in computer graphics, he received an associate degree in graphic design in 2006. He then found his love for photography. He started his undergraduate studies in photography at the University of Fine Arts in Tehran in 2010, realizing his deep interest in self-portraiture. He has worked in event, wedding, fashion, and commercial photography; interior design and decoration; fashion design; graphic design; videography and short-film (script-writing, filming, directing, editing); painting; and sculpting. and is also a teacher of various classes and workshops on painting and photography.
Renan Koen is a Turkish-Jewish concert pianist, music therapist and public educator. Since the release of her 2015 album, “Holocaust Remembrance / Before Sleep”, she has toured the world lecturing on the Holocaust, specifically Theresienstadt and the composers interned there with youth groups, and recently to a global audience in January at the UN Headquarters in NYC for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Earlier in her career, she released, “Lost Traces, Hidden Memories” (2014), an album of Ladino music, inspired by her heritage, raised among the Sephardic communities of Istanbul. During government-imposed quarantines, she performed a series of online concerts via the Twitter account of the Turkish Jewish Community Association (@tyahuditoplumu), who also supports her educational efforts in collaboration with Everlasting Hope: Gustav Mahler & Terezin Composers
Hana Korneti is an award-winning author of short fiction based in Skopje. She lived and wrote in Istanbul for many years, earning an MA in Cultural Studies at Sabancı University. She is currently working on a short story collection, and hopes to one day write a novel bearing an uncanny resemblance to Rüya Kızılay’s debut.
Melissa Ugolini was born in Italy in 1989. She graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds (UK) in 2011 with a First Class Honours Degree, and was granted the Award for Outstanding Achievement. After graduation, Melissa worked with numerous international choreographers like Akram Khan, Anouk Van Dijk, Andonis Foniadakis, Aakash Odedra, Nicolas Cantillon and Laurence Yadi, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Barak Marshall, İhsan Rüstem, Bruno Caverna and Beyhan Murphy, while performing both new creations and repertoire works with Companhia Instàvel (Portugal), LamatDance Company (Spain) and James Wilton Dance Company (UK). Since 2017 she's been involved in several choreographical collaborations as a performer, choreographer and rehearsal director alongside Aakash Odedra, fellow dancer Evrim Akyay and the Italian musician Jacopo Mariotti. She is currently a full-time member of the Aakash Odedra Company (UK) and of Compagnie 7273 (Switzerland), also part of the new ensemble at the Münchner Kammerspiele (Germany) performing in Falk Richter’s new production Touch, in collaboration with choreographer Anouk Van Dijk.
Larissa Araz (İstanbul, 1990) has begun her studies at NYU’s Steinhardt Media, Communication and Culture and completed her undergraduate studies at the Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University in 2014. Through a personal viewpoint, Araz focuses on the topics of history, identity, memory and belonging that are included or not included in social memory. She produces works in a variety of media including text, video, image and sound, yet she primarily assumes photography for artistic expression. Araz has taken part in many artist programs and group shows in Turkey and abroad, most recently at Arter Research Program's edition of 2020-2021. In parallel with Begin To See Through The Darkness, Araz has presented Words Don't Come Easy exhibition at Öktem Aykut Gallery. Begin To See Through The Darkness was produced when Araz was a resident at Saha Studio's initial edition in 2019-2020. Larissa Araz is also founded poşe Artist Run Space since 2018.
Luke Frostick is a writer based in Istanbul. He is the editor of the Bosphorus Review of Books. He writes for Duvar English and the Three Crows Magazine. His latest fiction publication is a short story in the Vampire Connoisseur anthology.
Nazlı Gürlek Hodder is invested in developing an embodied aesthetic that reflects the here and now of authentic life experiences in order to speak of freedoms, agency, resistance and empowerment. Through the artistic gestures of healing and resistance, she proposes a return to a desiring, performing, creating body, that is in constant continuation and flow with the rest of life. Following a career as a curator between 2005-18, Gürlek Hodder has returned to her original endeavour of art making as of 2017. Since then her work has been exhibited in group shows "Crystal Chateau" (2020, Evliyagil Museum, Ankara), "Gaia Has a Thousand Names" (2019, Elgiz Museum, Istanbul), the 6th International Çanakkale Biennial: “Before the Past, After the Future” (2018, Çanakkale,Turkey), "Happening Now" (2019, Artnivo at Istanbul Art Week), and “Floating Tactics After a Sunken Island” (2017, Daire Gallery, Istanbul). Her performative art piece “ONE” was staged at Koç University’s Research Center forAnatolian Civilisations (RCAC) in the context of "The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük"exhibition and as a parallel event to the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017). She holds a BA in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence and an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, London. Gürlek Hodder is based between Istanbul, and San Francisco Bay Area of California.
Andrew Bell is a freelance writer. He is a contributing writer for Berlin-based PANTA Magazine and New York City / Istanbul-based SOUR Studio
Serra Şensoy is a 3D artist/ multi-media designer currently based in Istanbul. She recently graduated from University for Creative Arts, completing studies with a Graphic Design: Visual communication BA in 2020. She defines her design practice as a playground that signifies playfulness, experimentation, exploration, and research. “Playground” is also meant to function as a gateway to contribute to potential futures by design thinking and by maintaining ethical values as a designer; making conscious choices in the area of work and study. Her current work is heavily influenced by media cultures and futurism as well as language; codes, and metaphors. She produces experimental video art and 3D animation as her practice alongside research as well as editorial and motion graphic design as a freelancer. She is lead designer at Fictive.
Moujan Ardani is an Iranian story writer, currently living in Istanbul. After graduation from IT in 2014 she started her career as a writer. She worked as a freelance journalist in Iran for four years and had her stories published in some magazines there. In 2017, one of her stories was awarded in Bahram Sadeghi award which is a prominent literature contest in Iran. Presently, she is working on her short story collection and translating them to English.
İrem Günaydın (b. 1989, Istanbul) explores the relationship between text and image, and the ways in which words and images circulate between discursive and pictorial realms, investigating the objecthood of language and the grammar of images. Her practice is often generated through writing and unfolds as installations gathering moving images, print, and sculptural elements while writing functions as a fulcrum. She draws inspiration from art history, literature, film and music, deconstructing the canon with minor narratives and contemporary popular media. İrem holds a Foundation diploma from Chelsea College of Art and Design (2011), and her BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London (2014). She lives and works in Istanbul.
Self-taught since age 6, Vi An is a multi-disciplinary artist and a proponent of Asian long-plucked zither instruments, from: Vietnam, the 17 to 26 stringed đàn tranh; Japanese 13 – 25 stringed koto (琴) and Chinese 23 – 30 stringed zheng (箏). Vi An's unique form of music-arts invite the audience into an active journey of inner and outer discoveries. The music is spontaneously created in the moment, engaging the listeners, remind them they are not passive, but active participants, even co-creators! As the music invents itself and evolves, so too does the world around us. Vi An MUSIC speaks for itself.
Alex Albadree divides his time between DC and Istanbul where he creates art for social justice. The pieces Alex creates aim to engage with current and historical events to raise critical consciousness and call individuals to take action for social transformation. Alex applies an intersectional approach to the issues he amplifies, highlighting the ways that oppressive systems rooted in white supremacy and capitalism degrade our empathy, dignity and environment. Through beautifully crafted digital illustrations, Alex invites us to take a hard, honest look at our world and at ourselves. And then to imagine a better world. And, most importantly, to fight for it.
Ufuk Gürbüzdal is an independent filmmaker and a Research Assistant at the Faculty of Communication of Hasan Kalyoncu University. His research interests include Marxism, ideology and cinema, avant-garde filmmaking, the political economy of new media environments, and political communication.
Alex Butler is a nurse in the operating rooms at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, specializing in the trauma and oncology unit. He is an avid reader and writer, living in Somerville, where he enjoys cooking with his wife, Allison.
Ali Cabbar was born in Istanbul and graduated from Marmara University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. He moved to Melbourne, Australia, in 1988, and later to Brussels, where he took part in engraving and lithography workshops with the RHoK Academy for three years. He worked as graphic designer, illustrator and art director for The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune and The Herald Sun while pursuing his art.
Özlem Atik is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Sociology Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her doctoral research investigates collective trauma representations in films regarding the case of the Dersim 38 massacre. She focuses on trauma, loss and racial melancholia in the perspective of postcolonial theories and psychoanalysis, and is also interested in affect theories in sociology. She obtained her BA in philosophy at Ankara University.
Under the moniker of Double Diamond Sun Body, Robbie C. Williamson produces large scale art exhibitions. He's been a part of numerous storied groups, including Portland's industrial Hitting Birth, the Lady Gaga-endorsed electro pop We Are The World and synth pop critical darlings Dreamers, also frequently collaborating with acclaimed LA choreographer Ryan Heffington (Arcade Fire, FKA Twigs, Sia), not to mention all of his Hollywood scoring work.
Ece Eldek is a multi-disciplinary visual artist and poet. In her artistic practice; she mainly uses video, sound, photography, poetry, installation and performance. She tends to combine writing and visual works. Eldek is interested in rethinking and understanding what it means to be a human. Her motivations for her practice consist of unconsciousness, existence, myths, persona, identity, belonging, social classes and history. The network of social, political and cultural relations, intertwined mechanisms and processes are the focus of her interest. She is working on the whole of relationships that establish the subjective experience. Eldek graduated from Marmara University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Graphic Art and Design. Ece Eldek has participated in various exhibitions in Turkey and abroad, her poems were published in distinct publications and she has taken part in numerous art initiatives as founding partner.
Augustino Lucano is South Sudanese. He was a refugee, student, social worker, and president of his own not-for-profit NGO. In 2015, Lucano received his a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Dalhousie University in New Brunswick, Canada. He also holds a Social Work Diploma from Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta. He worked as a Multicultural Support Worker, and a family Support Counsellor in Calgary, connecting students and families of new immigrants with community resources.
Deniz Gül is a Turkish contemporary artist, conceptual sculptor and writer. Born in 1982, in Izmir (Smyrna), she is acknowledged for her work that subverts language; for Gül, language not only performs as text, but as sculpture and space as well. Her narrative exhibitions speak of structure, composition, form, and consequence. Her text work accompanies her exhibitions throughout. Gül's books and exhibitions are titled, Loyelow (2016), B.I.M.A.B.K.R. (2013), 5 Person Bufet (2011), Meydan (2020), and Scratch and Surface (2021) Gül's latest solo show, held at SALT Galata. She resides and works in Istanbul.
Merve Pehlivan is a writer and founder of Spoken Word Istanbul.
Pullahs is the project name of Gurur Gelen's heavily ambient influenced, organic electronic music. HIs sound is characterized by its spaciousness and dark timbre. He is defying and recreating ideas of genre from the past and present. He blends acoustic instruments and field recordings with digital material, restructuring meaning, against the norm. He currently resides in Istanbul, exploring new variables of composition, sound art & multimedia design through creative coding.
William Benker is a filmmaker in Boston
Sanaz Ghorbani is a Paris-based dance artist originally from Tehran. She is a movement researcher in contemporary salsa, and also filmmaking. She studies at ACTS école de danse contemporaine and is the founder of @movement.for.growth
Cem Ozuduru was born in 1987 in Istanbul. After entering the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, he published two graphic novels, Zombistan (2008) and Dawn Frost (2010) leading up to his graduation in 2010. His professional career continued with short stories, movie scripts, and directing, on top of creating comic books. His work in the movies and television includes the scripts for the horror movie Baskın (2015), Housewife (2017), the TV series Wolf (2017), and the feature film Wolf (2018), with him directing the latter two. His other credits in comics include Once Upon a Time on the Soccer Field (2015) and Perihan (2017; Europe Comics 2020). Perihan was adapted to a movie in 2019 under the title "The Girl with No Mouth," winning several awards. His latest book is Solo, Night Hunger and Other Stories.
Berkay Tuncay was born in 1983 in Istanbul. He studied in the Archaeological Restoration and Conservation Department at Istanbul University, and later at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in the Computer Aided Art and Design Department. His artwork has been shown in solo exhibitions at Sanatorium and Gaia Gallery in Istanbul and Display in Berlin. His artwork, "Untitled (Study of Kanye's Tweets no. 2) was shown at Contemporary Istanbul 2021 via Sanatorium. He lives and works in Istanbul.
Tosh Hayashi is a flamenco aficionado, guitar practitioner, sporadic doodler, and fiction dabbler based in Calgary, Canada
Eleni Papadopoulou is a photojournalist in Nicosia, Cyprus
Aslı Seven is an independent curator and writer based between Istanbul and Paris. Her research and curatorial projects focus on infrastructure, landscape and built environment, with an emphasis on fieldwork, ficto-criticism and collaborative artistic processes. She is a member of AICA and OF C-E-A (French Association of Curators), and a collaborator with ICI (Independent Curators International).
Itzik Rennert, Israeli, was born in Haifa in 1959. After he finished his studies he opened a studio with Ziva Shalev. He worked as a designer for newspapers such as Yediot Aharonot and Maariv, and worked as art director in advertising firms. From 1995-2011 he was a member of the comics group “Actus Tragicus.” He was the illustrator for books such as "Agada Hadasha" (1986) by Gil Hareven and "Allergia: Sipor Yaldut" (2003).
Jennifer Ipekel, lives and works between Istanbul and London. She studied MA Fine Arts at Chelsea School of Art London between 2014-2015.
"I am drawn into creating riotous narratives to build an individual mythology for the age that we live in where fact and fiction are uncertain. Notions of power, gender and color are reimagined. Traveling to unknown territories and looking at inner landscapes, I depict paintings of heroes that remain incomprehensible and purposes unclear. In my narratives, I blend women heroes with cultural beliefs, my aim is to show the ever-changing womenhood, purifying her from materialism and hereby revealing the intellectual power."
Sıla Yalazan is a photographer based in Istanbul
nitty gritty (she/her) is an art-maker from smyrna who made videos and now works with earth
Ulya Soley is a curator, writer, and translator based in Istanbul
An Istanbul based DJ / Producer, Zynph describes her music as a final product of a self-confrontation process. Using music as a medium to express, she mainly focuses on the feelings the music evokes, rather than defining it by its genre. One of the distinctive characteristics of her sound is the sense of uncanniness it arouses. Her music is inspired by a wide range of genres from breakcore to industrial, IDM to experimental and ambient to extreme metal music.
Serkan Özkaya's works are usually predicated upon concepts and strategies such as originality, copying, multiplication, and appropriation, problematising what art is and how it functions. In Dear Sir or Madam, Özkaya uses similar strategies on the projects he proposes, taking them to a level so ambitious and exaggerated that they almost cannot be taken seriously; with the applications he "courageously" sends to the biggest institutions in the world, he playfully trips up the bureaucracy of culture and art and puts these stumbles on display, presenting them to the audience as the documents of "dismissed projects".
Matt A Hanson is the founding editor of Fictive. He is a freelance journalist and art writer based in Istanbul, where he contributes to Artnet News, Tablet Magazine, Words Without Borders, Al-Monitor, and many others. He is an editor of artist books and exhibition texts for Arter, Dirimart, Pera Museum, and Yapı Kredi Publications, with collaborations featuring the poet Lale Müldür and the artist and writer Deniz Gül. For a series on art writing by SAHA Association, he wrote an autobiographical essay.