Vibrant voices: exploring the buzz around this year’s IST Festival in Istanbul

Vibrant voices: exploring the buzz around this year’s IST Festival in Istanbul

In the multi-layered city of Istanbul, multiple voices resounded last weekend at the sixth edition of IST Festival. Held at the Vakko Fashion Centre on Saturday and at Soho House Istanbul on Sunday, the days were packed with panel discussions that revealed myriad viewpoints.

Silvia Venturini Fendi opened up about her life as a scion of the Fendi family – an honest story of having to prove her capacities in the face of prejudice against nepotism, of the responsibility that a matriarchal lineage brings, and her incredibly long and singular partnership with Karl Lagerfeld.

Fierce female talent was also central in the ‘Women in Film’ panel with the Turkish actress Serra Yılmaz and indie queen Parker Posey. The relatively broad subject has personal and political relevance in today’s Turkey, where the cultural sector finds itself increasingly restricted by government regulation that, especially with television, subdues the strong opinions this festival generates.

British architect David Adjaye, in an exchange with Turkish architect Murat Tabanlıoğlu, addressed the complex question of how architecture can reflect values. Today’s cities, that are getting denser and denser, require more than just architecture, he argued. ’The trauma of my work is that we contribute to this incredible destruction of the plane,’ he said. ’How do we find symbiosis? That requires a radicality that is more than just architecture. It is about society thinking very carefully about what we want to be in 50, 100 years time and how we’re going to achieve it.’

José Parlá premiered his new film, One: Union of the Senses: a fast-moving, rhythmical love letter to New York that narrated the point of view of his mural with the eponymous title, commissioned by One World Trade Center.

Interestingly, and a manifest testament to IST Festival’s cross-pollination of ideas across all fields, Parlá echoed Adjaye’s sentiment with his bold statement that it’s not the graffiti in our cities that is the crime, but the cities themselves, built as they are upon ground that previous civilizations respected. ’Who’s the biggest space thief?’ he asked, but continued to add that ’it’s too late now, we can’t erase the cities. But it’s not too late to educate and spread real culture.’

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