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61meters of Kahya Bey Street

61 Meters of Kahya Bey Street

with Ekmel Ertan (both as PASAJ’s members)

2015-2016, Istanbul, Turkey

mixed materials

as part of the project "We decide how we reside" initiated by HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

The exhibitions took place in Apartman Projesi Berlin 2015, PASAJ Tarlabasi 2016


Kahya Bey Sokak is a 61-meters-long street of Tarlabaşı, a complex yet harmonious neighborhood of Istanbul mostly inhabited by low-income people belonging to different subcultures. 61 Meters of Kahya Bey Street developed around the idea of enabling a self-representation of the district through its residents. It was realized as part of the project We decide how we reside, initiated by HKW to stimulate practical and radical discourse on housing in Berlin, Istanbul, and Marseille, respectively with the participation of the art spaces Kotti-Shop, PASAJ, and La Folie Kilomètre.

Seçil Yaylalı and Ekmel Ertan engaged with a group of kids living and working along Kahya Bey Sokak through a series of workshops on the basics of photography and video shootings, interviewing, and story-telling held at PASAJ, artist-run space located in the road, and around the area. Kids were among the residents who were living their street the most, trying somehow to fill their time without any proper educational, sports, and entertainment services and spaces available.

After the workshops, they started documenting the neighborhood by themselves addressing people and places they considered significant for their story. Relatives, friends, neighbors, and local acquaintances were filmed and recorded in their houses, shops, and on the streets and asked about their lives as residents of Tarlabaşı. Interviewers and interviewees soon initiated quite spontaneous and confidential conversations on many different aspects of their personal experiences in the area, bringing up crucial issues such as inadequate and unsafe social housing, precarious working conditions, lacking services, and public space security. 61 Meters of Kahya Bey Street became a series of documentary videos telling the district from a wide range of local perspectives that give voice to the residents’ expectations, desires, and attachment to the district. 

An interactive textile map was created by the group as a medium for the display of the short films, reproducing the layout of Tarlabaşı and combining some documentation pictures taken by the participants during the project.

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