Project: International Ideas and Design Project Competition for Labor, Peace and Democracy Memorial Square and Place

Location: Ankara

Client: TMMOB

Year: 2020

Team: Enise Burcu Derinboğaz, İzel Beşikci, Işınsu Sopaoğlu, Sena Atakul, Sena Tilki, Özge Akyüz, Eray Çaylı

Moving from violence to peace, through aesthetics

Deng is the Kurdish word for “sound” or “voice.” In Turkish, the same word means “equal” or “equivalent,” and is the root of the word balance (d e n g e). We have chosen to name our project as d e n g e because it helps invoke the politics and ethics of aesthetics that, we suggest, were both instrumentalized by the sort of violence this competition seeks to commemorate and therefore should also be employed by any attempt at commemorating that violence and promoting peace, not least in the project site.

Our proposal consists of three sections: Violence, Aesthetics and Peace. The first one contextualizes the 10 October attack historically and spatially, offering a biography of the Ankara Railway Station and its environs across various urban scales. Here we suggest that the attack needs to be understood as linked to various other episodes of violence from the past, including those that weaponized and at times even victimized aesthetics. The second part details our own proposal regarding how aesthetics as a medium of doing politics and ethics in the above-mentioned sense could and should be employed at the site. Here we focus on questions around physicality, including planning decisions, spatial hierarchy, open system structure, accessibility, walkability and circulation. The third and final section explains how our analyses of the violent episode and of the site where it took place have led to the design proposal d e n g e that promotes nonviolent politics, social justice and egalitarianism. It lays out how d e n g e works across various spatial scales, stretching from the memorial we propose for the square and the square itself to the surrounding urban area that includes the Railway Station and Ulus Square.