Metaphorical Space

egyptian revolution AP 600 wide

View of the Rivoli Cinema, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 26, 1952, as it burns during the rioting. (AP Photo)

Metaphorical Space
10 May – 03 June 2018

MARSistanbul / SALT 
Bostanbaşı Cd 10, Firuzağa Mh.
Turkey 34420

With works by Ala AlhassounKeywan KarimiLouis HendersonSibel HoradaMetehan ÖzcanNeriman PolatÖzge TopçuPınar Öğrenci, and Selini Halvadaki.

The exhibition Metaphorical Space examines the relationship of social movements with space, authority, and memory. Similar to carnivals, collective movements take place when people from different ages, ethnic or social groups take over the city for a short time. The city’s squares appear to turn into a theater scene. What differentiates uprisings from carnivals, however, is that in uprisings authorities and civilians confront each other; infringement of rights and spatial threats can develop in parallel to each other. The power of politics traces its own cultural and political language on architecture and the city, while civilians continue to defend symbolic spaces that are held in esteem in the collective memory, and are part of what Hannah Arendt calls the “field of appearance.” The city is now a stage for a rematch. The reference point for the exhibition is Louis Henderson’s “The Day Before the Fires” (2012) video, inspired by the 1952 Cairo Fire, also known as Black Saturday. The fire was the result of protests in Cairo that started as an anti-colonial movement, causing significant damage to buildings that were deemed to be the symbols of colonialism. Many historians have compared the Arab Spring in Tahrir Square to the Cairo Fire. Metaphorical Space takes as a beginning point urban spaces that have been the stage for cyclical social movements similar to that of Cairo as an action of ‘remembering’. Metaphorical Space explores spatial ‘stories’ from cities such as Athens, Cairo, Aleppo, Tehran, Izmir, all of which have been the stage for oppositional movements spanning from the post WWI era – an era of nation and ‘modern’ society building – to the present day. The exhibition opens out to thinking about ‘metaphoric’ meanings of space as an alternative to established ways of thinking about urban and architectural productions of form within the frameworks of war, revolution, colonialism, military regime and rebellion movements (Öğrenci 2018, translation: Merve Ünsal).

In conjunction with the exhibition, Keywan Karimi’s “Writing on the City” will be screened at SALT Beyoğlu on May 12, 2018. View trailer

Metaphorical Space is organized by Pınar Öğrenci and Minou Norouzi with the kind support of the Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul, Arts Council England, Openvizor, Seven Cerceve, SALT, Depo Istanbul and Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV).

For more information on the individual works in the exhibition please visit the programmes pages.

Willing The Possible


Film still: Electrical Gaza (2015), courtesy of LUX, London and Rosalind Nashashibi.
Animation by George Thompson and Lukas Schrank at Visitor Studio.

19 October – 02 December 2017

Bostanbaşı Cd 10, Firuzağa Mh.
Turkey 34420

With films by Jumana Manna and Sille StorihleEmma LeachSasha Litvintseva, and Rosalind Nashashibi.

Living with one another can be unhappy, wretched, ambivalent, even full of antagonism, but all of that can play out in the political sphere without recourse to expulsion or genocide. And that is our obligation.” – Judith Butler

Willing the Possible presents films that collectively reflect on geopolitical conflict. Thinking through techniques used in narrative mediation, the selection of films presented in this exhibition, each in their unique way, attempt to come to terms with the intensely divisive political climate we continue to face today.

Narrative mediation is a subgenre in mediation and a technique focused on multiplicity in the construction of conflict narratives. Originating as a method of conflict resolution in Narrative Family Therapy, it encourages face-to-face contact between parties. In the realm of cinema, the encounter between film objects and viewers — together forming a site for collective narrative plotting — could be thought of as just such a face-to-face contact. Though the films in this exhibition are situated in conflict zones across geographies and times, none make any singular known conflict narrative the central object of their study. Instead, the films allow the possibility of collective narrative plotting as an open-ended process; a way of thinking through conflicting positions in a manner that is as playful as it is hopeful.

Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle, The Goodness Regime, HD, 21′, 2013

Emma Leach, Conflicting Thoughts: Thoughts on Conflict, SD, 07’13”, 2011

Sasha Litvintseva, Exile Exotic, HD, 14’12”, 2015

Rosalind Nashashibi, Electrical Gaza, HD, 17’53”, 2015

Curated by Minou Norouzi for MARSistanbul and Sheffield Fringe. MARSistanbul is an independent art initiative founded by artist Pınar Öğrenci since 2010 and is supported by SAHA as part of “Grant for the Sustainability of Independent Art Initiatives 2016–2017”. Sheffield Fringe is supported by Openvizor, and the Arts Council England.

This exhibition is adapted from a previous iteration at Bloc Projects, Sheffield. For further information and artist biographies please visit Programmes 2017.




Saturday, 4th February 2017
11:00 – 18:00

Zika Auditorium
77-82 Whitechapel High St
E1 7QX


Please join us for a one-day symposium to explore the aesthetic potential, political stakes and ethical challenges that arise from regarding documentary film as an art object. We will consider documentary as a commodity in circulation, a resource in artistic production, a material trace, a document, or simply as “a thing like you and me” (Hito Steyerl).

With a keynote by Erika Balsom, presentations by Rosalind Nashashibi, Mairéad McClean, Judy Price, Stephen Connolly, Sasha Litvintseva, a performance by Hannah Catherine Jones (aka Foxy Moron), and films by Ben Balcom, Hannah Black, Wu Tsang, Sky Hopinka and Neïl Beloufa.

Object! On the Documentary as Art aims to reframe the meeting point of films, makers and audiences in ethical terms. In light of the ongoing proliferation of documentary material in artistic production – the so-called ‘documentary turn’– and the exchange of these works in the marketplace as art objects, what are the ethical and political implications of this ‘object turn’ in documentary film? What novel avenues does it open up for critical practice?

The day of presentations includes screenings of artists’ films and documentaries, and is complemented by a series of evening programmes at Close Up Film Centre from February 7th, 2017.

Produced in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, the event is organised by Minou Norouzi, Mihaela Brebenel and Nikolaus Perneczky, with support from Openvizor and the Arts Council England.

Details of the Close-Up film programmes, presentations and symposium content are available here. Booking is essential.

Image: Notes from the Interior, courtesy of Ben Balcom.

Object Documentary


June 10-18 2016

71 Eyre Lane
Sheffield S1 4RB

The fifth edition of Sheffield Fringe investigates ‘documentary’ film as an art object, where thinking of and trading documentary as an object opens up the possibility of the ‘objectification’ of actuality.

Documentary practice deals with the social world, live situations, ‘real’ things. Relating 
to the social world as an object and putting it in the service of artistic activity can create an ethical challenge. Indeed thinking of documentary as an object, and of documentary material as a resource, can be discomforting. Beyond its status in the market place as an art object, the other ways in which documentary film can manifest as an object are difficult to articulate. But they can be felt. Sometimes visible, sometimes implied, one of the ways an ‘object relation’ becomes palpable is in the relationship that creates the work. Where a discomforting relation is detected, we tend to address such occasions as ‘problematic’. The first problem arises with the designation of value when defining an object vis-à-vis a subject: in an effort to designate value through language, we speak of documentary subjects, not documentary objects. The second problem arises with exactly what we mean by the word ‘documentary’. So far, known characterizations remain narrow.

Whether regarded as art works or documentaries, the critical stance of the contributions to Sheffield Fringe 2016 lies in the relationship of the filmmakers to the material.

Please join us for a nine-day programme of screenings, presentations, and artists’ talks. Highlights include: Leafcutter John, one of the UK’s “most fearlessly inventive electronicists” will perform tracks from his album Resurrection using his self-made Light Controlled Interface. Rosalind Nashashibi, Jumana Manna & Sille Storihle, Sasha Litvintseva, Sarah Beddington, and Mairéad McClean’s works are presented in dialogue across two programmes curated by Gareth Evans and Minou Norouzi respectively. The weekend of special events is followed by a week-long exhibition of the exquisite The Royal Road by filmmaker and LGBT cinema historian Jenni Olson.

With: Mox Mäkelä, Timo Menke & Nils Agdler, Patricia Bandeira, Ted Kennedy, Peter Martin, Francesco Pedraglio, Leafcutter John, Emma Leach, Alison J Carr, Jumana Manna & Sille Storihle, Rosalind Nashashibi, Richard Wiebe, Pat Law, Sasha Litvintseva, Sarah Beddington, Mairéad McClean, Xiaowen Zhu, Tinne Zenner, Daniel Jacoby, Ben Balcom, Sky Hopinka, Andrée-Anne Roussel, Zachary Epcar, Patricia Azevedo & Clare Charnley, Scott Willis, Ian Nesbitt, Liz von Graevenitz, Alistair Macdonald, Michael Day, Richard Bartle, Maud Haya-Baviera, Lesley Guy & Lea Torp Nielsen & Dale Holmes, Jenni Olson.

Sheffield Fringe 2016 is produced in collaboration with Bloc Projects and Bloc Studios. Studios will be open to the public Sunday 12 June 12-6pm.

Details of the programmes, exhibition, and series of special weekend events are available here. Admission to all events is free.



Join the Sheffield Fringe 2016 team

Sheffield Fringe has an opening for a Production Coordinator to assist with the overall preparations for Sheffield Fringe 2016. This is a 20-day freelance organizational post with the core responsibility being the management of deliverables on time in the lead up to the event, opening on June 10th at Bloc Projects, Sheffield.

This role will suit someone diligent and self-directed, with strong communication skills, who has experience in production coordination and/or assistant curating. Responsibilities will include liaising with artists, curators, venues and suppliers. You would be working as part of a small, predominantly London-based collective of artists, filmmakers, curators. Interest and experience in film exhibition would be beneficial.

Sheffield Fringe is an artist-led curatorial project initiated to explore the intersection of art & documentary practices, through screenings, talks, exhibitions and research. It is held biennially at Bloc Projects Gallery in Sheffield, and is followed by a touring programme.

Apply with a CV and an outline of suitability to the role (max. 400 words) to

Please download full job description here.

Deadline: February 12th, 2016.

Deadline: Midnight GMT, Monday 8th February 2016


Open Call

Sheffield Fringe is now open for artists’ moving image submissions for our 2016 edition, starting at Bloc projects, Sheffield, in June 2016. We are interested in single-channel works that inspire dialogues, and/or are playful critiques of the documentary form, performance and spectatorship.


  • There are no restrictions in theme or approach.
  • Individual works must not exceed 20 min. in total running time.
  • Exhibition/screening copies must be available as H264 Quicktime data.
  • Submitted works must be available for preview online – for example on Vimeo or Youtube.
  • Submission fee: £10 per work (after clicking Submit, you will be redirected to PayPal for payment to Ad Lumina). .
  • Deadline: Midnight GMT, Monday 8th February 2016
  • Click HERE to submit online

Workshop Programmes

Anton Kats | Radio Sonar Narrowcast | Image courtesy of the artist

As part of an educational training scheme at Studio 174 in Kingston Jamaica, structured as a twofold artists’ residency and summer school, we were invited to present 6 curated artists’ film programmes to workshop participants and resident artists. Young people from the downtown area of Kingston worked together with students from the University of West Indies and resident on a series of artistic projects in various disciplines, including filmmaking, painting, sound art, and photography. The workshops were lead by The Rainbow Collective and Anton Kats.

The curated programmes were organized thematically. To reflect the interests of the participants we made a selection based on 6 keywords: dreams, poetry, portrait, music, history, and performance, around which we structured the programmes.

Announcing 2014 touring programme

Miranda Pennell | Tattoo 2001 | 9’ | Video | Image courtesy of the artist


Thursday 28th August 2014
NOI♀SE 2014
Utrecht, Netherlands


Thursday 11th September 2014
ICSM Men and Masculinities Symposium
Izmir, Turkey

Sheffield Fringe are pleased to announce their 2014 touring programme, with ‘Kiss me, gentlemen‘, first screened at Bloc Projects, Sheffield in June, accompanied by a presentations and discussions led by Minou Norouzi.

Participating works / artists:
Von der Ordnung der Gesellschaft / Of the Order of Society Alexander Lorenz
to stab Nelmarie du Preez
Complex Sirah Foighel Brutmann, Daniel Mann, Eitan Efrat
Tattoo Miranda Pennell
Hostage: The Bachar Tapes The Atlas Group / Walid Ra’ad
Three Poems by Spoon Jackson Michel Wenzer
Arcadia, downtown Yaron Lapid

Sheffield Fringe is an artist-led curatorial project exploring the intersection of art & documentary practices through screenings, talks, exhibitions and research, presented in partnership with OpenvizorDiversity Art Forum and Goldsmiths University of London. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Pleased to announce June programme with support from Arts Council England


D Mann, S Foighel Brutmann, E Efrat | Complex 2009 | 9’ | Video | Image courtesy of the artists


Fri 6th – Sat 14th June
71 Eyre Lane
Sheffield S1 4RB

This year’s extended edition of Sheffield Fringe considers the relationship between aesthetics and emergency politics, manifested as experimental narratives. Encountering both domestic and institutional arrangements, cultural conditioning, and national political milieux, the ethics of artistic agency and representation are brought into question as filmmakers cross-examine their chosen subjects from many angles. Improvisation may inform both subject matter and approach, with egos incisively and humorously dismantled; the specifics of a given place or circumstance may be scrutinized.

The films, performances, and discussions that make up Sheffield Fringe 2014 are by turns playful and unsettling, with monologue emerging as a strategy for preservation, and dialogue as the option to move things forward into the future.

In light of philosopher Isabelle Stengers’ call for relation-making practices to resist and reclaim, the contributions to Sheffield Fringe 2014 may be read as gestures towards a considered listening that is sensitive to “possibilities, which are our own, but which can come into existence only because we don’t feel they are our own.” (Stengers, 2012)

Participating artists: Jobina Tinnemans, Solmaz Shahbazi, Juliette Joffé, Angus Braithwaite, Rose Butler, Akio Yuguchi, Alison J. Carr, Adrienne Leverette, Rob Tyler, David Blandy, Alexander Lorenz, Daniel Mann, Sirah Foighel Brutmann, Eitan Efrat, Miranda Pennell, Shirin Sabahi, Nelmarie du Preez, The Atlas Group / Walid Raad, Michel Wenzer, Yaron Lapid, Theo Price, Samuel Stevens, Farhad Ahrarnia, Hadi Fallahpisheh, Marielle Nitoslawska, Farahnaz Sharifi. 

Sheffield Fringe 2014 is produced in collaboration with Bloc Projects and Bloc Studios. Studios will be open to the public Sunday 9 June 12-6pm. Admission to all events is free.

Sheffield Fringe is an artist-led curatorial project exploring the intersection of art & documentary practices through screenings, talks, exhibitions and research, presented in partnership with OpenvizorDiversity Art Forum and Goldsmiths University of London.


Pleased to announce support

Diversity Art Forum

We are pleased to announce support from the Diversity Art Forum for our Urban Observations series. Previous editions have included films profiling Los Angeles and Istanbul. This year’s focus is on Tehran, guest curated by Vali Mahlouji.

Vali Mahlouji trained first in archaeology and philology and later as a psychoanalyst and is a London-based independent curator, writer, translator and designer.

He is presently working on a survey of pre-revolutionary artistic production in Iran and is curator and producer of the upcoming exhibition and colloquium Perspectives on the Shiraz Arts Festival at Yale University. He is co-editor of Yale University’s journal Theatre (2011-‘12). Vali is independent curatorial adviser on the modern/contemporary Iranian collections and educational programme at the British Museum.

In 2008 he was curator and associate producer of Iran: New Voices at the Barbican Arts Centre where he presented a series of video screenings, artist talks, a symposium on performance in Iran and a two week run of contemporary experimental theatre from Iran, performing for the first time in the UK.

Diversity Art Forum has supported national and international projects since 2005. Recent collaborations include Artangel, Eastside Projects and David Malkovic at the Baltic. Diversity Art Forum have also been very actively engaged in our choice of this year’s collaborating guest curator.