The School of Earthquake Diplomacy is a project initiated by Navine G. Khan-Dossos for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial: A School of Schools.
Looking at the 1999 earthquakes in Greece and Turkey, The School of Earthquake Diplomacy takes its name from the exchange of mutual aid and public empathy when both countries were hit by earthquakes within weeks of each other. It was a very particular moment, at both political and geological levels, one that brought about mutual coordination of resources, and ongoing shared research to prepare for future earthquakes. Many people have memories of that time, and the project aims to engage these memories in the creation of a new work. It also considers the future possibility of earthquakes as an low-level anxiety people live with every day in these cities.
The School is one that focuses on meditation rather than mediation as a creative strategy. A series of artist-led workshops in Athens and Istanbul aim to explore the subject through painting based on international symbols used in public space to denote the threat of earthquakes in the local vicinity.
The School will produce a series of circular paintings on paper using these earthquake vectors and symbols to make repeating patterns over their surface. The circular paintings will decrease in size, creating concentric rings like those of an earthquake’s epicentre, spreading outwards. The works will be overlapped, showing just the edges of each previous layer, as a process-based concept of painting, and covering, layering as a form of dialogue.
In Athens, the The School of Earthquake Diplomacy was hosted by Kassandras and Matthieu Prat. In Istanbul the workshops and final exhibition are hosted at Arter as one site amongst many housing the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial.