Akbank Art Center – 38th Contemporary Artists Exhibition

“Beyond the Wall” is an interactive installation open to everyone. By scanning this QR code, you can add sounds beyond the wall in the next exhibitions of the project.

Beyond The Wall

The sound installation created by artist Diren Demir through an open call during the pandemic, where different people in different houses record sounds coming from “beyond the walls” in their living spaces, collects the traces of life reflected on dozens of different walls in one wall.

Although the quarantine process has created a huge change and fluctuation in human relations and in everyday life; our daily life and routine continued in different ways in our apartments, houses and rooms. New forms of communication have emerged because everyday life has a broad definition that can be narrowed down to four walls.

Aiming to collect traces from everyday life despite the narrowing of the living space of humanity in these days, “Beyond the Wall” opens up space to question the fact that “walls” are the only thing that completely separates different lifes in different houses.

Different lifes forced to fit between the four walls are exposed in proportion to the permeability of the walls witnessing these lifes. Transmittance now becomes a communication channel, and all factors of family structure, forms of communication between ages or cases of domestic violence become symbols of this unilateral form of communication. Thus, the walls of separation are reconsidered in the new world as a means of “establishing contact” in limited possibilities of witnessing.

Speak to the Water

Speak to the Water, is based on the belief that the effect and emotional state of bad dreams can be healed by explaining it to the water. Diren uses the choses vine, as a symbol of the subconscious, dreams, secrets, unknown and deep knowledge. Diren reads various fragments of the dream diaries
that he has been recording since 2012. Narrationing his dreams into the red vine, Diren invents a dream library consisting of vine glasses. Each glass is labeled with the date of the dream it was recited
and has a different aroma. The area revealed by the performance realizes the disclosure of the subconscious and opens space for psychoanalytic readings. The library formed at the end of the performance is open to drink by those who want to taste Diren’s dreams.

Stage Dust Archive

In the process of “preventing the pandemic”, each administration takes different actions
according to its own economic power and socio-cultural structure, but each unites with one
goal: to produce new docile bodies. Theater stages, which were ignored because they could not provide a significant power to the economic structure, became an area that Turkey overlooked among the different “protection” administrations regarding the Pandemic. While many theater institutions are about to go bankrupt, artists are also looking for
alternative ways to survive and perform their art; In this process, the theater stages, which
did not receive any support from the state, are getting more “dusty” day by day.

In the “Stage Dust Archive” series, Diren visits various theater stages, cleans them, collects and archives the dust of the stages. The accumulated dust from different theaters is
archived in different jars. Using dust as a material: this dark and difficult process that art,
artist and art institution goes through is more clearly revealed.

Güneş Cinema

Located on Kürkçübaşı Külhani Street in Aksaray, Güneş Cinema had been publicly screening erotic films from the very opening date. The seats of Güneş Cinema had been used by gay men as a place for sex work and cruising. As a consequence of the raid on September 7, 2008, of the police vice department upon receiving notice about the homosexual affairs taking place in the cinema theatre, those gay men who were having sexual intercourse at that moment and the cinema workers were arrested (29 in total) after the police “forced to suddenly turn the lights on”. The police teams seized erotic films, and the cinema was shut
down. After the erasure of the territorial memory of Güneş Cinema, the place turned into a
heterosexistically recoded billiards-and hookah cafe called As Cafe. Diren intervenes in this place by means of shimmering/exaggerate colors and tools in their “Güneş Cinema” artwork. By displaying a “conspicuous” expression of the texture and atmosphere of the “fluid” place that is about to be forgotten under the forced memory destruction, Diren invites us to get to know the conservative side of Aksaray and the location of Güneş Cinema, Kürkçübaşı Külhani Street, in all honesty.


Waiting For a Subtext
2019, Amsterdam

“Waiting: to stay in a place, stop until something happens, ends or someone or
something comes.”
“Waiting For a Subtext” reveals the process of completing an unfinished
work. Diren sends the subtext of the performance to the “191” numbered mail box and waits for it near by the postbox. A letter and a postman are made an object of expectation and desire. Thus, the nature and levels of the
motivation of waiting are explained and presented.
Addiction to the subtext, which is the object of desire for completing an
incomplete performance job, and hoping for the coming of the postman, are exploring the freedom field of the individual’s emotional nature and the structure of a performance.

In the course of the vivid process of living around a chair, the artist aims to
turn into a lonely figure that integrates with the texture of the street and the city by exhibiting the boundaries of the body and psychology.

Remains of a Walked Path
Polaroid Series
14 Pieces
11,5 x 146 cm
Amsterdam / Istanbul
Diren Demir

@paulocoelho ‘s novel “Hippie” tells the adventure of Paulo and Karla, starting from Amsterdam to Kathmandu. İstanbul based artist Diren, took the book to India and read it on the opposite route towards Amsterdam. As the book tells the world of the 1970s through @paulocoelho ‘s eyes, it maintains two main locations: Istanbul and Amsterdam. Diren pursues these impressions by linking these two cities together, documenting the individual memory spaces that Paulo and Karla have been in Amsterdam and Istanbul, with Polaroids. The “Remains of a Walked Path” series reveals the destruction, transformation and traces left in the memory spaces of history. Some of these areas have now disappeared, some have changed their function, and some are the same as they were in the 70’s.

Shambala Diaries
Photo Series
10 pieces

The photograph series Shambala Diaries developed during a time when I specifically visited non-commercial and unknown locations in the Himalayan mountains of India and formed close bonds with local village people.

  A secret city known as Shambala, where only enlightened people can find has a meaningful part in the Buddhist belief. This place is believed to be exist in the Himalayan mountains. During my spiritual journey that had no route, I believed in the existence of Shambala in the Himalayan mountains and hoped to arrive there one day. All the time I spent there, the city of Shambala haunted my mind and haunted my dreams… However, kindness and happyness of the people I met along the way made me realize that Shambala is just a state of consciousness. Then, I started photographing portraits of the people that i called as “natives of Shambala”. All of them have given me valuable information and theachings throughout my journey. It is no coincidence that many of them are old grandmothers, young monks, or the lonely mountains itself.


The patriarchal system which formed within our society and evolved in our home requires us to give a domestic service. The performance “Service” draws a dramatic portrait of the “groundless” / “fragile” pleasure behind the “Father” figure who has been presenting and adopting to male dominated power for generations. The collaborative performance between the artist and his father represents the action of serving a tea and meets the demand of the male figure. The repetitive process of the action culminates in a delicate sculpture that formed from the Turkish tea cups. The action continues till the gratified sculpture which draws the dictatorship of the patriarchy gets destroyed.

Zen Walking  
2019, Amsterdam
Zen Walking is a meditative technique that has been used for ages by buddhist monks to gain a deeper connection with the mind and body. This old tradition which is generally held for long hours and distances in the nature carried into the city by Diren. 

Diren contrasts this disturbing intensity with the rapid flow of people’s daily routine mobility. Thus, it reveals a perception of time and space that the city people have not experienced before.