Collective intelligence embodied in Taksim Square

This past -almost- two weeks Turkey have seen an incredible, unexpected movement from its young generation, starting with protecting a public space in the center of the city, of which turned into a protest of governments authoritarian policies. Millions of people gathered together all day and night to stand together peacefully and against police’s excessive force. Marched together to claim back the symbol of their protests – Gezi Park – and succeeded in June 1st.

What in my opinion is more interesting after taking back the park from police. Taksim, where we have almost everyday been, was partly closed because of the pedestrianization construction. Moreover it was totally closed by police barricades and surrounded by a tear gas buffer zone after the police attack in early Friday morning. A square, of which has deep impact on everyone’s perception, was completely out of sight and protected from the commons. As police withdrawn, marchers from all outbound streets entered the square, facing ‘something else’, that is blended with their recent mixed emotions. The opened up construction site, park that is claimed back, and more importantly all the barricades and destroyed police cars and so on along with growing number of wall writings criticizing and making fun of the prime minister’s policies and police.

There is no need of an evidence that the social media played the leading role in communication of the persons, and creating an awareness between every single individual, without a need for the political groups, which recent government still refuses to see. This time it is exactly the literal actualization of Kwinter’s saying from his book “Requiem for the city at the end of millennium” that the unpredictable and fast nature of the archive system (internet), can place the scientific action and political method for everyone with a phone line and a hard drive, of which refined and disciplined eras and methods could not (2011). In an older blog post I also referred to this situation saying “The more persons act as the transmitter of local information, faster the dissolution of protected archives happens. This forms a distributed network that emerges by the vague connection of persons, which can be inferred as nodes. Gatherings of individuals, shows emergent behavior, where the result of the gathering generates a different entity, which is more powerful local wise. Status posts about local events, helps persons to organize faster through that event, however has the inconsistency that will cause the organization to change its formation rapidly”.

Taksim, after June1st and until now, turned into a ‘rescued zone’ where no government actions was taking place. Crowd was from every different parts of the public, gathered in the public space, the square, with all their own differences. Their collective intelligence, recreated the square with a different perception than previous and showed the demonstration of actual collective usage of a space, that is public. Re-writing the program with a bottom up approach, like started against all the top down policies of the old world, embodied on the recent government.

If we go deep in different parts of Taksim, which is also visible in the photo slide show, we would see this new political action of each individual and their collective intelligence. Growing number of wall writings teasing the situations all over was written also on the barricades, where the action was taken in its most crude way. People, who is coming to Taksim and Gezi Park and growing every day, taking pictures as souvenir with the destroyed busses. My conversation with Ali Dur during our so called ‘touristic trip’ in Taksim was mainly over how persons with their own sake was transforming the public space into such political and yet so individual and belong to public.

What I think we learned from this experience is that the urban – and public- space is no longer an area of ‘decisions’, however a living entity, transforming itself accordingly with the persons interests, activities…

This leads us to think whether the representative democracy is what we need or what else will emerge now? 


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