The Copy­/Culture Symposium İstanbul


APRIL 28, 2012 13.30 – 17.00

SALT Galata, Auditorium

Language: English and Turkish (Simultaneous translation will be available)

The Copy/Culture Symposium İstanbul, presented by Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion in corporation with SALT examines the implications of copying, open source and sampling on the design trade and profession. Talks by Fulco Blokhuis, Aslı Kıyak İngin, Geert Jan Jansen, Tomas Klassnik, Elizabeth Sikiaridi, Tim Vermeulen, Fei Wang and Atilla Yücel will take place in the Auditorium at SALT Galata on April 28.

Design culture is obsessed with authenticity. The tension that immediately builds when people start to speak about copying demonstrates its current relevance and explosive potential. It is seen as something reprehensible – a fraudulent violation of taste and morals.

Often, only two kinds of copying are talked about: on the one hand, imitating an object as closely as possible and then pawning the fake off as the original, i.e., falsification, and on the other, copying to mask one’s own creative poverty. The latter act is obviously open to interpretation – for example, where does quotation end and copying begin? In music, people have quoted each other’s work for centuries. So why not in design?

In fact, copying can be a creative act. In the Middle Ages, it was often the only way to disseminate artistic products (think of handwritten books). It frequently led not just to facsimiles but to small innovations, and the copies became originals in their own right. And copying is still used as a teaching method in some Asian cultures. In Japan, for example, pupils learn trades by copying the work of masters. In our culture, copying as a form of quotation has recently taken off in subculture – in music first of all, and slowly but surely in design as well.

Copying is seen as a problem in business. The cheap bootlegging of name-brand products in non-western countries for western markets is only the tip of the iceberg. Often, people make money through the domestic marketing of borrowed ideas under brand names unheard of in the West. But copying and copyright breaches aren’t only a problem at the level of global economics. Businesses and creators also seek to protect their creative, technical and technological property – rightly so, as large sums are often invested in their development. Protecting rights buys time to earn that money back.

But is intellectual property protection still appropriate in an age when digital distribution and teamwork often make it difficult to identify a product’s author, maker or inventor? And in a culture in which quotation and copying have long led to enrichment and innovation, shouldn’t we strive for a new attitude towards copying and copyright?

About Premsela

Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, creates opportunities for the growth of Dutch design. We collaborate intensively with a large number of partners to organize lectures, debates and exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. Premsela also publishes Morf, the Netherlands’ largest design magazine, and the international web portal Our activities are aimed at designers, students, clients, producers and everyone interested in the value of design and fashion.

The Copy/Culture Symposium was conceptualized Roel Klaassen (Premsela) and Tim Vermeulen (Premsela) and organized in Berlin and Beijing.


Examining the implications of copying, open source and sampling for the design trade and profession.


13.30 Introduction
Tim Vermeulen - Programme manager at Premsela (Netherlands)
Host & moderator (EN)


Barbara Visser - Artist (Netherlands)
Copying Culture, Remixing History (EN)

Tomas Klassnik - Architect, researcher, director of The Klassnik Corporation (United Kingdom) Architectural Re-enactments (EN)


Atilla Yücel - Senior professor, architect (Turkey)
Kopya, tip ve metafor: “Sunny”nin katmanlarının keşfi [The copy, the type and the metaphor: disclosing the layers of “Sunny”] (TR)

Elizabeth Sikiaridi - Hybrid Space Lab (Germany)
Hybrid Culture İstanbul (EN)

15.00 Break
Aslı Kıyak İngin - Designer, architect and activist (Turkey)
Ortak Paylaşım Olarak Açık Kaynak Tasarımı ve Kopya: İstanbul bize ne sunabilir? [Open-Source Design and Copy as Commons: What İstanbul can offer us?] (TR)


Fei Wang - Urban image theorist, co-founder of Chinese Archi-Image Phenomena, principal of Atelier Ten (China)
Shanzhai, Copy Culture in Extreme Condition of Contemporary China (EN)

Fulco Blokhuis - Lawyer specialized in intellectual property, writer for (Netherlands)
Copyright or right to copy? (EN)

16.30 Final Debate (EN)

17.00 Close

Fulco Blokhuis (NL)

The network economy poses serious problems for copyright holders. Piracy of music and movies might just be the beginning. With 3D scanners and 3D printers coming our way, even physical objects will be downloadable. The last decade legislators have been introducing more and more enforcement of intellectual property rights. But is enforcement still feasible in the future?

Fulco Blokhuis specializes in media law and intellectual property, with a particular focus on copyright law and portrait rights.

Aslı Kıyak İngin (TR)

The production and the multi-actors network and its cluster system of the area of Şişhane in İstanbul provide an organism of share. In such a network, the most important thing is not the existence of a single workshop or shop or practice but the whole common benefit and sustainability of the network itself. Therefore, in such a system “copy” is a basic element as practice of share. The “Made in Şişhane” project aims to reveal the genuine system, operation and creativity of Şişhane, whereas the district is often identified negatively with copy and custom manufacturing. The project organized several events in order to contribute to the sustainability of this system, and asks question of whether “design” could be a tool in developing this area rather than one company or firm? Can we think of “copy” as a share and commons in order to understand it as a tool to reach a larger multiple public rather than the small group of elite?

Aslı Kıyak İngin is an architect, designer and activist. She also works as a designer and design manager at her Celik Dizayn Lighting Company. “Made in Şişhane” is one of her projects about an alternative approach for the city transformation.

Tomas Klassnik (UK)

Despite pervasive myths of artistic originality, copying is a fundamental part of architectural history and culture. This lecture will look at how the copy framed by technological, regulatory and moral contexts has been used both historically and currently as a productive process in architecture and design and how appropriated architectural and design languages can tell new stories.

Tomas Klassnik is a UK architect and founder of the Klassnik Corporation, an interdisciplinary design practice focused on the communication of ideas through architectural speculation.

Elizabeth Sikiaridi (DE)

Today networked and participatory design systems demand for new toolkits as well as for new concepts and social strategies. The juxtaposition ‘copy’ versus ‘authenticity’ is becoming obsolete and we are experiencing a cultural shift away from a mindset based on clear-cut categories and identities towards a flexible approach based on intermixtures, networks and hybrids. Cultural cross-fertilization and hybridization is crucial to the development of dynamic cultures. As a city on the crossroads, bridging two continents, Istanbul stands for such a Hybrid Culture approach.

Professor Elizabeth Sikiaridi is architect, and founder of Hybrid Space Lab, Berlin.

Tim Vermeulen (NL)

Moderator of today’s symposium
Tim Vermeulen works as a programme manager at Premsela, The Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, where he manages the international program.

Barbara Visser (NL)

Barbara Visser is an artist who has been playing with the notions of original and copy in several of her works.

Fei Wang (CN)

Shanzhai design and architecture in China, as part of Shanzhai culture, is not only a superficial parody during the past 20 years, but has evolved rapidly and actively as autonomous neo-reality in extreme social, cultural, political and economical conditions in China. Shanzhai will continue to be a part of the modernization of Chinese design and architecture.

Fei Wang is co-founder of Chinese Archi-Image Phenomena (CAIP), a consortium of urban image theorists speculating on architecture and image culture in contemporary China.

Atilla Yücel (TR)

The specificity of Architecture with regard to scale, space and social content as well as its complex material, tectonic and technological components calls for a multi dimensional discourse relating to “copy/culture” issues. Concepts such as Archetype, Type, Logic, Structure, Image, Imitation, Analogy, Isomorphism, Metaphor set a relevant linguistic framework in which such mechanisms can be discussed. Such a theoretical discussion will be followed by a structural analysis based on the various semantic connotations an individual design has generated. The “semiological tree” such connotations shape, constitutes a new basis for further conceptual formulations.

Atilla Yücel is architect and is presently lecturing at Istanbul Bilgi University and Cyprus International University. Founder and partner of MArS-Architects Design Office, Istanbul.