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Irem Biter's quest for inclusive interiors

  • Fine Art
  • Architecture and...

Every year, magazine Metropolis M releases a Graduation Special, featuring work by several alumni who graduated as visual artists. Irem Biter graduated from Corpo-real, the master's course Interior Architecture at ArtEZ in Zwolle, and is one of the alumni featured in the special. Metropolis M asked the artist the question, "What is the story behind your work?"

Irem Biter's quest for inclusive interiors

A vague household scene slowly moves across white model buildings. They are high up on stilts and are illuminated by overlapping images from small projectors, images that are at the same time strange and familiar. Hints of curtains, a lit balcony, lights, a view over the city. A pink light like a sunrise slides over a white staircase; a whole interior panorama unfolds on the cardboard walls. Irem Biter's installation evokes indefinable moods, an intuitive sense of home in an unknown house.

As a Turkish immigrant, Biter is caught between two worlds; she is not yet completely at home here but she has become an outsider in her home country. She wanted to do something with that fact, based on the realisation that the same is true for many people. On the architecture course she followed in Turkey, she found there was little place for marginalised groups. Those groups, such as immigrants and trans or queer people, have not yet completely penetrated to the prevailing norms within architecture. Irem is keen to contribute to that development; she sees it as her mission to make inclusive interior architecture, to shake up the hierarchy of the design process by directly involving its users in the design process and not only when everything is finished and decided.

For her graduation project, Biter developed a democratic interior that reflects the identity of these inbetweeners. With references to home, where the palm trees sway and the sun always shines, and tentative roots here in the new country, regular fall of light and prissy homeliness. She worked with a group of queer Turkish people. Together they made collages that came to define the feel of the graduation work. It is a weird and wonderful scene that extends far beyond mood alone. Biter finds images for the unsayable, for a desire that you would rather forget and at the same time would like to cherish. Although the design can currently only be experienced in miniature and virtual reality, she hopes to translate her project to a physical space – ideally in partnership with other marginalised groups, so that she doesn't overlook anything and everyone can feel at home in her in-between country.

Auteur: Inge Pollet, curator and poet