AltCity Istanbul

AltCity Istanbul is a digital arts residency, bringing artists from Turkey into creative collaboration to explore uses of creative technology to learn new methodologies and produce artwork that engage and speak to the fabric and communities of the city. 

It is aimed to be a catalyst for improving the awareness of digital art for artists in Turkey, and their ability to make and collaborate on digital art projects for now and the future.

AltCity Istanbul is a partnership project by the British Council and Digi.logue, an interactive platform supported by Zorlu Holding and Zorlu Performing Arts Center to accelerate digital transformation and is produced by Quays Culture, Salford Quays based digital arts producers. 

Artistic lead of the residency are Squidsoup, a UK based digital arts group, who specalise in digital media and light art. 

About the Residency

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a two-week full time residency for artists from Turkey. 

The aim of the residency will be on creativity, experience, and the production of work where digital is a tool not an end in itself, but artistic creativity.

Squidsoup will be using two distinct technological approaches and participating artists will gain hands-on experience in making examples of these from scratch. The technologies used will be based on Squidsoup’s BLOOM and SUBMERGENCE projects. 

Squidsoup use digitally controlled light, emanating from hundred or even thousands of point sources to alter and affect our perception and meaning of physical space. 

Participating artists will work in small groups (3-6 people), guided and aided by creative / technical mentors.

At the end of the two weeks the participating artists will mount and exhibition in the Digi.logue Space at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center. 


AltCity Istanbul is essentially a creative collaboration and learning experience. 

The residency will be based on two artistic concept ideas created by Squidsoup. Therefore, Squidsoup retains the copyright and equipment ownership to their artwork concepts used during this residency.

Participants are required to credit Squid Soup and AltCity project partnership when presenting resultant work in their portfolios created during the AltCity residency.  

If participants wish to exhibit the resultant work beyond the AltCity Istanbul project, Squidsoup shall be informed.

Who can apply?

We are looking for established and emerging artistic talent from all areas of artistic practice, with an interest in experimenting with digital art and making this part of their future art work. 

The residency is aimed at accommodating artists from different levels of digital knowledge - inexperienced to experienced - so as long as the artists can demonstrate a genuine interest in digital art to be part of their future work, we encourage applying.  

We can accommodate artists who wish to explore one of the three areas on this residency;

  1. Main focus - participating artists will have the opportunity to explore the possibilities of using code, data, light, sound and interaction as the basis of augmenting physical space and creating digitally augmented experiences. Resultant work will be exhibited at the Digi.logue Space.
  2. Artists can look to create content (video or animation) for the gigantic video wall at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center main foyer. Artists will be required to provide their own cameras for any filming and be expected to work in the course space as part of the group. The Zorlu PSM retains the right to approve the work for the video wall. The projects must be digital art and be explained in detail at application stage.
  3. Artists can come to the course to learn from Squidsoup, and work on their own digital art projects in the same space as the course. Artists must embrace the ethos of sharing their ideas as part of the course and showcasing their work to the public. The projects must be digital art and be explained in detail at application stage. Resultant work will be exhibited at the Digi.logue Space.

We welcome applicants from across Turkey and will asses and grant travel expenses to those in need of it on a case by case basis. 

If you have any queries about financial support or travel expenses, please contact the team at

A group of 12 artists will be selected from an open application process via the British Council and Digi.logue. 

Requirements for successful applicants

Participants are required to commit to the two-week full time residency and installation of the exhibition. (Please see timeline)

If you cannot fully commit to the two week full time residency, but feel you have a reasonable justification for needing an adjustment, please email We will advise whether applicants should still apply on a case by case basis.

Residency participants will be required to adhere to the AltCity Istanbul Terms of Residency & Code of Conduct, which will be provided upon confirmation of attendance.

Participants are required to take part in an evaluation of the residency

Participants are required to bring their own laptop.

As part of the residency, artists will also be expected to participate in one public event in the form of a presentation/talk/workshop to share their experience and their art. 

What resources and space will there be?

The residency will take place at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center, Sky Lounge, however there will also be occasional site visits if required for filming, guerrilla installs, or workshop production.

The residency will take place in Sky Lounge at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center. 

The residency is free and materials are provided to build the Squidsoup artworks. 

Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided during the residency.

Simultaneous and consecutive translation will be provided. 

Technical Equipment 

At least 4 computers (a mix of Mac and PC) with the following installed:

  • video editing software (Premiere, AfterEffects)
  • processing
  • arduino
  • admin privileges
  • web access

2. 2-4x Full HD data projectors, minimum 4000 lumen.

3. Sound systems and speakers

4. 1 set of 64x LED strands, controller, power supplies, cables

5. 24-36x Blooms, cables, power supplies

6. Cameras (DSLR, DJI Omni (mini steadicam), GoPro)



  • Call for applications: Tuesday 15 August 2017 
  • Deadline for applications: Sunday 24 September, 24.00 
  • Shortlisting of applications: 25 September – 9 October 2017
  • Successful candidates notified: Tuesday 10 October 2017 
  • Contacting the eliminated applicants: w/c Monday 16 October 2017
  • Programme commences: Monday 23 October 2017
  • Programme ends: Saturday 4 November 2017
  • Installation of the exhibition: 6 – 11 November 2017 
  • Exhibition opening: Tuesday 14 November 2017 

How to apply?

Please complete and submit the online application form by Sunday 24 September, 24.00.  

What you will be asked to submit in your application form?

  • A brief statement about your artistic practice to date 
  • Up to 5 online links of your art
  • A brief statement about why you are interested in digital art 
  • A brief statement about how you think this course might help you, and help the arts scene in Turkey 
  • Three artists you admire and explain why

How we will assess your application and select 12 artists

When we receive your application project curators at the British Council and Zorlu PSM will first check whether it is eligible or not. Please see who can apply for eligibility and make sure to complete all questions. 

We will assess all eligible applications using the information in the application form. It is particularly important for you to clearly express why you are interested in digital art and how you think this programme might help under section 3 – supporting information. 

We will also request comments from the leading digital media and art professionals from Turkey as part of the assessment process.  

  • Bager Akbay, Co-founder, Iskele 47
  • Candaş  Şişman, Artist and Co-founder, Nohlab
  • Cansu Ataman Bilgiç, Arts Manager, British Council
  • Assoc. Prof. Ebru Yetişkin, Istanbul Technical University
  • Esra A Aysun, Head of Arts Turkey, British Council  
  • Asst. Prof. Güven Çatak, Founder and Director, BUG Game Lab Bahçeşehir University
  • Lalin Akalan, Sonar Istanbul + D Curator and Artistic Director, Digi.logue, Zorlu Performing Arts Center

Our assessors will use their expertise and judgement to shortlist applications and final selection of 12 artists for the residency will be made by Anthony Rowe, Squid Soup. 

We regret that we cannot provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants. 

External links