Nicole Weniger


Istanbul is regarded as an excessive city, which appearance is changing every day by urban renewal projects. Whole neighborhoods are wiped out and replaced by new ones. The aim of city planning is to create a homogeneous, uniform Istanbul and to eliminate so-called informal excesses. Here, a loss of identity is felt that results from a lack of orientation between global trends and the turkish desire for unity and cultural homogeneity.

Urban Zoo is a fictional city planning project, which promotes a vision of the city in the year 2023. The projects draws on the urban planning of Istanbul and its presentation forms on billboards in urban areas. Usually utopian scenarios are shown, which promise prosperity and modern life. Many times these promises remain unfulfilled. Megalomaniac plans such as the construction of the Bosphorus underwater channel to link the Anatolian with the European side, or the construction of the third Bosphorus bridge are waiting for their completion and implementation. Semi-finished built houses dot the urban landscape.


The photographes of Urban Zoo play with the utopia of the modern, unified city, and are also an interpretation of the existing reality - a city that can´t be controlled. With its hybridization of people with different social backgrounds, the aim to form an uniform city stays utopian. Urban Zoo shows a future in which the city is recaptured by its nature and all human kind remains hidden and inferior.

Istanbul, 2011