Turning our attention to questions of publishing, civic engagement, and other exogenous explorations, K, opens the Fall season with Ankara-born designer and editor Esen Karol. Since the 1990s, she has made an indelible impact on Istanbul’s cultural scene through her books and graphic systems. In her own quest to find what’s next, Karol most recently embarked on an independent publishing project called Manifold. Now two years old, Manifold is a platform to analyze the immediate environment of Istanbul, considering questions of urbanism, design, art, and politics primarily within the contested Turkish context. By bringing Karol to Berlin to collaborate with K,’s curator, P. Kris, we seek to survey her graphic archive and reanimate records from nearly three decades of design practice—in a way that opens up unexpected encounters rather than claiming an authoritative interpretation.
Esen Karol is a graphic designer based in Istanbul, Turkey, who works on both digital and analog projects in her one-person studio. Her clients and collaborators have included notable arts institutions and brands such as Arter, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Mavi, SALT, and Milli Reasürans Art Gallery, as well as curators and artists Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Fatma Bucak, Füsun Onur, Hou Hanru, Leyla Gediz, Mona Hatoum, René Block, Sarkis, Vasıf Kortun, and Volkan Aslan. From 2003–2012, she taught typography and publication design at Istanbul Bilgi University. She is a graduate of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul and received her master’s degree in communications design from Pratt Institute, NY, where she was a Fulbright Fellow. Her current focus is on projects relating to the Turkish-language online journal, Manifold, which she co-founded with Bülent Tanju in 2016.