Zurich, 1916. The entire world was struggling with the darkness of the Great War, its depression and shock, and there emerged a group of artists who said: “Art is dead; long live art!” This phrase became the first flame of a protest movement that opposed conventional rules and disciplines, rejected the current forms and techniques and stood bravely up against Europe’s conceptions of culture and civilization that created never-ending wars. Inspired by the word that most babies utter first, ‘dada’, this group of people called themselves the dadaists. Putting childlike excitements at the center of their art, they started an international and multicultural trend that would transform the world.
Kuzguncuk, early 1900s. With the recently introduced ferries of Şirket-i Hayriye, Kuzguncuk’s business life is bustling with excitement. In spite of the wars taking place all over the world, a rare sight of tolerance is prevailing in Kuzguncuk. Armenian, Greek, Jewish and Turkish families are living together, each observing their religion in respective places of worship that stood next to each other. At today’s Perihan Abla Street, for instance, Mr. Ömer the Turk’s glass shop is across from Mr. Stefan the Armenian at number 5, and next to the Greek fisherman Tatyos.