bi'bak's research-based exhibitions focus on widely neglected narratives in (Western) Europe in order to generate new perspectives that are crucial to a complex understanding of socio-political and socio-economic contexts worldwide.


SILA YOLU | Berlin

The Holiday Transit to Turkey and the Tales of the Highway

By Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu


SILA YOLU | Istanbul

The Holiday Transit to Turkey and the Tales of the Highway

By Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu

SILA YOLU | Istanbul

Sıla yolu, autoput, death road, way home - the former European route 5 (E5) between Germany and Turkey has many names. The transit route served generations of migrant workers as the main link between Western Europe and their countries of origin. The former "guest worker route" is still an important route today for holidaymakers, commuters and new groups of immigrants.

For the installation, Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu from bi'bak talked to numerous travelers, families, highway and picnic experts on the old and new routes. Complemented by text, image and film material from the past and present, the exhibition tells the story of the route, the old and the new Europe, the borders and obstacles and the changing landscapes along the sıla yolu (Turkish for: way home).

In an audiovisual installation integrated in a Ford Transit (built in 1985), which stopped off at various locations in Berlin and Istanbul between 2016 and 2017, the highway between Germany and Turkey is thematized in all its facets. The focus of our exhibition project SILA YOLU – The Holiday Transit to Turkey and the Tales of the Highway lays on the individual and collective search for a route, finding destinations and starting points, traveling the distance and bringing along and transporting expectations, fantasies, memories and artefacts. The project deals not only with the physical path between two places, but also with the complex space of emotions, in which the concepts of culture, identity and community oscillate rapidly, but sometimes are also bound to immutable ideas. In addition, the exhibition shows an important part of German-Turkish migration history.

For the exhibition a publication with academic, artistic and literary contributions has been published, which can be ordered from us by email or downloaded here.

For more information visit the project website.

Concept and Artistic Direction: Malve Lippmann, Can Sungu
Project Assistants: Duygu Atçeken, Esra Akkaya, Hanna Döring
Workshop Leaders: Tuna Arkun, Malve Lippmann
Graphic Design: Çağın Kaya

Malve Lippmann studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and at the Institute for Art in Context (UdK) in Berlin. As a freelance stage designer and artist, she has been internationally responsible for the design of numerous performances, opera- and theatre productions. Since 2010, Malve Lippmann has been working as a curator and cultural manager, leading artistic workshops and seminars and is active in various cultural- and community projects. She is co-founder and artistic director of bi'bak and SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA.

Can Sungu studied film and visual communication design in Istanbul and at the Institute for Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts. He has given workshops and seminars in the field of film and published texts on film and migration. As an artist, he participated in numerous exhibitions, including at MMSU Rijeka, Künstlerhaus Vienna and REDCAT Los Angeles. He is co-founder and artistic director of bi‘bak.

To the events

DEPO, Istanbul


frontend.im_anschluss_x. Gökhan Mura and Ömer Alkın


Accompanying the exhibition SILA YOLU The Holiday Transit to Turkey and the Tales of the Highway the symposium Hard Shoulder – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sila Yolu takes place at DEPO in Istanbul. Three experts from different disciplines are discussing their work related to the sıla yolu, the highway between Germany and Turkey, which has been travelled and experienced by many generations. Ömer Alkın (Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Film Studies) researches about Turkish migration films, in which the route between Germany and Turkey serves as a common narrative. Gökhan Mura (Izmir University of Economics, Design Studies) focuses his research on the souvenirs which were brought by the Turkish immigrants from Western Europe to Turkey. Martina Priessner (documentary filmmaker) speaks about her long-term research on the route and her new film project. Following the presentations, the public is invited to join a discussion and share their memories, opinions and experiences on the sıla yolu.

The event is kindly supported by Goethe Institute Istanbul.

Gökhan Mura is an Assistant Professor at the Visual Communication Design department at Izmir University of Economics. He recieved his PhD from the Department of Industrial Design at Istanbul Technical University.

Ömer Alkın is a media & cultural studies scholar and filmmaker. His research focuses on migration, film and racism. His writings have appeared in numerous books and journals. Most recently, “Die visuelle Kultur der Migration. Geschichte, Ästhetik und Polyzentrierung des Migrationskinos” (2020, transcript). He lives and works in the Ruhr region and in Cologne.