sıla yolu

The Holiday Transit to Turkey and The Tales of the Highway

Sıla yolu, death trap, holiday route – the former Europastraße 5 (E5) has many names. Since the 1960s the transit route has been used by migrant workers from Turkey as a main link between Western Europe and Turkey. Today the “Gastarbeiterroute” is still an important route for holiday-makers, commuters and new groups of migrants. One can consider the route, whether eastward or westward, as representing an accumulation of memories of home(s) intertwined with past experiences and merging with hopes for the future. The past and future of this route means that the transit area of the motorway is a particularly interesting mixture of human emotions, wishes and unexpected (boundary) shifts.  

The exhibition SILA YOLU – The Holiday Transit to Turkey and the Tales of the Highway focuses on the individual and the collective search for a path, the discovery of destinations and beginnings, the process of traveling and the display of expectations, fantasies, memories and artefacts. The exhibition is not only concerned with the physical path between two places, but also with the complex emotional space in which the concepts of culture, identity and community oscillate rapidly, sometimes tied to immovable ideas.

During the summers of 2014-2016, Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu, both Berlin-based artists and founders of the project space bi’bak, conducted artistic research on-site and in the archives. The outcome is a mobile audio-visual installation and exhibition set up in an old Ford Transit, the typical and now symbolic car used by many Turkish immigrant families for the journey between their old and new homes.

The exhibition was shown in Autumn 2016 at various locations in Berlin and in March 2017 at Depo (Istanbul). Parallel to the exhibition, a side programme supplemented the subject with film screenings and discussions. Alongside the exhibition, a publication with scientific, artistic and literary contributions has been published

Exhibition Berlin: 24.09. – 09.10.2016
in ZK/U, bi’bak, Prinzesinnengärten, Galerie Wedding, himmelbeet
Preview: 22.0.2016, ZK/U
Opening: 23.09.2016, bi’bak

Exhibition DEPO, Istanbul: 04.03. – 02.04.2017
Opening: 03.03.2017

For more information please visit:

Artistic Direction: Malve Lippmann, Can Sungu
Project team: Esra Akkaya, Duygu Atçeken, Hanna Döring, Lukas Renner
Press Relations: Wiebke Finkenwirth
Graphic design: Çağın Kaya

In cooperation with DOMiD – Museum and Documentation Center for Migration in Germany, Cologne. Funded by the Fonds Soziokultur, the Berlin Senate for Culture and Europe, with the kind support of the Goethe Institut Istanbul.