Demet Muftuoglu & Alphan Eseli, Co-Founders of ISTANBUL’74 announce the launch of new biannual editions of the Istanbul International Arts & Culture Festival (IST. Festival), to premiere in Rome on May 31st-June 2nd 2019.

Curated by Demet Muftuoglu Eseli, Alphan Eseli, Delfina Delettrez Fendi and Nico Vascellari, the IST. FEST. ROME will bring together some of the world’s most talented and creative minds around an inspiring program of panels, talks, exhibitions, performances, screenings and workshops while maintaining its three-day admission-free format.

IST. FEST. ROME will focus on the theme: “Self-Expression in the Post-Truth World.” This edition of IST. Festival sets out to explore the ways in which constant changes in our surrounding habitats affect creative minds and artistic output. The core mission of the theme is to invoke lively debate from today’s arts and culture leaders concerning the struggle between reality and make-believe, while acknowledging digital technology, with its undeniable power and vast reach, as the ultimate tool for self-expression.

Now in its 10th year, IST Festival expands to the city of Rome and extends its reach to what historians consider to be “the Birthplace of Western Civilization.” For centuries, Rome has been the artistic and cultural center of the world, playing host to some of the most impressive art and architecture achieved by human civilization.

Since its inception in 2009, IST. Festival has grown into a highly anticipated cultural event, seeking creatives from different cultures and artistic disciplines to influence one another in unexpected ways, resulting in eclectic conversations and further collaborations between participants.

Past participants of IST. Festival include: Zaha Hadid,Tilda Swinton, Mario Sorrenti, Haider Ackermann, Franca Sozzani, Daniel Arsham, Courtney Love, Gore Vidal, Ryan McGinley, Peter Beard, among many others.


IST. International Arts and Culture Festival (IST. Festival) is a three-day admission-free annual festival that started in Istanbul. Since its beginning in 2010, IST. Festival has forged cultural and artistic relations by gathering leading cultural figures from around the globe using the historically diverse city of Istanbul as a stage and meeting point. Starting in 2019, IST. Festival will broaden its reach to a wider global audience with biannual editions in several international cities in Turkey, Europe and the U.S. Attended by writers, directors, actors, filmmakers, musicians, artists, designers and performers, the festival brings together creative minds to discuss their work and how it contributes to the global cultural vocabulary.


Turkey’s leading arts and culture platform ISTANBUL’74 was brought to life in 2009 by Creative Director Demet Muftuoglu Eseli and Filmmaker Alphan Eseli. Taking its name and inspiration from the city that culturally and geographically bridges two continents, ISTANBUL’74 organizes cultural events, festivals, workshops, exhibitions and artistic collaborations with creative thought leaders. In 2018, ISTANBUL’74 opened a second office in New York under the name of ‘74NEWYORK and continues its operations in both cities.                          

THEME: “Self-Expression in the Post-Truth World”
‘Post-Truth’ was chosen by the Oxford Dictionary as the word of the year for 2016. They define it as: Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. With this in mind the theme for IST.FEST.ROME is “Self-Expression in the Post-Truth World”.
We are now living in a time of great confusion which is characterized by uncertainty, ever-shifting paradigms, and aberrant technological advances. Extraordinary and unprecedented events keep happening which undermine our sense of stability in the world. What is familiar and known seems to shift shape around us with alarming speed and staggering pace. At the same time, we now inhabit new computerized safe-spaces as a means to retreat from these uncontrollable changes. We stow ourselves away in to our own personal silos, our digital identities, which function to protect us as personalized echo-chambers. As political conflicts, displaced populations, and the irrefutable effects of climate change transform the reality of the world around us, social media and artificial intelligence continuously spawn alternative realities, which we like to call as "The Digital Land- scape". In cyberspace, these alternative and new realities can be shaped into anything you want it to be.
This year’s edition of the IST. Festival sets out to explore the ways in which constant changes in our surrounding habitats affect creative minds and artistic output. We will take on the seemingly existential struggle between perceived digital realities and the known corporeal world via open, vibrant discussion with our extraordinary group of panelists. The core mission of the theme is to invoke lively debate around the struggle between reality and make-believe while acknowledging digital technology and its undeniable power and vast reach as the ultimate tool for self-expression..