An absolutely subjective, but extremely sincere series of articles

İpek Çınar
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What three words describe your writing process?

Panic, panic, hope.*


It is clear that every now and then the glamorous act of producing is blocked for many reasons. Invoking a mystical muse while pondering the reasons and solutions is often wrong and occasionally incomplete. 

In Courage to Create, Rollo May describes the distinction between talent and creativity by describing creativity as an act of courage to create a new society. The definition of talent, on the other hand, is an illusion of creation that interrupts an encounter or potential. 

In other words, we might say that one is a honeymoon, while the other is a lifetime of companionship. Or (albeit somewhat cruelly), while one is the showing off of a quality exam paper to a person who will be enjoyed, the other is like writing a thesis. Just like writing an academic thesis, which cannot be limited to the final product, but also involves unseen efforts such as providing for oneself financially throughout the process, constantly seeking research funding, conducting fieldwork, compromising with the thesis advisor, and facing the jury; the act of creating involves many personal, social, and cultural factors. 

In the case of artistic block, there may be personal reasons that are obvious at first sight, such as not having self-discipline, not being able to plan well the process of realization of the idea, having low motivation, to tend the fields with more success. Another handicap results from ignoring art as a profession or a plan for the future. In this sense, art is reduced to a personal pleasure especially in Turkey. The romanticization of this process by the public and art lovers is another burden for the artist.

The fact that galleries and institutions call for the established artists puts the question of what it means to establish oneself as an artist in the minds of those who are in the early years of the production process. The artists who are not involved in the dynamics of the art market will not find a medium to present their productions. Even if they find one, they are not noticed by the public/gallery owner/collector. The artist who cannot enter this narrow circle becomes almost offended by the production after a while. 

In the field where fundings and sources of income for the artists are limited, the artists do not feel financially secure, they cannot make a future plan based on their production and have to divide their time between the professions where they can see their future better. 

A non-stop production illusion brought by the art industry and social media causes anxiety among artists producing long-term works by forcing them to speed up the preparation processes. 

And most importantly, the whole world is going through exceptional days like we have never experienced before. 

For most of us, the perception of production and priorities have gradually shifted compared to two months ago. Besides the health concerns, which do not surprise any of us, the Turkish government has not applied any financial aid for the art industry during this period. The art workers, who are already in a precarious situation, are now facing even greater financial difficulties. 

The issues we have mentioned above may sound familiar. Or some of us may consider them irrelevant. What we're aiming for with this series is to question all these mechanisms: what's behind the difficulties we go through in producing? Because there are periods of restlessness, abstraction, and undefined pauses that most of us experience from time to time. Perhaps they can be more easily resolved if we hear more concrete things and listen to each other more. Perhaps the situation is not as dark as we think. 

We plan to continue this series of articles on blocking through August 1, with a new post each Sunday. If you have words, images, suggestions, ideas about blocking, or other questions about this topic, we'd love to talk with you at [email protected]. Knock on our door with a short text consisting of your interpretations or your questions. We are eager to hear from you.


* From 73 Questions with Phoebe Waller-Bridge video: