When we say independent art organizations, one of the main concepts is, of course, "independence". What does independence mean to you? As an art formation, what do you feel like you are dependent on, and what do you think you need to look out? 

Saliha Yavuz: First of all, in an age like this with the current agendum, if you aim full independence in a city like Istanbul, you should either have budget or friends who believe in improving together and help you in any circumstances. I think that the second one will not provide sustainability. And only a few people in the creative industry have the first one. Or those who started with the second one and then obtain the first one with their commercial intelligence and persistency, and reach complete independence... If your content is the production of others, it is again a question of what that independence means… Also, if you consider other possibilities such as funds, I am not sure how independent you are.  

GriZine was a content platform rather than an art organization. In other words, it shared the productions of other people. Even if it collaborated with brands, it did that with brands that it admired, believed, and followed. In this sense, I can say that we remain independent. Maybe that is the reason why it ended at some point...  


When it comes to sustainability, the organizational model is just as important as economic issues. That prompt us to think of some concepts more. What do you think about the institutionalization and division of labour?

S: We somehow institutionalized through a completely natural process. We were two people at the beginning, then we grew. We adopted the division of labour based on interests, talents, and potentials. I think this was the natural, normal one. 

I think the institutionalization does not require a vertical hierarchy in the sense that we used to, witness, and experience from large-scale institutions. When you divide labour, if you build a character based on what you do and if others can perceive this, if the business is running, if you earn money and maintain your living, it means you are already institutionalized. Although I know neither a dictionary nor a corporate definition of it, I believe this. 

The organizations arise from the individual desires and needs as well as the needs of the art environment. Therefore, the wishes and opinions of individuals become a significant factor in the structure of an organization. How much did your organization depend on the individuals part in and how did you balance between these two?

S: As I mentioned above, we did and produced on what we aimed, what we believed, and what we got excited. Of course, this model depended on the individuals within the structure. I do not assume it could be otherwise. You can establish a balance by addressing your own needs first, and then the needs of others. It seems that our needs and goals were completed with our intentions...


Why did your initiative end? What does termination mean to you? 

Papatya Tıraşın: I started to answer the questions from the last one. Therefore, I believe I replied this question somewhere below :) 


How did your organization sustain itself economically?

P: GriZine was the platform for our "paid work". What you saw when you checked out GriZine -the articles, social media management, videos, audio contents, illustrations- were contents made for digital or field platforms. 

We sustained ourselves by doing content production, advertising and pr work for brands (on digital and or physical platforms) inside and or outside of GriZine (brands' web sites, blogs, and so on.) However, at the end of 2012, the first signals of the crisis, which we can deeply experience now, began to arise. Then, Gezi "happened." In September 2013, alcohol law changed (Our primary source of income were alcoholic beverage brands.) And we did not think fast. Almost everyone in the team was on the creative side of the organization. It would be nice if someone on the "business" side of the organization could join the forces. I can now see different sustainability channels and methods when I look back. I could not see at that time. 


Do you think that your initiative can transform itself in the period that continues its existence and adapts to the new conditions? Does the concept of generational difference mean anything to you? 

P: GriZine was an organization having the ability to transform itself and act one or two steps ahead of current conditions. We still often criticize ourselves by thinking that we did and designed many things way early. In the years that GriZine was active, the concept of generational difference did not exist that much as it does now. Today's college student and new employee profile were high school students at that time. They were not the general target audience of GriZine. That is why it is not a concept that I can specifically make comments on GriZine. I believe that difference. It is impossible not to do. If a generation needs to adapt something, we should be that generation. Not Generation Z. 


What difficulties did you experience during the termination process?

P: Except for the existential ones, I did not experience difficulties for myself. I had a natural relationship with GriZine from the very beginning. If I was upset, it became upset, too. As long as I was in a good mood, GriZine was also okay. It does not seem professional, but it was one of the reasons behind GriZine's popularity during its existence. The termination period was to witness the death of something that I created, something that carried a part of mine. 

S: Except for the emotional difficulties, GriZine ended up on its own. Likewise, its existence and continuity. 


If there was a world in which you could determine all the conditions, what changes would you think for maintaining?

P: Frankly, I do not wish a world that I can determine all the conditions and an organization that last forever. Almost everything has a beginning, a life span, and an end. From that end, a brand new beginning arises. To strength to continue despite all kinds of negativity, the relief and grief coming with an end announce a new beginning, a new genesis. At least that is how I live. 


What kind of problems do you observe in independent initiatives, and what are your concerns about the future of them? Do you have any suggestions or experiences to share?

S: I believe the organizations that started as a friendship and then lost its balance, that forgot the common intention, that does not have a division of labour and work in a closed structure are problematic. 

Of course, a core team provides firm steps, but flexibility is also required. It is crucial to ask for help, to involve other people, and to open a new door when it is necessary. Apart from that, it is necessary to put idealism aside. And to accept the reality and possibilities of the geography we live in. We should be stubborn to build new things and transform the existing. We should accept that we have to live like Superman & Clark Kent and focus on what this brings us. We have to be in solidarity. Because all independent formations have common intentions: Existing, producing, and sharing. To exist, to produce, to share despite everything such as country, economy, political agenda, unlawfulness. So even if you are from a different political point of view, you should come together to defend the rights of an author/artist. 


Suggestions for solutions: 


To keep the common intention in mind. 

To be systematic and flexible. 

To divide labour based on the abilities and interests, and respecting each other's responsibilities. There is no continuity without the division of labour and sharing of responsibility. But as I said, the flexibility should be valid here, too. A member of a collective has a right to disappear for a while for their emotional or physical needs. They should be able to retire by saying "I am out for three months, I will focus on my own project." 

To do what you believe. Insisting on what you believe in bur not turning it into a war...