Issue #28 Polyphony

Orta Format From Editors

The seeds of this issue sowed in a pretty-depressing phone call. Problems such as belating the deadlines, last-minute setbacks in the content of issues, increasing workloads in our individual lives, and the routine itself has been dulling our interest and enthusiasm for almost a whole year. The burden growing by that phone call, where the word “termination” used for the first time has evolved to a question - “How do other initiatives cope with these problems?”

PASAJ I Can't Go On, I'll Go On*

This article emerged with a need for an answer to the 28th Issue of Orta Format, which focuses on the independent initiatives’ sustainability methods and termination decisions. The first part of this article aims to explain the concept of PASAJ’s independence and its path as an independent space after a short introduction, and the second part to explain what PASAJ means through the perspectives of the artists.

Fatma Belkıs Peristalsis*

A brief introductory note: This text, “Peristalsis”, has been written as an extension of a longer text (or thoughts) with me for a while. The two characters who are with me in this text, Vuslat and Süleyman, are two ambulance drivers obliged to transport a piece of baggage to far away. The distance is long, and the responsibility is huge. When I went about this text for this Issue of Orta Format, I wished them to speak for me.

Deniz Kırkalı Notes on Study Session

In October and November 2019, we made the first and second invitations of Study Sessions with the organization of poşe. Study Session is a programme of three invitations that aim to ruminate on and create alternatives collective modes and models of working in the current art ecosystem in Turkey. Functioning as a lab, Study Session, prioritizes self-reflection, collective brainstorming and searching for future possibilities as a community.

İpek Çınar The stones hang over our heads

In my last year at college, I had discerned how easy it was to reply to the question, “So, what are you doing”. “I am a student” was a perfect reply. I knew that I would lose this reply very soon. Moreover, I did not want to find another answer yet. These days, I am about to celebrate almost the second anniversary of my graduation.

Şener Soysal Independent Seners

One morning, when Şener Soysal woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a great art financier. He was one of the few institutions that gave room for art, artists, and independent organizations with significant financial support: SAHA, SALT, ŞENER. Moreover, his name was not found bizarre beside the other institutions. But how could he become a great art financier, even when he was not a legal entity? Or was he still dreaming?

Berna Göl, Günseli Naz Ferel, Ümit Üret The Untitled Night Forum

This text is the transcription of the forum held in Torun as a parallel activity to the solidarity event Untitled Night, where independent music initiatives Badmash, Bankpank, M4NM, Table Records, and independent musicians came together. In this forum is organized to focus on not only the sounds of musicians but also on their experiences, and it is moderated by Berna Göl, Günseli Naz Ferel, and Ümit Üret.

Ersin Gök, Emrah Karakurum, Céline Pierre-Magnani, Simge Baskın, Sergen Şehitoğlu, Hasan Karaarslan Young Photography Initiative

Some of the problems we wrote above await all organizations that try to remain independent. The energy of people is very precious, so it is the most difficult energy to find. The solution that comes to my mind is to start with smaller goals than it can do. Because human beings would want more when they did. And of course, finding ways to reach more people is also crucial for spiritual satisfaction. I think it is useful to collaborate with other organizations and this is the biggest deficiency in our country. The most important thing is to believe that it can change the world. But it is necessary to change to achieve the change.

Refik Akyüz, Serdar Darendeliler Geniş Açı Project Office

The ideal definition of independence -I think everyone would agree on this- is determining your own policy and continuing without being controlled by anyone. But this is quite not possible, of course. No matter how independent we describe ourselves, we are not people who come from wealthy families or have no economic problems. And we look for alternative methods. However, while still looking for this, we try to find mutual solutions and do things without compromising our style. Independence is a bit like that.


Independence for the artists is to have an environment and possibilities to express, produce, and share what they want without being under the economic or psychological pressure of any institution or person. KABA HAT is an art collective that aims to subsist itself without working with institutions and tries to maintain its independence by abiding this attitude. We try to choose carefully which platforms, with which people or supporters we will work together. This selectivity is essential so the position of KABA HAT does not lose its meaning.

Hüseyin Yılmaz Espas Publishing

Independence for me is the freedom to do what I want, what makes me happy. Of course, when it comes to freedom, there is no such thing as free lunch. But I am not expectant too much in economic terms. I feel free and happy to do what I enjoy.

Merve Ünsal, Özge Ersoy

Speaking of initiatives, I think that the word “independence” is over-emphasized. We use terms such as independence or alternative to separate those initiatives from museums, institutions, galleries. So, what does this contrast mean? If you ask me, how the initiatives standing on their own feet such as produce, and what kind of needs they represent are more significant. None of us is that much independent. We are dependent on many people with whom we are in close contact.

İbrahim Karakütük, Erdem Varol, Şule Yılmaz Suimasen Editions

We want to start with a statement of Necla (Rüzgar): “There is no plan to be an artist in our country. Being an artist seems to refer to a rather strange individual awareness. We are people who are 'artists despite everything'. We become artists despite the families not believing the value of being an artist, friends, kit and kins, instructors and colleagues sabotaging us, governmental institutions not providing security and support to artists, art lovers considering the work of artists as cheap workforce by reducing their labour to a romantic occupation.

Melike Koçak Fabrika Zine

When it comes to independence, I think of the concept, relief. While taking creative decisions, independence means not to be subject to rules/restrictions set by others. Apart from this, it means avoiding standardization for me, which I think is a crucial factor in producing unique works. As a result of the period we live in, I can say that I see social media as a “must”. Although I feel antipathy the idea of regularly producing content on any platform for myself, I care about the active use of Instagram to make Fabrika accessible fo anyone curious about it.

Nazlı Deniz Oğuz Ka

For those of us who established and maintain Ka, independence means -as we have always mentioned- to offer alternatives to stereotypes and cliche ideas, to go towards the fields that we need, to cut off the branches that do not work, to do things in the way we know and after our hearts. From the very beginning, it was a place that would lead us to the fields we have starved for.

Dila Yumurtacı, Neslihan Koyuncu, Melisa King, Eren Sulamacı, Didem Erbaş, Derya Yıldız UZ Group

Independence is one of the concepts that make us consider UZ as an art formation that continues, that transforms, and that terminates at the same time. The effortlessness and spontaneity of our way of getting together made it possible for us to try to coexist without sharpening each other’s independent productions. It enabled us to refuse adaption to traditional models, relationships, and processes.

Begüm Akın, Şener Soysal Gençler Aralarında Anlaşmış - GAA

The initiatives need time, effort, and support. It is also crucial that the people involved in those initiatives should enjoy and be eager while trying to bring all these together. To independent initiatives have a future, this balance must be established and hold. GAA progressed by having this balance, and it stopped at the point where the balance cannot be held anymore.

Saliha Yavuz, Papatya Tıraşın GriZine

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.

Umut Altıntaş, Toros Mutlu KartonKitap (KK)

Independence is probably the most crucial concept of KartonKitap (KK), founded by two people who grew as only children. The fact that we immediately gave up the idea of “Let’s make books for our photos” that we decided in the first seconds of our organization is a sign that we do not want to be dependent on even ourselves.

Orhan Cem Çetin Rütte Photography Group

Rütte Photography Group was established in the late 1980s by Orhan Cem Çetin, Reha Akçakaya, Tayfun Özel, Kaan Çaydamlı, Sedef Antay, Hadiye Cangökçe, and Çetin Şan, who were looking for alternative means of expression in photography.