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? 

M: 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. 

O: Although we try to be independent of the mainstream art institutions and events as a collective, we remain dependent on them for the connections we have in our individual art production. Perhaps it would be a pessimistic interpretation, and we are economically and socially dependent on art institutions and art funds on the invisible level. In my opinion, emancipation is not possible in the contemporary art field and the hierarchy imposed by it. To prevent being depressed, it is necessary to determine the limits by defining the concept of independence and continue to produce. 

Ö: It is possible to discuss the state of independence on several levels. The first one is economic independence. Similar formations need to come together to create the conditions that will ensure their financial sustainability. For this, a form of organization is required. Again, for this, the formations need to understand their audience/supporters, define, and produce. The second level is conceptual/intellectual independence, that is, to set about the production of thoughts outside of what mainstream art institutions have said. This state demands serious effort. I think that independent art organizations are still a kind of satellite. I want to think about how a breakdown can be organized.  

N: We need each other tremendously in the frame of cooperation and friendship, and we are open to sharing this need. This warm bond inside (always subject to change) has made us independent so far while making spontaneous progress except for a few basic decisions. I guess how we approach this relationship will determine how much and how long this will maintain.

E: Independence is a kind of chemistry problem. It changes through both individually and depending on the power index of the group. Many factors affect these indicators. It varies from economic independence (having a certain amount of money) or even the capital to the results of applications. As individuals who left their 20s behind, we are in a state of increasing responsibilities. These responsibilities oblige us to chase "other" jobs sometimes. Even evolving the effects that lead to us to move from Turkey to other countries. This moving creates crucial fluctuations in this "power" index. 

Even the time problems due to the responsibilities may become an obstacle to independence at some point, they exist. From the family's wealth to the institutions' capital, from making a living the hardest way to being supported by friends… Perhaps other solutions are needed in this quest for independence. From the triangle of power, time, and money to alternative solutions. 

Because of our desire to not work with institutions, I think that discovering these escapes has become much more important to us. 


What do collectivity and organization mean to you? 

M: The emancipation side of co-production. Especially in these times when criticism leads the parties to even critical legal processes, to take courage/support from each other and to share the burden of possible interventions or to avoid them.

O: We may have reached the end of the global age of individuality. Especially organized movements against the so-called democratic regimes seem to indicate this. Such as the movements in Chile or Beirut. Love arises when people find each other quietly and instinctively. In the context of art, collectivity and organization are here when we need it. If there is no mutual purpose and excitement, there would be no collectivity. It would not work. 

E: Being organized represents a political stance as a result of taking a position. The nature of the organization, the hierarchical structure, and principles also customize this. As time shaped our individual lives and the world systematically, at the end of the day, the number of Pi which people settle down remains. We find the strength to act again in each, in this organization. 


Why did you choose to establish or take part in an independent organization? 

M: Because we had been troubled with the lonely and competitive feature of the art market, and we felt the need to support each other, share what we produce and get feedback. 

O: A significant reason for KABA HAT to come together is friendship. Although the definition of friendship varies with expectations and positive or negative experiences, the pleasure must be the thing that keeps us producing together and unites us. 

Ö: To conquer the means of production. 

N: To conquer the means of production. And because of the charm of the hours spent around a dining table. 

E: Because I had to watch the children playing football outside behind the window. 


How many people does your team consist of, and how are the division of labour and job definitions? 

M: Our number has changed over time. Currently, we are a total of six artists of whom five are active, and one is temporarily taking a break. 

Ö: When we come together for a project, everyone does whatever they are interested in or have knowledge. For me, one of the best things in the KABA HAT is to watch the workstream. The emergence of a state of arousal, everyone's all eyes and ears that follows what we need. Those moments approaching a collective state and a gradually invisible unity.  

E: Although some fields of expertise, talent and pleasure shape the roles, we do not see those roles as a civil servant assignment. They turn into a play dough that everyone can shape by their desire. 

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?

M: Of course, the KABA HAT has a direct link with the individuals established it and the interests of individuals, both in terms of content and the mode of production used. Sometimes we focus on the mutual troubles, needs or experiences, and sometimes we search for solutions and methods that can keep everyone's expressions separate but together. For example, it can be said that the last work we produced is a method that emerged as a result of this search. 

O: Since we live in different geographies, it is hard to find balance. In fact, it is not possible to talk about balance. The structure of the KABA HAT is getting weakened when we do not communicate with each other. This structure can be preserved by sitting around a table. The degree of closeness to each other is a significant factor. It is hard to maintain this relationship from a distance. No matter how individual curiosity and needs match, great dedication is required to stay in touch logistically. 

Ö: I am not sure if there is a balance. Some of us may be more dominant from time to time in pushing some ideas and actions. I also think that the KABA HAT has its field of interest that is independent of all of us, a mixture arising from our desires. Maybe it is not always consciously, but I think we are considering it when we come together. In a way, we set ourselves to the KABA HAT's agenda. 

N: All steps in the process are completely dependent on individuals. Therefore, we try to lean on ethics based on listening and speaking to create a balance. We also do this because it is one of the most cherished methods possible. The moment when we are unable to balance occurs when we fail to give priority to this ethics. 


Do you have close contact with other independent organizations? What kind of collaborations do you have?  

M: We cannot collaborate very often with other organizations (Even we can hardly come together as KABA HAT nowadays.) However, it was a good experience for us to cooperate with you for the 23rd Issue of Orta Format, for example. It makes us excited that such invitations lead us to different fields and modes of production. 

O: In the past, we were close with Torun in Ankara. We had an event with artists we know from Hazavuzu and Atılkunst. We were all in Istanbul at that time, and the collectives were in close contact. Dancing the halay was easy. 


What kind of collaborations do you think the independent organizations can have and do? 

O: Art cooperatives come to my mind. Collaborative environments can be established on space, studio, and production supports. 

Ö: Maybe we can start with a conference to discuss how to create our economy. We can slow down the state of action and talk about what thought production is. A slowdown can be created together against the oppressive charm of the culture of activity and the reign of non-stop production. 

N: People bring whatever ingredients they have in their homes to the meeting at noon. The weather is beautiful; the stove, table, picnic sheets, and vessels can be brought to the park. When all the ingredients arrive, we start preparing the meal together. While doing things such as chopping onions, washing parsley, cleaning the pumpkin, grating the carrots, boiling the lentils, we make the vegetable broths, and start snacking the bread and hot pepper pastry, and talking. The prepared ingredients meet in a vessel, and we keep talking while blending the foods in the vessel. Then the plates, forks and spoons that everyone brings appear and the meal is distributed. The meal in the vessel is enough for everyone in the park. Those who come, take their plates, sit on the picnic sheets and keep talking. Olla Común.


How do you provide your economic sustainability? 

M: We cannot. We use methods such as online crowdfunding, call for support to our friends, if there is something specific that we try to find a budget. 

E: By shortening from time. By directing individual searches, sometimes by going into sleeping mode. Until the energy and a plan to support it come up.          

N: Currently we are facing this with that issue more than ever because most members of the KABA HAT do not live in Turkey anymore. Although we begin to feel the effect of physical distance dependent on the budget, we do not have a plan yet. 


What are the effects of independent organizations in the current economic and social conditions of Turkey?

M: We know from our own experience that non-profit art spaces are very significant. These spaces are especially crucial for young, newly graduated artists. 

E: Several models, different trials, and efforts can make an example for people and groups who are unable to keep up with the current situation, who are troubled, or who refuse it. The existence and archive of the experiences of these organizations can sometimes determine what people do not want as well as what they want.

N: It can have such a critical effect that I think we are still not fully aware of it. I imagine this effect not as a massive transformation, but at the level of encounters. I wish that "The Art of Turkey" creates passionate, open to humour, sensational, penetrating encounters. We need the existence of independent organizations to maintain this environment. After a meaningful encounter, the negativity of the conditions may not even matter, because perhaps it would be enough.


We are curious about your opinion on the future of independent initiatives. What do you think about this subject, and do you have any concerns? 

M: Initiatives are established, terminated, new ones come together… I have no worries about this. I am worried about the institutions and administrators that never disappear, always dependent and rooted. They put blocks on the youngs and prevent the circulation of fresh knowledge. 

O: Independent organizations are like a spark. They do not turn into a fire, but they keep existing by other people in other situations. By its nature, one begins where the other ends. 

N: I find the structures in which negative and unfavourable conditions can be normalized. Independent initiatives have the freedom to make decisions about their future.