Although the Istanbul edition of Sanatta Görünürlük Festivali / Visibility in Arts Festival has received less attention in comparison with events of a similar kind in the metropole this year, it is still one of those jewells worth mentioning. During our talk with Pınar Akyüz an Su Güzey, co-founders of the festival, we were contemplating the fundaments this festival has been build upon for four years of its existence.
The history of the festival goes back to a brave initiative of the alumni of the Department of Contemporary Dance at MSGSÜ (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University) looking for their identity as artists and feeling the need to express their own idea of art itself. Those days Istanbul offered the enthusistic dancers-to-be a ground on which to step from behind the walls of the classical stage and explore the thrill of a performance at the place where real life was – on the streets. Since those days many things have changed.
The generation fighting to give voice to their rights during the Gezi protest was strongly affected by the regulations that followed the uprising. So was the festival. The artists with already limited access to the audience were again pushed back behind the four walls. “We just need to go on and adapt ourselves to the situation that we are dragged into, out of our control.” The small team of the young organisers still kept being motivated and venues kept opening their doors to the festival bringing a whirl of new ideas, connections with new opportunities on the horizon.
The year 2017 brought the collaboration with Kabile Sahne, taking the festival to a single venue and offering a three-day programme at the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. As a forerunner to the event, they launched together Açık Sahne, monthly performances on Friday evenings. “Knowing the path performers have to go through on the way of their artistic development, we wanted to give them a chance for their trial. They need to understand what it takes to succeed and be able to greet failure at the same time.” What the organisers have managed to create is therefore a unique hub of artistic experiments, a stage welcoming everyone. As the name of the festival suggests, art has the right to be visible, so do the artists. However, the route of creation is tough and intense, including that of the organisation. At the end you may be left with the question “Do I want to do it?”.
The article is based on the interview with Pınar Akyüz and Su Güzey, contemporary dance artists based in Istanbul and co-founders of the festival. For the next year they may propose some new elements worth looking forward to, suggested also by the recent name change to Uluslararası Sanatta Görünürlük Festivali – International Visibility in Arts Festival.
Edit Bapcanyova, June 2017