Anger & Resistance No. 7: Aylin Güngör, Turkey – „United we stand, divided we fall“

Print issue SPEX No. 375 focuses upon anger and resistance in pop culture. For this reason SPEX invited artists from all over the globe to answer the question: Is Anger An Energy? Read the full-length interviews online only. Today: Aylin Güngör from Turkey.

What does anger mean to you? And how important is resistance for you?
Anger is one of the strongest feeling that humankind carries, it keeps you alert and alive in nowadays world, but also it takes your taste buds and you feel & taste nothing nice anymore, only bitter tastes remains. I wish I was in a world where I never had to learn what „resistance“ means. It is naturally a big part of our lives.

How and against what are you protesting?
It is not a very active form of protesting but with the magazine Bant Mag (that I am founder of) we write about a lot of subjects that focus on the errors of today’s world and Turkey. And in my photography, especially the This Magical Depression series, you can see traces of today’s dominant social and political movements, but in a very different way. Like overgrowing nationalism, ignorance, overuse of flags, the crooked imagery that the economical gap in society creates. Locally and globally there are so many problems happening everyday and we mustn’t forget that these eventually have an effects on society, our daily lives etc. You can see these effects everywhere, from peoples faces and their lifestyles, decorations of their houses, cars, shop windows, posters etc. So I am more focusing on that side of today’s world.

„everybody who is in the pop culture realm should be aware of their big power and focus on joining forces.“

Taking a look at the current state of the world, does your urge to take a stand, to speak out, to act get stronger?
In times like these, everybody should do what they do best. What we do is a magazine and events since 13 years and we always had global and local contents. For years we worked with foreign musicians and artists, organizing and curating many events here in Istanbul. We can clearly see now how Istanbul was much more global and on the spot some years ago, now things have changed drastically. The only thing you hear about Turkey in foreign media is only oppression, terror, refugees etc. And just like tourists, most bands are not coming here because from the map Istanbul looks close to Syria or they think it is dangerous. And we feel like this has seriously effected our relationship with the cultural scene of the rest of the world.

So our plan is to expand our English website (which is at the moment a small section) and create an English version of our magazine. By this we should act globally and create a channel and connect people like we always did in the past. And also show how creative, different the art, music, culture scene in Turkey is. Actually especially the local music scene is flourishing after the absence of the foreign acts. And the world should be aware. For example the Istanbul-based band Jakuzi, which got signed to City Slang recently, is getting great attention and currently touring Europe, was discovered by our friend Severin Most through bantmag.com’s English section. So we should talk and share more about good stuff from here.

Is there room for more than symbolic protest within the realm pop culture? How can pop culture bring about change, even beyond the already converted?
Of course there is always more room and other ways of protests and activism. I think everybody who is in the pop culture realm should be aware of their big power and should focus on joining forces. United we stand, divided we fall. I think individualism is one of the reasons why we are facing these problems of today.

Maybe it is not relevant to this question but as bant mag we started the mixtape for you series after the terror attack at Istanbul Ataturk airport. Cause many foreign bands started to cancel their Istanbul shows and it created a chain reaction and it was very depressing for the scene here. So our idea was to reach out to the bands that we liked or worked with in the past, and asked them their feelings and create a mixtape for their followers in Turkey. We think it was helpful.

We shared it with the following text:
Even if they are not able to come and perform in Turkey, your fellow musicians and DJs from around the world, who have been here before have messages for you. Although the cultural life in country came to some sort of a halt, know that their music and thoughts are with us. Music is unity; it heals, gives hope, recognises no boundaries and is universal. So we start sharing their messages and the mixtapes they prepared especially for you. In hopes and dreaming of beautiful days…

What is the most urgent cause of your art?
With my photography I am trying to show how tasteless and fascist and ugly feelings and things are hiding around us. But I love to do it in a humorous and ironic way not documenting seriously.

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