Suimasen Editions

Suimasen Editions


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? 

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.

We are not dependent on any art institution or organization in material and or moral sense. By pushing the limits of our financial means, we would like to produce uncensored publications in every sense. When it is the case, the only thing we care about is the art itself. 


What do collectivity and organization mean to you? 

To achieve both, artists in Turkey should stop talking behind the back of each other and being individualistic, and should find togetherness in artistic, political, legal fields. Unfortunately, these two concepts do not mean anything until then. 


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

The answer to this is hidden in the first question: Independence. Suimasen was established as we wanted to get rid of the tiresome talks of editors such as "The market desires this, you should look like it", the printing houses saying "You want this, but it is impossible, listen to me", the publishing houses stating "We cannot publish your book in that design", the pragmatists dictating "Publishing should be like this." Recently, it has turned into a "home" with the artists in it, and that makes us very happy. Let me say that too :) 


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

First of all, we do not like the term of the team. We are art workers. All of us have different abilities and approach from a different angle. But all decisions are taken together, and we act together. Erdem (Varol) and I (İbrahim Karakütük) were the founders of Suimasen, then this year Şule (Yılmaz) joined us. We can say that we have been in a better point in graphical means.


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?

Well, I did not need to say this in the previous question. We continue through our needs and enthusiasm.


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

We made a short-term exhibition of the zines that we produced in the independent venue, Kova Art Space (Ankara). Likewise, Torun (Ankara), FiLBooks (İstanbul) and Tipi Bookshop (Belgium) are selling our zines and books. 


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

Recently, the Suimasen was a part of an initiatives exhibition called Fermentation. A group exhibition emerged from the works of people producing in different disciplines. As artists and initiatives, we can get closer to an artist union that I try to talk about in the second question, by holding meetings and gatherings, by creating opportunities to understand each other more. 


How do you provide your economic sustainability? 

Erdem works at an airline company, and Şule is an educator. I work as a commercial photographer and videographer. In this way, we try to sustain the books and our own production practice with the money we earn. 


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

Thet have a huge impact, that is for sure. Being independent is crucial. I guess one of the best examples for this is Darağaç Collective from İzmir. It is an initiative that has opened its production to the public in a dialogue with its neighbours. It has been able to transform its place to a common living space. 


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? 

We always favour polyphony. But it is a fact that independent initiatives in Turkey are mostly able to survive through the funds they receive. Receiving funds from an institution is perhaps the right move at the beginning, but trying to sustain itself only with funds reminds us of children who ask money from their parents all the time… when the source of income is over, there is no such thing as initiative or formation. We believe that having financial independence is the most significant thing.