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residence 6

flicker film by graw böckler. shot in istanbul 2015-2019

the political and cultural repression after a prevented coup d´etat was all over the media when we received a six month travelling fellowship to istanbul. also being for the first time in a country with a muslim population majority, we were a bit hesitant if we could film and photograph everyone and everything – which is our way of working.

after a period of familiarisation we realize that our worries were idle. people are friendly and generally do not mind to be photographed. police forces are visible but not interested in us as long as we don´t film them. a vibrant street life makes the culture very approachable. the architecture and the urban planning are mirroring the political structure and changes in society. the speed and dimension of gentrification processes are insane. the public transport is partly happening by boat and allows incredible views on the city landscape. the hilly structure opens overall views to other neighbourhoods all the time. during our tours to far away outskirts we noticed how endless and culturally diverse istanbul is. it feels like a whole country condensed in a city space. we were amazed how safe and freely we could move around. another sensation are the cats who are all over the place. people build little houses in the streets and feed them.

we started to make friends and realized that our enthusiasm was very different to what people from istanbul felt. the art scene was struggling with repression and a lack of financial support. the government shut down bars and outside restaurants. licences to sell alcoholic beverages were retracted. the music and nightlife scene was suffering. many artists were actually leaving istanbul, many of them towards berlin. people who had a connection to the gülen movement lost their jobs or worse, they went to prison. the same could happen if one was associated to the gezi-park-protests – an incident that many remembered as the last time they had hope for a change to the better.

during the six month stay we were caught between an atmosphere of declining social freedom and the exhilarating pulse of a dynamic metropolis in constant transformation.

supported by berlin senate department for culture and europe.