A Lively 40th year Conversation with the General Manager of IKSV, Gorgun Taner

There  are some institutions which are not only a passive object of the subjects they are interested in but at the same time, they are in active subject position which transforms it, adds plus value to it, always keeping it alive and the most important, being commemorated with it. We made a comprehensive and an intimate review in honour of the 40th year of the institution with Dear Gorgun Taner who is the General Manager of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) which is in a pretty reputable position with its weight and stance in the environment of culture and arts in Turkey.

Dear Gorgun Taner, first of all, can we get to know you shortly? Who is Gorgun Taner, what he likes, what culture and arts mean to him when he put aside his professional interest and career?

I was born in Istanbul, I studied the middle and high school in Maarif College in Kadikoy, and then I completed bachelor’s level in history in Bogazici University. Since 2002, I undertake the general management of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts where I had started as Kent Cinema coordinator in 1983.

Mr. Gorgun, when did your interest in culture and arts transform into a professional interest? How did your path cross with IKSV and what kind of periods did this association go through? What kind of contributions do you think that you’ve made to this institution when you look at your career in IKSV?

In fact, my professional interest to culture-arts has completely begun with the crossing of my path with IKSV. When I was in university, I began to work as the supervisor of Kent Cinema during the Cinema Days. In those days, IKSV wasn’t institutionalized, the job definitions and departments hadn’t been separated as much as today. I continued to work in the foundation after Cinema Days. I worked as the assistant of deceased Cevza Aktuze in Istanbul Festival. Later, when Istanbul Jazz Festival has been started to be organized as a solitary festival, I started to work as Festival Director. I took general management duty upon myself in IKSV in 2002. It is truer that the evaluation of how I contributed this institution would be made by the employees and the history of the institution. But I can say that this institution has taught so many things to me.




It is certainly known by all of us that IKSV feeds the Turkish society in the meaning of culture and arts. Can we please hear the actual reasons of this importance and irreplaceableness from you?

How IKSV contributes the culture and arts area in Turkey and how it can contribute are the questions that we constantly ask to ourselves. While we determine our work area, we determine our course of action by considering these. It can be said that IKSV contributes the culture and arts area from different angles. First of all, it begins with its ability to organize an international culture-arts festival which was matchless in Turkey in the 1970s, to continue this festival for 40 years, to transform a single festival to five different international activities in different disciplines while continuing to organize it. Our works which we have accelerated recently oriented to youth, workshops, seminars, BitamBiogrenci program, the projects which we continue with the purpose of creating new opportunities for artists, the artwork orders that we give in order to contribute production of art, co-productions that we signed with different institutions are all the answers to this question. While it’s supporting the world of art and the artists, IKSV also feeds the institutions and organizations working in culture-arts area. It makes us happy to see the friends, who gained experience at here and who had been a part of IKSV activities, continuing to contribute the development of Turkey’s life of culture-arts in different institutions and organizations.

This year, IKSV celebrates its 40th anniversary. Moreover, in this scope, we had the opportunity to watch the new project which is prepared by world-famous performance band La Fura Dels Baus for IKSV. Even, it’s icing on top that we will have the opportunity to listen to Berlin Philarharmonic Orchestra in September within the frame of the 40th anniversary celebrations. Could you please clear up your 40th year celebrations’ program, Mr. Gorgun? What kind of surprises are waiting for us especially in your second period in 2012?

The tempo that we had decreased since the end of July will increase in the end of August. We’ll organize Feist concert on August 25 and Stevie Wonder concert on September 14. Then, the final fever of 7th Leyla Gencer Vocal Competition will start. Semi-final will take place on September 18 and the final night will take place on September 20. “The foundation’s big celebration event in the coming season is the IKSV 40th Anniversary Special Concert by the Berlin Philharmonic on September 27, which will feature the young, worldwide praised Turkish soloists Efe and Fora Baltacigil, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle will be the second big celebration event organized by IKSV in the 40th year anniversary.

As part of Filmekimi which will kick-off on September 29, we will perform movie screenings in 6 different cities apart from Istanbul. An exciting period is waiting for us in October. Istanbul Design Biennal which we have prepared for it since 2010 will take place between October 13 – December 12. Besides, we will organize a symposium titled “An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Itri Period” curated by Gonul Pacaci and a concert which Guher and Suher Pekinel will perform with Maggio Musicale Fiorentina Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, in December.

It is a rare phenomenon especially for a foundation which is interested in arts and culture, to celebrate its 40th anniversary in Turkey. What IKSV owes its success to? Secondly, 40 years mean alive witnessing to the recent history. In this sense, could you please shortly tell us the late history of Turkey in culture and arts, the transformation that Turkey has undergone especially after 2000s and the role of IKSV in these transformations?

It is possible to attribute the persistence of IKSV to many different reasons. I believe that a mutual team spirit and the tradition to cooperate efficiently which is provided by the accumulation of forty years have a big role here. IKSV is like a school and a family to everybody. All of us have our shoulders to the wheel and struggle to produce better works, to increase our contribution to the world of culture and arts. 40th year of a foundation determines a really good time period for such an assessment. Therefore, we are currently in the works of a book in which the people, who are a part of this history, telling the 40-year history of IKSV. I think that you will find direct or indirect answers to these questions in this book.

In this period that we celebrate the 40th anniversary of IKSV, we probably have valid reasons to ask the plans about the coming years. How is your route map, which points will you focus on?

We had determined our priorities with a work in 2010. In this direction, our priorities for the forthcoming period are to strengthen our financial structure as a foundation, to sustain our activities oriented to the youth progressively, to contribute the culture-arts accumulation of the world by continuing to order artworks, to give weight to co-productions, to perform projects and activities directed to the development of culture policies in Turkey.

What is the dimension of the relationship between IKSV and the youth? For example, what kind of supports do you provide to young talents? Or do you have a work to make young artlovers to reach your program in a cheaper way? What is the extent of your relations with IKSV and relevant departments of universities?   

In some of our events, we see that the ticket prices exceed the reachable limits for young audience, and in this respect, they are right. We carry out a student ticketing system in order to enable the youth to be able to follow our events. We perform different works such as Paso Film in Istanbul Film Festival. Besides, we continue to BitamBiogrenci project which we run together with five different non-governmental organizations to make the young artlovers to attend the events. We hope to bring the ticket prices to more appropriate levels when we obtain concert halls with larger capacity in the forthcoming years. Except that, we actually have a close relationship with the youth. Especially in festival times, it is possible to see many young artlovers, who take charge in the organization of the festivals, in the foundation building. Our interns, guides, artist assistants, volunteers are all consisting of young friends who work with the pleasure of contribution to the culture life of Istanbul and the world by always giving energy to us, sharing our excitement while actualizing our festivals. Apart from working together, we make close contacts with universities in the basis of festivals. We perform events oriented to university students before or during the festivals.

All of us know your interest in jazz music and your manners in this area, Mr. Gorgun. In


 this connection, what about hearing Stevie Wonder who will take to the stage at Kucukciftlik Park on September 14, Friday within the context of Garanti Jazz Green from you?

I listened to “Superstition” song of Stevie Wonder for the first time in my middle school years. I think that he is one of the numbered big musicians who had a big importance in popular music history and who you can still watch with pleasure. I’m happy that we could create such an opportunity. I saw that his concerts are pretty energetic and enjoyable in his live performance records.Gorgun Taner

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