Zeynep Okyay (1985) studied Philosophy at Galatasaray University, Cultural Management at Bilgi University. She works on administrative, communicative and financial follow-up of the artistic projects; networking of cultural actors and organisations; mediation of intercultural and intergenerational conflicts at the local level. Zeynep is one of the co-founders of PASAJ independent art space, based in Istanbul that collaborates with social communities and hosts project exhibitions/workshops.
The common terminology of non-profit organizations such as "alternative art space", "independent art space", "artist initiative", “artists run spaces", is based on the concept of “independence". On the other hand, it has also been seen that “independent” is often used by commercial organizations or arts organizations that are financed by corporate structures and enterprises. So "independent art field" is it really independent? What is meant by independence? What are the boundaries of independence? Is the term a necessity for defining organizations themselves, or is it just a trend?
According to Pablo Helguera, all institutions, galleries, museums, cultural centers are all in search of methods to make themselves more alternative. In this way they can separate themselves from others. But the main reason that the alternative art spaces are important is that these are spaces where alternate forms of thinking and expressions develop.
In many countries around the world, especially in periods of crisis, there is first a cut in the culture and arts budgets. At such times, the autonomy of the art is often endangered if there are administrative and financial ties with private sector. Whereas independent arts organizations, without any financial or administrative bonds with the corporate culture, they are often flexible, finding out survival strategies by restructuring according to time and conditions.
My project “The dictionary of independent art spaces” is an attempt to show the importance and the need of independent organizations in the arts field, by making them recognized and understandable by others. I believe this model of arts and culture standing by private money and putting the autonomy of art at risk, can not last forever.