Istanbul Technical University, Turkish Music State Conservatory, Musicology Department invites you to the “Music and Sciences” symposium. The symposium intends to bring together a wide array of different disciplines ranging from social sciences and humanites to engineering and natural sciences, reinforce and expand the interdisciplinary research fields that have intersections with music and allow inspirations for new musical quests.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Turkish pop musicians had a tough job: besides making music, they had to promote their music by acting in Yeşilçam films, playing their music in films or in TV shows, acting in photo novels or as fashion models, and posing for different kinds of promotional photos. All this to create Turkish Pop Music Images, not only as a visual counterpart to the music, but rather as an integral part of what Diedrich Diederichsen calls “pop music”: a multi-media phenomenon, unfolded in different media.
Our research project aims to investigate the visual communication strategies developed around and with the music. Some of the main characteristics are different kinds of visual hybrids, mixing urban and rural, Eastern and Western elements, folk and rock music codes, acoustic and electric music codes, glamour and non-glamour in interiors, fashion, and life-style.
The visual hybridism is reflecting and enhancing a musical hybridism, resulting from an amalgamation of various musical styles, often themselves already a musical hybrid such as Anatolian rock, Arabesk, or Belly Dance music. Turkish pop music even tends toward multi-hybrids, with Türkü as an underlying fundament, a repertoire of standardized folk music songs.
Turkey had one of the biggest and strongest independent music industries, with a stable market of its own. This industry also produced the only non-Western weekly pop music magazine, called Hey. It appeared for over two decades, featuring, at least in the 1970s, many more Turkish than Western artists. Many of them were male, and male-dominated Turkish pop music history writing tends to overlook an essential fact: “It was women who created the sound of the era in terms of quantity and often quality,” as Kornelia Binicewicz recently pointed out. Hence, one focus will be on the female side of Turkish Pop Music Images.
In his series of lectures titled “Yerli Müzik,” Turkish music journalist Murat Meriç has shown how closely pop music and politics were interwoven in Turkey. Of course, political positions were communicated not only by auditory means (choice of genre, composer, lyrics, etc.) but also by visuals, creating a highly coded field of sometimes confusing or even contradictory statements such as, for example, progressive long hair vs. conservative Ottoman-styled dresses (Barış Manço, Edip Akbayram). Next to gender issues, political issues are therefore in our focus as well.
Over the last years we have been able to establish a collection of Turkish records, a collection of Hey magazines, and a collection of digitized Turkish films. As there is, according to Selçuk Artut, “no archive culture in Turkey” for pop music history, our multi-media archive can serve as fundament and starting point for our future research, but also for aesthetic transformation: instead of just reproducing the visual and audiovisual material, we want designers and artists to reinterpret it with a contemporary approach, following constant remixing as “a sort of leitmotif in Turkish culture” (Binicewicz) and bearing in mind present gender and political issues. This reinterpretation will be a central part of the project and define its outcome in publications, exhibitions, and lectures.
A research project by Cornelia Lund (fluctuating images, Berlin), Holger Lund (DHBW Ravensburg), Mona Mahall (HafenCity Universität Hamburg), Asli Serbest (HfK Bremen), Banu Çiçek Tülü (HFBK Hamburg), Lukas Yves Jakel and Johannes Kuhn (Hamburg), and Vanessa Brotzmann, Iris Ott and Katinka Sacher (media design students, DHBW Ravensburg)
Cornelia Lund, Holger Lund, and Banu Çiçek Tülü, including a Videocollage by Asli Serbest and Mona Mahall, „Turkish Pop Music Images. The Music and Its Communication Design: Record Covers, Photos & Posters & Ads in Magazines, Cinema Posters, Music Performances in Films & Clips 1960s – early 1980s“, in: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Türk Musikisi Devlet Konservatuarı (eds.), International Music and Sciences Symposium Proceedings, Istanbul: Istanbul Technical University Press, 2019, pp. 469-477.