Mercek project was born to archive and preserve ‘production’ as part of Istanbul’s craft culture, which is one of the unique identities of the city. Beyoğlu and Şişli were chosen as the pilot regions.
The project’s archive starts at the neolithic period. The craft traditions, bazaar culture and central management relations within the Byzantian, Ottoman and Republican eras have been researched. Annuarie Orientals, telephone directories, ICI and ICC documents were reviewed to find the records of around 500 craftsmen who had lived in Şişli between 1910-2015. The studios of around 100 contemporary craftsmen were located street by street and recorded. The compiled data was integrated into an interactive map of Şişli, which enabled the documentation of the mobility of the craftsmen.
Broad interviews were conducted with 13 of the craftsmen whose studios were visited. The interviews were documented through videos, and a documentary series was created through 5 minute mini clips. This enabled not only the analysis of existing problems, but also the creation of content which could spread the stories of the craftsmen to large audiences.
The website to feature Mercek’s content will be launched in early 2017.
Scope: Research, mapping, video documentary
Project Manager: Aylin Durmaz
Project Team (Contributors from Labs network): Murathan Sırakaya (video editor), Özgür Önurme (video director), Burak Şen (project asistant), Utku Başar (writer)
Status: continuing, 2013 - current