Awareness of Place. Urban Memory of Izmir in the Frame of the International Izmir Festival

Mekansal Farkındalık. Uluslararası İzmir Festivali Kapsamında İzmir Kent Belleği
Start - End 
2010 - 2019 (ongoing)
Type 
Department(s) 
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 
Additional tags 
Modernity
Graphic design
Ethnography
city branding
arts festival
urban memory

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Abstract

Izmir is a metropolitan Turkish city located at Aegean Sea connected with Mediterranean Sea. Parallel to global developments in tourism many local organisations are looking for making Izmir a brand mark city well known in the international scene. The historical background and its geography are promoted as a part of this image making process. Especially the historical sites are reclaimed to be the most powerful sign of the city’s brand quality. The International Izmir Festival involves in the presentation of historical sites to local and international audience. Once the prestigious classical music, theatre and dance performances are organized in those sites the spectators and the media have the motivation to discover and experience them. Different than antic sites like Ephesus and Asklepion, while the festival participants visit Kadifekale (the Belvedere Castle), Ayavukla (Saint Voukolos Church), Reji (Old Monopoly Cigarette Factory) and Abacıoğlu Inn, they experience these formerly neglected places which represent the recent past of their city. This research aims to analyze the reasons of this disconnection between the festival organizers, spectators and the historical sites. A historical study tackles first the ruptures: the Big Fire of Smyrna, population exchange between Turkey and Greece and Turkish modernity. Second, the series of semi structured interviews and participant observation among the festival team and the spectators unfold how they remember the selected places within the festival. The physical and social interactions of the festival participants reveal not only their relationship with the past but also the present of the places. The festival which emphasizes on the historicalness of Izmir contributes prestigiously. Nonetheless, the urban memory which merges unintentionally to surface remains superficial. Related to this, the historical image and representation of the city that are desired to be created require more consistent and inclusive policy.

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