Sounds from Istanbul’s Old Beer Factory: The Case of Bomontiada

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:20
Oral Presentation
Ceren MERT, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey
This paper will be focusing on the transformation of the historic beer factory in the Bomonti neighbourhood of Istanbul into an entertainment and culture hub, Bomontiada. Bomonti the brewery label established by the Swiss Bomonti Brothers in Istanbul in the late 19th century, inspired the name of this neighbourhood. One of the main contributors of the transformation of such a hub has been the company behind Istanbul’s music venue Babylon, called Pozitif. Starting off in 1999, Babylon has been re-located within this renovated, creative cultural hub in 2015. In the recent years, this venue has been hosting the emerging local artists alongside those recognized global names within certain (sub)genres, providing an opportunity for creating an amalgamation of translocal networks between artists and creative actors. In this respect, I will be critically analysing Bomontiada, especially focusing mainly on the hub’s music venue Babylon, together with its other “hip”, “artsy” and flamboyant dining and wining spaces, workshop events and its art space, etc. as an example of how capitalism engages with creativity and creative labour thus bringing forth gentrification processes. Hence, I will be contemplating on how the Bomonti neighbourhood is changing through this hub and its live music venue. On the other hand, taking into consideration the cultural policies and the governmental support to such arts and culture spaces are extremely low and have worsened in the recent years in Turkey, the initiation, organisation and sustainability of them have been maintained by private investors. Although neoliberalism engages with, and absorbs “creativity” within itself, in the context of Istanbul, how has the historic building of Bomontiada and its music venue Babylon –of course with the contribution of other spaces in this hub- articulates the city through its neighbourhood into the global networks of entrainment and culture?