IN CONVERSATION WITH EZGI CIFTCI
INTERVIEW BY DAMLA BOZOGLU
In our series “In Conversation With” we talk with the young professionals of Istanbul and beyond. Up next, we had a little chat with the architect and artist Ezgi Ciftci.
Ezgi is an architect and a constant collaborator of ours. With her hard-working, practical and helpful personality, she is a bliss to work with. She worked with us as a photographer and stylist on our recent shoots and she will be involved on our studio renovation as well.
What do you do for a living?
I do architecture. I practice architecture in various mediums, either as space, photography, video or text.
What does your job and day to day to-do’s include?
At first it should be checking e-mails, which I hate the most, and then having millions of phone calls, which I’m more ok with. At the moment, I’m running a construction site so I have to control all of the applications on a daily basis. Additionally, I try to catch up with the news in the creative scene of both Turkey and the rest of the world. I also remind myself to put on my sunscreen, drink a sufficient amount of water and not to consume carbohydrate and sugar as much as possible. I try not to be sensitive in my working life and be more sensitive in my private life.
You work at a male dominant working place. Do you feel a pressure to dress or act masculine at work?
I can frankly say no. I don’t dress or act masculine but I feel a pressure to be confident at every second. Being both a woman and a young person requires you to know the drill; otherwise you are not taken seriously. On the construction site I have to prove myself by staying calm at first and thereafter solve the problems. Just like Aaliyah said “young nation under a groove keepin’ it smooth with a jazz attitude”.
What does being strong mean to you?
Knowing what you want, but in the meantime questioning your aims. It is very hard, but I think balancing these two provides the utmost strength and confidence. Having only one of them would make you too fragile. If you don’t know what you want, it’s very easy to get lost, while being too strict about your targets includes a big risk of disappointment.
When you finish a big project, how much downtime do you need to recover? Or, do you jump right back into something new to maintain momentum?
It’s very unpredictable. I don’t have any order in my working life or even if I do, it’s so complex that I can’t notice. The answer is, it depends on the projects, the environment, and above all, the way my mind operates. But I can also say that if the project has a very busy and stressful deadline, I take a break, generally have a vacation but if I have a low working tempo for a long time, as it is now, then I can’t wait to start a new project.
Are you working on any other projects other than your main one? If so, what are they?
Yes, I always work on a bunch of projects at the same time, so I have many things on various stages. I know that some of them will never get developed and some will come up again but nowadays I consider the construction site as my main project and on the side I’m running a publishing house called Stress Publishing. My photobook Worksite was the first published project by Stress Publishing. It was so much fun to try how it works on my own project firstly. I was so lucky to have the chance to collaborate with Elif Aybüke Koçak who made the graphic design and Ceren Hamiloğlu who wrote the text. It has been only two months since the book launch but I already started working on the next works of Stress Publishing with marvelous artists. It seems that the next book will be Kıvılcım Güngörün’s. Now we are having meetings to develop the ideas at every stage. I also work on my personal projects, which are photography, videography, text and research mostly; they are all in different phases.
Do you have complete day-offs? What do you like to do on those days?
Yes, I need them. I need some days that I do nothing the whole day. I stay home in those days; my activities generally consist of taking a shower, doing personal grooming, watching movies and sleeping a lot.
What is your favorite meal and what do you like to have for that?
A late long breakfast is my favorite. For wintertime, toasted sourdough bread, some butter, some olives and any kind of cheese, especially the stinky ones, with ruccola and black tea, the most traditional version of breakfast in Turkey, so to speak. In summers I can go for sliced tomatoes and olive oil with salt and thyme everyday.
When and where, is your best thinking done?
I don’t have working and leisure times separated. I switch from one to the other a lot and when I get stuck at some point while working, I take a walk, have a snack, or get some sleep. These kind of activities help me get ahead. I work more efficiently in an office environment but I’m more productive during the breaks, which are not real breaks in this case.
Ezgi also made us a playlist including her favorite songs to listen to while researching, listen below.