104: Zeki Müren Hotline with Beyza Boyacıoğlu & Jeff Soyk

As one of the most influential musicians in Turkish history and the first modern pop star of Turkey, Zeki Müren gained huge popularity beginning in the 1950s across all different communities in Turkey, in spite of his groundbreaking behaviors like cross-dressing, and can be seen as an LGBTQ+ trailblazer. Even now, Zeki Müren continues to have a profound influence on Turkish society and on the Turkish people. We begin discussing how he became so popular with such a wide audience, then Beyza and Jeff talk about their own experiences with Zeki Müren, and what led them to create the interactive documentary Zeki Müren Hotline. After that, we compare the pop culture background while Zeki was performing with the current Turkish pop culture environment, and also discuss how Zeki kept the balance of pushing boundaries and also being conservative, how he used some survival behaviors, and what made him a national hero. Finally, our guests Beyza and Jeff share some stories from the Zeki Müren Hotline. 

Beyza Boyacıoğlu is an award-winning documentarian and film editor from Istanbul, currently based in Brooklyn. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA, IDFA, Anthology Film Archives, RIDM, MoMA PS1, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Venice Biennial, Creative Time Summit, Barbican Centre, UnionDocs, Maysles Cinema, Morelia International Film Festival, !f Istanbul and many others.She created the interactive documentary Zeki Müren Hotline at the MIT Open Documentary Lab with Jeff Soyk.

Jeff Soyk is an award-winning media artist with experience in storytelling, direction, UX design, UI design, front-end development, animation, and film/video. His credits include co-director and UI & UX designer on Zeki Müren Hotline (2022 Webby Award Honoree: NetArt, 2017 !f Istanbul exhibit, 2017 RIDM exhibit, 2016 IDFA DocLab nominee), co-creative director and UI & UX designer on PBS Frontline’s Inheritance (2016 News & Documentary Emmy Award winner, 2016 Peabody-Facebook Award winner), and art director, UI/UX designer and architect on Hollow (2014 News & Documentary Emmy Award nominee, 2013 Peabody Award winner). 

A full transcript of this episode will be available soon!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Zeki Müren Hotline
Zeki Müren Hotline Kickstarter (w/ background info)

The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music

Turkey as Major Television Exporter
“Letter of Sorrow”

MIT Open Documentary Lab

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