Depo is a space for critical debate and cultural exchange in the city center of Istanbul and the first initiative in Turkey to focus on regional collaborations among Turkey and countries in the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans. Besides its artistic program composed of exhibitions and screenings, Depo addresses the socio-political implications of socially engaged art practices in the region and organizes conferences, workshops, lectures and panel discussions, and publishes an e-journal titled Red Thread. Depo aims to become a hub for the initiation and realization of regional projects and its activities are planned to provide artists, curators, cultural operators, academicians and intellectuals from the region the opportunity to engage with each other, to exchange ideas and experiences, and to develop collaborative works.
Depo is located in a former tobacco warehouse (Tütün Deposu) in Tophane, Istanbul – an ancient four-storey building with high ceilings and wooden floors. Until the 1950s the building was used as a tobacco warehouse and beginning with the 9th International Istanbul Biennial in 2005 it was occasionally used as an exhibition and project space. Between January and May 2008, renovation works were carried out preserving the original features of the building. Since June 2008, the Depo team has been working in Tütün Deposu and the first exhibition of Depo was held in January 2009. The annex building was renovated in 2009 and was used for screenings and workshops with the children from the neighborhood, as well as solo and group exhibitions. Since February 2012 the annex building is hosting Açık Radyo, an independent radio station. Film screenings and workshops with children continue in the main building.
Depo is an initiative of Anadolu Kültür, a not-for-profit organization working in the field of culture. Since its establishment Anadolu Kültür has been a driving force in facilitating cross-cultural collaborations and circulating art through Anatolia.
Depo is considered an alternative space within the rapidly institutionalizing and commercializing artistic milieu of Turkey. Its main focus is hosting collaborative projects and it is also open as a venue to different groups for screenings, discussions, performances and rehearsals.