I’m currently re-configuring this blog so not posting nuffin’. The new blog should be ‘live’ by February… all going to plan. (Yeah, and that always works out so efficiently… the plan, that is). In the meantime, here’s to adventure, invention and discovery for us all in 2014.
Paris Photo at the Grand Palais. The “mascara wars” by Irving Penn (above) which I photographed here (yes, a photograph of a photograph) captures perfectly the state my eyes were in after taking it all in. It was interesting to see that authenticity is very, very expensive. Now that everything can be copied and digitised, the originals and old way of doing things has become wowza pricey. There were zines from the 80s costing tens of thousands of euros and made me question why I had recently embraced (feebly) moving things on…
Non-classical details, Paris.
Paris. Saw “Cluny Brown” at the superb Mac Mahon Cinema, thanks to my friend Helena. Lubitsch was a genius. Made me not want to give up on cinema. They were a sophisticated and fun bunch back then. And then there’s the Pasolini retrospective. Eros is on the wall at the Palais de Tokyo and well, it’s a subject close to Pasolini’s heart.
And all those JR photo portraits below have been washed away… nothing lasts.
The artist JR gave an open invitation for people to turn up to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, have their picture taken and posted up on the walls and in the grounds. It was raining the day we went, too rainy to stand in the long line and I hate having my picture taken; much prefer taking the photos. My favourite moment was spotting young women snaffling their printed poster — the ultimate grand scale selfie — and running for the exit.
Note too the homeless bedding in the window recess, to be found most places in Paris where art and artists are exhibited. Although not the Grand Palais….
It’s been two years since I was living here for some months, and very excited to be back. You learn a lot in Paris. Here’s some shots from the taxi on the way in from the airport.
More images from Becoming Istanbul.
I can’t quite leave Istanbul alone.
In the New Yorker today, there’s a short and wonderful piece by the Turkish Nobel Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk. He writes of a story that he told in his book Istanbul. In 1957, his family took turns guarding, around the clock, a chestnut tree in their street which had been marked for destruction. The authorities wanted the tree gone so they could widen the road but had not consulted the neighbourhood. The tree was saved; “Today,Taksim Square is Istanbul’s chestnut tree”. He writes of memories built in and around places and what that means. It’s not just about military barracks, parks or malls but memory, history, respect and care for the things that seem small but are never insignificant: the emotional life that defines the character of a city as created and experienced by the people who live there. Read it here.
There’s another article worth a read—sent to me by my Venice-dwelling friend, Edward—about the response by artists, curators and collectors at the Venice Biennale to recent events in Turkey. A man who is everywhere, at once, Mr. Pamuk was at the Turkish Pavillion in Venice for the launch of Ali Kazma’s film installation “Resistance” (2013) when the peaceful Gezi Park protest in his hometown turned into something else. Quickly, the attention of attendant friends and supporters turned to Istanbul exploding which they all watched, feeling impotent and at a distance, via images on their mobile phones. Click for contact.
Istanbul police in repose (2011). They chat, they wait, they check phones… And then, come 2013—boom!
On this blog, between other obsessions, I’ve been looking at public spaces in cities and what it reveals about the thorny battle between governments and the people—how power writes its way over the streets, parks and buildings almost invisibly, but not always. Currently, Istanbul is the most extreme example of rebellion by citizenry; it seems so much bigger than (my) grumblings about the selling off of public housing and the erection of casinos and luxury hotels in Sydney. It is and yet it’s the push back on the streets that has always alarmed those in charge. Harder to hide and impossible to deny is the cry to be heard.
The Turkish people take their democracy seriously. The latest eruption, fueled by anger at what critics see as the authoritarian attitude of government coupled with the taking of public spaces and peoples houses without proper consultation, is not out of character historically.
For the low down read Tim Arango’s article in The New York Times, Protests in Turkey: Development Spurs a Larger Fight over Identity.
Below are photos from an exhibition Becoming Istanbul which I first saw in 2011 at the SALT gallery. It was a revelation. There’s another Istanbul, outside the mosques, Grand Bazaar and exquisite streets. The best thing? If you’re interested, you can see it yourself because the database is online. Here!
Once in, click on ‘activism’ if you want to see more photos like the ones below but this is only one aspect in the rich story of Istanbul.
©enigma machine p/l
Istanbul, tear gas. 2008-2011. Photo off a video from the exhibition, Being Istanbul at the SALT gallery, Istanbul. See the exhibition and database of photographs under “activism” online here
©enigma machine p/l
Same exhibition, Becoming Istanbul at the SALT gallery. Women looking for their men. Disappeared 1993-1994.
Here’s where you can read about the exhibition and view it online
©enigma machine p/l
'Simon 1.5' by mikedidthis.