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.