make art not war

October 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Now here is a little something we haven’t talked about yet.

The even has happened for over a week now, and though it’s in everyone’s head and is becoming the talk of the art town, here comes my two cents-and here is to hoping that we will learn to get along before hurting each other more.

Imagine a district, where townies sit outside and sip their tea, where they play their backgammon and as the day comes to an end, sit on the sidewalk to share with each other their intimate stories, the latest gossip on whose son did what and whose husband came home late. Now imagine an elite crowd, probably trained at the finest art institutions, wearing the finest silk and leather, strutting about these neighborhoods with ideas in their head to put on their latest canvas, to write down on their latest novel or simply just strut to sell themselves (figuratively though, not whore-wise).

Now imagine these two polar opposites, breathing down the same streets. They co-exist in the rotten pavements and old houses of Istanbul’s Tophane district. A new and upcoming neighborhood that has recently been declared the art district by 9 very ballsy, very open minded female gallerists who are trying to turn things around. Conceptual art galleries have been the latest trend in Istanbul, which I appreciate greatly. Giving a voice, a set up, lights and invitations to the young generations talented artists, these galleries have been breathing down the latest and the most controversial exhibitions so far. How fucking delightful, right? How great it is that someone who is explaining the political irony behind the modern Turkey by depicting it as a young beach bum female wax figure reading the Turkish  amendment ( this would be relative to the voting we had this past month when scary things have happened, and my arriving hours early to Istanbul just to vote in a box has not helped a bit-in an ideal world, a whole lot would have changed).

So once you imagine these two groups of people so-existign, something would feel a bit..off, right? Right you are.

Last week, a brutal attack happened on the opening night of the galleries at the Tophane district. The reasons are as follows;

  • Artsy people enjoying the gallery openings were enjoying cocktails and cigarettes loudly outside, where the neighboring houses and people’s lives were disturbed by drunken murmurs.
  • One of the two, that being the one less open minded, the one who are willing to consult physical violence and the one who simply won’t give up, is simply bothered by this co-existence and won’t settle until they are gone.

It’s a bit too Romeo and Juliet, I think, really, when one part is madly involved with the structure and the culture that the district is providing and the other won’t shut up about the raised rents and cocktail noises.

Now, what would you do in such a situation when a physical attack has been made, requesting you to leave and behaving violent to your unwelcomed guests to your arthouses. The gallerists are scared, I am scared, and the people just won’t shut the fuck up.

It’s us or them, now which side would you strut to now?

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