Sitting down being illuminated by a computer screen. Ok, maybe there is some embellishment of the truth going on with that statement but it is hardly far from the truth. The truth is that I wish I did have my own computer right now instead of having to make do with the hotel issue system that sits in the downstairs lounge. It is hardly suitable for any sort of editing, film or photography, which is all I want to do right now. Wanting to work, and in a truly sedimentary style, is perhaps symptomatic of my culture.
On the other side of things, outside the streets have many of the same advertisements and the surface level attitude of the general public hardly appears different to that of the average UK city. In fact the amount of spoken and textual English/American is very high. It almost feels like home: and it nearly costs as much. Sadly.
It has been three nights since I arrived in to Istanbul, Asia. The divides that are often mentioned in reference of Istanbul´s culture and of course the continental East West divide, here marked by the Bosphorus, don´t really seem to mean anything once your here. Perhaps they subjectively make for interesting journalism but the truth is that as with anywhere the truth of such things are somewhat banal.
After that admittedly rich statement, the Bosphorus waters and the surrounding architecture and landscapes are honestly beautiful. But who really cares what is being divided? (rhetoric)
Things that are interesting include the foods that are prevalent here. Obviously. And also the apparently huge division between rich and poor which may be debatable. The division seems best visualized by the dramatically differing architecture. From the well maintained new or renovated buildings of the commercial and touristic areas, to areas markedly destitute in appearance. Has this anything to do with the areas locality? One is given the impression that the city grew up rapidly, leaving dirty shells of buildings embedded here and there and just out of sight. There is something of the City´s past in these remnants.
On a more personal note; I´m very grateful that I am being put up in the Ersu hotel at the moment. My stay here has coincided with Bayram which meant that the Hotel management left a gracious token for visitors in the lounge in the form of Turkish Delight. Incidentally it has to be the tastiest Turkish Delight that I have ever eaten. As well as this pleasantry I was also struck by the appearance of food carts all over the high streets of Istanbul. The presence of meat based and sugary foods is overwhelming and has left me yearning for vegetables and fruit. Also the restaurants you go to eat at are not all that great and whilst some will provide impeccable service, some will leave you feeling dissatisfied and hungry! But this can be avoided by choosing your restaurant/eatery carefully. Look to see what other people are eating and whether they have a basket of bread etc and sometimes its worth wandering off the main street to find something interesting just off to the side. But hey, I´ve been here 3 days so what do I know really? Waiters stand at the entrances to the restaurants and basically try to force you into a seat, something that is both uncomforting and increasingly irritating.
Before the Ersu Hotel I was resident at Neverland Hostel which really is an excellent place for the traveller on a budget and has provided the basic facilities and a pleasant lounge and has a great atmosphere and what more can I say? On my first day in Istanbul I witnessed a group of shouting people who were milling aside a mini bus. Now I dıdn´t know what was going on but it rapidly became apparent that this was a group of people beating some other people up. Since then I have seen many incidents of expressive anger and confrontations but no more fights. I propose that the Turkish are a hot-blooded and passionate people.
At the moment there is much negotiatıng going on and nothing is settled. What roles we are taking here have not yet been established and what work will need to be done I cannot at this point say. So, to get to the point, I´m here to work on a new experimental film project that had intended to take the perhaps clichéd and kitsch concept of culture clash here in Istanbul. But then that’s not it really. Why would I want to be working on clichés? It’s a bit boring really ısn´t it? So hopefully I will be collaborating with Minou Polleros on a series of films and studies which could explore the contemporary social scene, something which perhaps carries prescribed ways of working, or maybe we will focus on creating clear delineations between what may be called Eastern or Western so they can be played into or against one another. Alternatively maybe we are seeking to open up an entirely new sort of dialogue with the space here? A dialogue exploring global communications platforms such as the internet and the impact this might have on the perceptions of audiences to work created within urban and rural Turkey. As these are such early days it is worth considering the spaces that are available here more thoroughly and exploring our own ideas as a collaborative. It is important for us to begin suggesting concepts and for us to act upon those ideas. Once we have a feel for the place and have began to feel how sites here may be approached then we can make some movements towards developing a solid idea about what it is that we feel about this place. Perhaps there is a specific feature of this city that we wish to focus on.
I feel as though what I want to do is focus on the people of this city, what with them being what makes a city functional and they are also always important to other humans. The human species loves itself, or perhaps that would be wiser phrased as the human species is perpetually fascinated with what its constituent parts are doing or have done. My other interest is in the intensity that the light and space has together here. I´m not sure what I want to do with these thoughts. As we are only coming into the fourth day I´m not bothered by this. Work needs time.