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In İstanbul, searching for İsyan-bul Orhan Tekelioğlu “İsyan-bul” a pun in Turkish meaning rebel city I have to confess, when I was given the pictures (apologies for not saying photographs, never warmed to it) to ‘look’ first thing I thought of was a poem by Cemal Süreya, and the book of the same name, Göçebe, where he says İstanbul’s minarets are ‘lyrical’ and its bridges ‘dialetic’ and at the crucial lines “You know, at whichever city I am/ That is the capital of solitude”. Süreya alienates ‘city’ from ‘capital’ which is actually the city of İstanbul, where he becomes even more lonely and plain. Just like the alienation, residue, and exceptional expressiveness of migration that makes us think of tales, awakens dreams, and burns like embers inside our bosoms while can also make u shiver as we watch the pictures. Well, maybe we can not see the sentences of the poverty but as the words forming a lexicon every possible ‘echo’ (each ‘word’) reflects towards our gaze. Reflecting on the dialectic of the ‘bridges’ Cemal Süreya mentions, just as Ece Ayhan says (Ece’s name has to be mentioned, otherwise Cemal would be offended, I am sure) the ‘arab’ of the picture (negative), is formed as the background.

We first determine that looking at the abyss those in the picture are as far and as near as saying “where is this metropole’s slum?” in total ignorance. We do not just see the faces of people who have been in hiding, oppressed, made invisable but at the same time see and feell the way they are, and the way they enjoy themselves, their habits, how they survive relying on one another and finally how they fight swords drawn in any given situation. At every one of these frames we imagine the lives of adventures of these people who have come from the fringes of the city for bread, for work, to struggle with the state, the authority, the public, or maybe in search for health, or to lose it yet that we come upon in the public transport vehicles each day. Do not misunderstand, do not forget we are in İstanbul, ‘fringes’ can be in the middle of the city and it is not necessary to wonder out of the city’s social scape. For everything is juxtapositioned in this largest metropole of the land; at the place where once rubbish dump exploded Ikea now can stand proud. Since we are modernized now, the rubbish heaps certainly won’t explode; its bits have flown to other neighbourhoods, and its stinks as well…

Here in this book we are at Suriçi (inside the city walls), at the shattered heart of the historic peninsula, where there are tourists from every corner of the globe at one side and a little further down pulsates the trade. Covered Bazaar is not far in this introvert universe, not far from Fatih, the now confessed center of conservatism. Still, we are not obviously in Peyami Safa’s Fatih-Harbiye novel, the Harbiye of the book has been replaced by Nişantaşı 1 or 2 streets away but there are absolutely no trace of the center in these pictures. Perhaps Nişantaşı locals are not aware of the pictures, but what about the people? Absolutely, they know them, confront them in the streets daily but of course, they see not, and know not.