...Çıplak ampullerin ışığı altındaki mankenler, kimi zaman Galip’e, unutulmuş bir otobüs durağında hiçbir zaman gelmeyecek bir otobüsü beklerken üzerleri yüzyılların toz ve çamuruyla kaplanan sabırlı vatandaşları, kimi zaman, İstanbul sokaklarında yürürken duyduğu bir yanılsamayı, bütün mutsuzların birbirleriyle kardeş olduğu duygusunu hatırlatıyordu.” Orhan Pamuk, Kara Kitap, sf. 186, 187.
How We Are
In the Black Book, Orhan Pamuk describes an underground city populated by mannequins. These are the mannequins of ordinary Turkish people in the middle of their ordinary, daily activities, like playing backgammon in a coffee house or waiting for a bus that will never come, demonstrating gestures and characteristics particular to Turks. There is always the melancholy, the sadness of being ordinary, backward, poor. There's nothing glamorous and light about being a Turk.
Actually one never knows how one really is, and one might think one is something else. But one is nevertheless how one is, and one always remains so. Only a careful outsider can understand how pitiable one really is.
Today I went to How We Are: Photographing Britain exhibition in Tate Britain. I realized how pitiable Britain is despite it being Britain. Industrial revolution, two wars, the decline of industry in the 70's and 80's, and everyone who lost out. There is much that is ordinary, tacky and ugly. Orphans, veterans, miners, marines, jobless, punks, black, young girls, party scenes, office scenes, emptied slums.
Most of the people whose photos I saw are long gone. But there are many more of them outside, struggling to find some peace and meaning in this not-so-special world. People in London are not happy.
I saw Billy Elliot this weekend. Billy's dad and brother were miners and they were doing a strike. It was around the time Thatcher was in power. Some of the miners couldn't take it anymore and started working again, they "crossed the picket fence." Seeing their struggle reminded me of the this exhibition.
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