Between September 15 and November 20, 2010, you will have the opportunity to experience “Istanbul 1910-2010: The City, Built Environment and Architectural Culture Exhibition,” a project which conveys the architectural and culture evolution of the city of Istanbul over a period of 100 years.
This project is on the economic, social and architectural evolution of
Istanbul. The City, Built Environment and Architectural Culture exhibition consists of a map based exhibit, drawings, models and visual communication tools, reflecting the rapid transformation of the city. In fact, Istanbul’s quickly burgeoning population from the
The City, Built Environment and Architectural Culture Exhibition
beginning of the last century to today, reflects how quickly this city has evolved. After this exhibit is finished, the materials and exhibits of the project will be donated to the Istanbul City Museum which is not yet created. However, plans for the Museum are in the works as a future project for Istanbul. This is an exhibit not to be missed by anyone interested in architecture and architectural culture and evolution of a city.
One of the driving motivations behind this project is an attempt to decode both alienation of the individual and the consequences of alienation in a city such as Istanbul.
A discussion platform will be held to discuss the future vision of Istanbul.
Photo courtesy of Istanbul2010.org
Contemporary art comes to the people of Istanbul under the title of “Portable Art” The portable art projects are to be found exhibiting throughout the 39 districts of Istanbul. The first exhibit opened in November of 2008 in Kartal, at the Bülent Ecevit Cultural Center. Throughout 2010, the Portable Art project has continued to move around the city. The goal of Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Visual Arts Directorate is to disseminate contemporary art to the People.
Prior to this project, contemporary art was only available in a limited number of places and audiences in Istanbul. This reality limited the number of people who could actually experience modern art. With the inception of Portable Art, the reach of this contemporary exhibit will extend to all of the 39 districts of Istanbul – bringing modern art to all of the people of Istanbul.
Memory City to 2010
Artists invited to contribute to this project were artist initiatives, collectives, independent artists and curators who could present portable art packages involving interactive art which involve audience participation. The aim of the Portable Art project is to develop a plural relationship between the work, the artists and the audience. The final goal is to find new audiences for contemporary art and exposure for new artists and their works in their own city, Istanbul in 2010.
One of the projects and exhibits to be held in the Portable Art Project is Memory City, the curator is Derya Yücel and the featured artists involved in the project are as follows:
Ahmet Elhan, Aslımay Altay, Berna İpek, Burcu Yağcıoğlu, Ceren Oykut, Emel Akın, Evrim Kavcar, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gözde İlkin, İlke İlter, İpek Duben, İrfan Önürmen, Kezban Arca Batıbeki, Nancy Atakan, Nermin Er, Olgu Ülkenciler, Ragıp Basmazölmez, and Yeşim Ağaoğlu.
Not only does this project democratize art, but it increases awareness of contemporary art and urban culture in the city of Istanbul.
This recent news story appeared on the BBC news site and I can only slightly agree – that Istanbul’s muezzins need to have voice training. The morning calls to prayer are a part of Istanbul’s culture, tradition and religion and add to the mysticism of the city and all its charm. However, my complaint is not that they are singing out of tune, but it’s the actual timing of the call to prayer itself. Whenever I am in Istanbul, if I want to sleep later than the early morning azan, I’ve got to wear earplugs. The early morning call to prayer is – just that, too early. I’m not sure if I’m the only one tourist complaining, but some people are light sleepers and need to get their sleep. The early morning call to prayer is too early. I even think that some of the locals of Istanbul who have to get up and actually work in the city also find it somewhat annoying in that it wakes them up too early. Again, I like the call to prayer, but would it be possible in this sleep deprived city to have it begin a little later?
Istanbul’s tuneless muezzins get voice training
It is meant to be a beautiful, melodic and spiritual start to the day. But the morning calls to prayer by some of Istanbul’s muezzins and imams have had locals plugging their ears rather than reaching for their prayer books.
The problem is such that following a flood of complaints by locals, special classes for the tuneless culprits have been set up.
Imam Mehmet Tas, one of the school’s first pupils, said he was already feeling the benefits.
“I have so much more self-confidence now in my abilities to do all five calls to prayer in their correct tempos,” he said.
The improvement scheme was put together by Mustafa Cagrici, the city’s head of religious affairs, who is determined to make sure all of the city’s 3,000 mosques produce a beautiful call-to-prayer each morning.
“For some reason, these imams were hired even though their voices are not good, they just can’t sing!
We’re doing our best to help our imams and muezzins to improve their singing.”
He says that since lessons started, complaints have dropped from hundreds a month to just dozens, an improvement that can be credited to the singing teacher, Seyfettin Tomakin. “I personally find a badly sung azan [call to prayer] very disturbing,” he said.
“The azan is music, beautiful music that brings people to God, that’s why it’s so important to sing it well.
“Sure, there are some people who find it harder than others, that’s why some come here for a year. But my job is to find their voice to enable them to sing.” Sadly, for some, no amount of teaching will ever be enough.
“There are some people who can’t improve – no matter how much training you give them,” said Mr Cagrici.
“So we connect their mosque, by radio, to a central mosque where there’s an imam who can sing.”
What do my readers think? Leave your comment on the timing of the azan, the early morning call to prayer in Istanbul.