I met up with my friend Yelda at lovely Mangerie in Bebek for lunch, before heading off to the Istanbul Bienali. The 11th International Istanbul Biennial is a biannual art exhibition held in Istanbul that showcases the work of 70 artists from 40 different countries. The artwork is spread over 6000 square metres at three different locations. We visited one of the locations, held in the warehouse next to Istanbul Modern, our city's exquisite modern art museum— definitely worth a visit if ever in town.
I must say that what I saw today has got me asking that exhausted question: what is art? What makes someone pick one piece over another to display on a wall or pedestal, give it a white label with black type, and deem it worth looking at? At the moment, I am at a loss. That is a piece of bread with the centre cut out on that pedestal above. Rather than get into a lengthy critique of what I saw today, I thought I'd share a few photos I took of work I enjoyed.
I thought the mosque seen through the warehouse windows was quite a sight. It kind of looks like a video installation a bit, doesn't it?
I've gotten into the habit lately of celebrating a tiny victory every day, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Today's small victory was that I was able to ask of my minibus driver with relative fluency, "müsait bir yerde inebilir miyim?"— may I get off at a convenient place? This is preferable to the "inecek var" that Turkish phrase books push on you. Inecek var (ee-neh-jek var) roughly translates to "there is getting off," not something that makes much sense, even though it is understood by drivers that you want to get off. I had even asked my Turkish teacher this summer what I should say, and she told me that inecek var was fine— but I don't want fine, I want to know what that jumble of words coming out of my fellow passengers' mouths is; I have never once heard a Turk say inecek var. If you are a tourist, feel free to use it— you will be understood, and it's a lot easier than belting out müsait bir yerde inebilir miyim?
I've been practising the phrase all evening.