Friday, 14 October 2011

Ferhan Mimar and the cyborg Grandmothers

In the Summer of 1924, the turkish war of independence for the formation of the Republic of Turkey was finally over. The President and founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, had just transferred the ownership of the Dolmabahçe Palace to the turkish state, transforming it from the house of a Sultan, to a symbol of the urge of Turkey to synchronize itself with a modern identity. Apart from some of the most important state works being enacted in Dolmabahçe, Ataturk also used it as a place of residence during the summer, where cultural events took place next to the Portals that fenced the limits of power and opened up to Bosporus and light. Five years later, on July 6th 1929, a theatrical piece exalting Ataturk's achievements would take place in front of the Dolmabahçe Portals. The “ulusal tiyatro” (national theatre) administration would for the first time allow young student actors to perform in such a public event, viewed by the wide and complex audience of Istanbul, including socialists, liberals, fascist nationalists, Islamic extremists, Islamic moderates, the military, the secret service and the police. Talik Mimar, was a famous architect and poet of the time, realising the “Republican's People Party” aspirations for a “Westernised Turkey”. In his essay “Ideoloji Ve Cultur” (Ideology And Culture) that was finally published in Ankara in 1952, he writes: "I am about to direct a play at Dolmabahçe this July. My young actors seem to be the only tool for a different future of my architecture. I will give them a white cloth to cover Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism and other kinds of powers. I'll tell them to wave the fabric and reveal it's mass in fragments of wind, turning the building into an ephemeral monument. The cloth will fall on people's heads, covering them all from the safety valve of their God. Shoes made out of steel will be tapping on a wooden floor around the public, which will make them frustrated and anxious, thinking that another earthquake is coming! They will tear the cloth apart and pull their heads out to look towards the sea. There will be no authority in front of their eyes, only the sound of explosions around Istanbul. As Bakunin said quite recently: “The liberty of man consists solely in this, that he obeys the laws of nature because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been imposed upon him externally by any foreign will whatsoever, human or divine, collective or individual.” A woman's voice will show the Portal to Bosporus. Everyone will be relieved to see it once again standing more broken than ever. A real monument. I have to make plans for this play. I have to draw the scaffolding around the Palace, the wooden floor and the stairs. Or maybe not, i'll put a ramp, the sun will be disabled tomorrow.” Talik Mimar put up this play on July 6th 1929. He only managed to cover the front elevation of Dolmabahçe Palace because of the limited budget. The young actors got the idea of performing away from religion and politics, but the white cloth got torn from the wind before falling on peoples heads. Instead of performing as a soft symbol, it revealed Dolmabahçe Palace more powerful than ever. The explosions took place in ruins scattered around the city, no one ever found the exact spots. The audience finally turned their eyes to look at the sea and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk clapped his hands.

In 2030, generations later, Talik Mimar, architect and poet known for his writings in “Ideoloji Ve Cultur” (Ideology And Culture published in 1952) and recognised as the first anarchist ever lived in Istanbul, has created in his absence a new plan for the Dolmabahce Palace. His grandson Ferhan Mimar, also an architect and a cyborg model “Forest_189”, has formed a group called “The Gateway” aiming to reorganise the plan of the city of Istanbul for the formation of communities that will host the people and cyborgs that lost their houses in the earthquake of 2020. Seeing the Palace as a symbol of power that needs to become softer, Ferhan Mimar lives and works with ten cyborg grandmothers in his laboratory built on one of the Palace's Portals that look towards Bosporus. The site to build his house and laboratory was given to him from the government under the condition of him having to design and make a bicycle and ten thousand cookies per week, that would be donated to the Dolmabahce gardens, helping the system for tourism. Ferhan and his group of cyborgs, behind the curtain of bicycles and cookies, are forming a new community, the first of their urban plan, expanding in the foundations of the Palace and under the sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment