August 31, 2012

Street Artist Robbbb Brings China to Istanbul’s Streets

Street artist, Robbbb, has started a new creative project to infuse a bit of China’s working life with the streets of two of Turkey’s largest cities, Istanbul and Izmir, according to

On the heels of his sojourn to Beijing, Robbbb is incorporating inspiration from his travels to his newest series of works in Turkey and later Dubai. “This series of works from China are images of the most common people. I took them to foreign countries with an attempt to explore the differences of political and social backgrounds, and to highlight their mode of existence,” he said, speaking about the enlarged, hand-colored, wheatpaste posters he has created, according to the website.
Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Street Artist Robbbb Brings China to Istanbul’s Streets

Istanbul’s Cultural Sites Most Visited in Turkey

Istanbul’s broke a visitor record in the first half of the year, when compared to the other areas of the country. The city’s museums and ancient sites were visited by more than 4 million people in the first half of the year, producing 59,186,360 liras in revenue. 

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia Museum and Ephesus in İzmir were the three places visited tourist sites in the first half of 2012, the Culture and Tourism Ministry has said, noting that it made over a billion Turkish Liras off of entrance fees around the country.

A total of 189 museums and 131 historical sites managed by the Culture and Tourism Ministry were visited by almost 13 million people in the first half of 2012, bringing in revenue amounting to 1.08 billion Turkish Liras, it said.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul’s Cultural Sites Most Visited in Turkey

Chinese Art Coming to Istanbul Modern Museum

Istanbul Modern is preparing to host a contemporary selection from the Chinese art world with the exhibition “Inner and Outer Transformation: A View on Chinese Contemporary Art.”

Organized between Sept. 21 and Nov. 25 in honor of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the people’s republic and Turkey, the exhibition reinterprets traditional Chinese culture and philosophy through contemporary techniques, new discoveries and path-breaking approaches.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Chinese Art Coming to Istanbul Modern Museum

Journey to Istanbul’s Santralistanbul

Santralistanbul. The name itself is exotic, like some sort of medieval traveler’s fantasyland, magical and remote, attainable only by the stout of heart — and certainly not on the guided tour.

OK, it’s a power plant. Or it used to be. Now it’s what one guidebook calls “an astounding new art space.” Turkey, we learn, has transformed what was the electric power nerve center for Istanbul from 1911 to 1983 into a mega-size artistic play space, giving power-plant scope and scale for big ideas in visual arts and installations.

The country’s first industrial archeology museum, Santralistanbul has as its ambitious mission the promotion of contemporary Turkish art while teaching visitors something about the production of electric power.

Read more on The Boston Globe: Journey to Istanbul’s Santralistanbul

Fish restaurants in Istanbul: Natural Selection(s)

In the evolutionary process of the Istanbul fish restaurant, there was a moment in the late 1990s when the amphibious, shore-hugging boat restaurants crawled out of the Bosphorus and became land dwellers. Overnight, yellow Wellington boots became black loafers as seafaring grill men became restaurateurs and waiters. ,

Some rue the day the municipality cleared the Bosphorus of its smoking flotilla of fish restaurants, but we never found dining aboard them very pleasant. That slight roll of the sea underfoot may feel "authentic," but we've seen it send a can of Fanta sliding across a rickety table, drenching a freshly grilled fish in orange pop, then rolling around on the filthy floor of a cramped dining space that was always filled with fishy grill smoke. 

Luckily, the land-based versions of these fish restaurants are extremely pleasant, across-the-board affordable, of reliably good quality and family-friendly.

Read more on The Guardian: Fish restaurants in Istanbul: Natural Selection(s)

Dreaming in Ottoman: Istanbul at a Crossroads

When we think of Istanbul, we think of two things that are, in theory, glaringly incompatible: There is the rejuvenated metropolis of art festivals and sceney galleries, the world of wealthy art patrons and of Vakko itself, which helps sponsor the yearly Istancool arts and culture festival—attended this May by the likes of filmmakers Zoe Cassavetes, Chiara Clemente and Mark Romanek—and then there is the growing Islamization incarnated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with its purported reactionary desire to turn away from the West and its evil ways and back toward the Middle East, which Turkey dominated for centuries. Do these two disturbingly opposing tendencies, I ask Gülgün, collide in contemporary Istanbul?

"Yes and no. It's not quite as simple as that. Istanbul is a curious city, a bit of a playground, a paradise for foreigners like yourself. You can pick and choose what you want. It's a string of villages, and you can live in whatever village you like. Some villages are religiously conservative; others are wild. That is what I love about this city. You have the choice."

Read more on The Wall Street Journal: Dreaming in Ottoman: Istanbul at a Crossroads

Orhan Pamuk on His Museum of Innocence in Istanbul

Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk explains why he built a museum dedicated to the glory and tragedy of one fictional couple’s love.

The idea of the “Museum of Innocence” was already fully formed in my mind by the late 1990s: to create a novel and a museum that would tell the story of two Istanbul families—one wealthy, the other lower middle class—and of their children’s obsessive romance. The novel was going to revolve around a wealthy man who falls in love with his poorer cousin in 1970s Istanbul, where sexual intimacy outside of marriage was taboo even among the richest, most Westernized bourgeoisie. This young woman, the beautiful daughter of a retired history teacher and a seamstress, reciprocates her wealthy relation’s love partly because she is looking for a way to leave behind her job as a shop girl and become a film star, but also because she is genuinely in love with him. The novel’s wealthy protagonist, in love with his cousin, soothes his despair by collecting everything that his beloved has touched, and as their sad story nears its end, he decides that all these things must be displayed in a museum. I think that if museums, like novels, were to focus more on private and personal stories, they would be better able to bring out our collective humanity.

Read more on News Week: Orhan Pamuk on His Museum of Innocence in Istanbul

‘Eksen On Fair’ Festival Calls Famous Bands to Istanbul

One of Turkey’s most popular radio stations is saying goodbye to summer next month with a massive concert featuring bands chosen to perform based on listeners’ preferences.

The one-day “Eksen on Fair” festival, which is set for Sept. 15, is being organized by Radyo Eksen and will feature bands such as the Bombay Bicycle Club, the Stranglers and the Space, as well as a number of other activities at Istanbul’s Küçükçiftlik Park.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: ‘Eksen On Fair’ Festival Calls Famous Bands to Istanbul

2012 Chess Olympiad Istanbul

The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. A record of 158 national chess federations have brought teams to Istanbul to participate in this prestigious event, which is being staged in the WOW Hotel and Convention Center, just minutes away from the airport.

Read more on Chess Base: 2012 Chess Olympiad Istanbul

August 10, 2012

Ben Affleck Credits Istanbul on Website

Actor Ben Affleck, who filmed those scenes of his latest film “Argo” that were set in Iran in Istanbul last year, has been criticized because the city is not mentioned the film’s trailer. In response to the criticisms he wrote on the film’s website that “filming for ‘Argo’ took place in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Istanbul,” according to Hürriyet Daily.

Based on true events, “Argo” chronicles a life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans that unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis — the truth about which was unknown to the public for decades. On Nov. 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reached its boiling point, militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans managed to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country: a plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.

The film will hit screens Oct. 12 in the U.S. and U.K., and in Turkey Nov. 30.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Ben Affleck Credits Istanbul on Website