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The Wild Dogs of Istanbul | The Smart Set
"No, you’d rather not cuddle with them. They seem a little too unpredictable and unkempt for that. And it’s not tempting to project human characteristics on them either. But it is easy to feel sorry for some of them, who bear traces of injuries, disease, and accidents. Most resemble one another: large, with a light-brown, sometimes darker coat. Some have short legs paired with unusually large bodies. Despite their scars, the wild dogs of Istanbul seem self-sufficient and untroubled, as if no one could mean them any harm. You can find them everywhere: between parked cars or, early in the morning, under the chairs in front of the Starbucks on Taksim Square. Often they just lie there and doze. Are they recovering from last night’s activities? Most people don’t seem bothered by them, but it’s obvious that some, a little uncertain, take pains to avoid them. But they are not to be made fun of because of that.

The dogs’ presence in this metropolis is not entirely without problems. Some of the animals are said to be so smart they understand traffic lights, but more often they cross streets in front of terrified drivers, keep residents awake with their barking, or even attack someone. In fact, I have myself observed an incident in my neighborhood Tarlabası, where a young man was literally chased by two dogs. He fell to the ground and dragged himself into a barbershop. It was painful to watch, but it all happened so quickly that one couldn’t really intervene; besides, how would one disperse the dogs without any adequate stick or tool? I don’t know what exactly preceded the incident, why the dogs had attacked the man in the first place. These attacks, however, happen far less often than one might expect, considering the dogs’ constant presence. No reliable count exists, but according to estimates, the dogs number about a hundred thousand. When you come to Istanbul, you will see that this doesn’t sound like an exaggeration.

The dogs’ position is a strange one: They are used to having people around, and even depend on them, but they don’t live directly together with humans. Behavioral scientist Konrad Lorenz, who once wrote about Istanbul’s stray dogs, observed that they carefully avoid loose small hens and newborn sheep — a lesson they learned in order to survive. Instead, they feed themselves in two ways. First, residents in the poorer sections of the city often put their trash bags out in front of their houses, where dogs and cats plunder them before trash trucks cart off the remaining piles in the early morning. But more and more metal trash cans are popping up, and their content is inaccessible, at least for dogs. Second, many people follow a custom (unfamiliar to Western observers) of more or less adopting a dog and regularly feeding it, without bringing it into their homes. Some people even make beds out of cardboard that become a dog’s regular spot in front of the house. Animals in these relationships are not full-fledged pets, but they are not complete strays either. In any case, their uncommitted “owners” never take them for walks. This reluctance to take in the animals can’t really be due to the size of the apartments; in a society where the single lifestyle is practically unknown, almost all residences are designed for families, and rarely measure less than 80 square meters. So what is the reason?

In Turkey, relationships to dogs are complex. In his novel My Name Is Red, Orhan Pamuk enters the mind of dog and asks himself about the origins of mankind’s enmity:
Why do you believe that those who touch us spoil their ablutions? If your caftan brushes against our damp fur, why do you insist on washing that caftan seven times like a frenzied woman? Only tinsmiths could be responsible for the slander that a pot licked by a dog must be thrown away or retinned. Or perhaps, yes, cats…

Although there is no clear basis for this belief in the Koran, strict Muslims consider dogs — especially their drool — to be unclean. People don’t let the animals into their homes because they could dirty the prayer rug and because, even today, little tradition exists of keeping dogs as pets. Furthermore, a common belief holds that köpekler, as dogs are called, prevent angels from visiting. Not all Turks share these views. In parts of Istanbul influenced by the West, all sorts of purebred dogs can be found, including traditional fighting breeds. In these cases, dogs are highly desirable status symbols, and many stores sell pet supplies. However, problems with religious neighbors disturbed by the presence of dogs can arise. “Many people want a dog, but don‘t know how to go about it,” says Bilge Okay of the dog protection society SHKD, which works toward better treatment of the animals.

Although keeping pets in this way is a very recent development, the breeding of dogs has a long tradition in the region. One of the oldest pieces of evidence for the domestication of dogs at all comes from Çayönü — in eastern Turkey, near the border with Syria –— from approximately 12,000 years ago. Well-known breeds like the Kangal, a very large shorthair, come to mind as well. Kangals were herd dogs used by Anatolian shepherds even before Islam spread throughout the region; they were associated with one of the 12 months of the year. But back to the wild dogs of Istanbul. Their presence in the city stretches far back, but their origins are the matter of legend: Do they hail from Turkmenistan? Did they arrive with the troops of the conqueror Mehmed II in the 15th century? Wherever their roots may lie, they have been an established part of the city for centuries, skulking in the shadows of the buildings.

Accounts of travelers — sometimes baffled, sometimes disconcerted or frightened — rarely fail to mention the dogs. In the 17th century, Jean de Thévenot noted that rich citizens of Istanbul bequeathed their fortunes to the city’s dogs to ensure their continued presence. And his contemporary Joseph Pitton de Tournefort heard from butchers who sold meat specially intended for feeding the dogs. He also saw how the city’s residents treated the animals’ wounds and prepared straw mats and even small doghouses for their canine neighbors. No less an establishment than the legendary Pera Palas, the best hotel, cared for the dogs and fed them regularly. Edmondo De Amicis, an Italian traveler whose book Constantinople records his impressions of the city in the mid-19th century, went so far as to describe Istanbul as a “giant kennel.” And Grigor Yakob Basmajean, an Orientalist born in Edirne, claimed in 1890 that no other city in the world had as many dogs as the metropolis on the Bosporus. The dogs were so omnipresent that streetcar employees had to drive them from the tracks with long sticks so the horse-drawn wagons could pass through. Passers-by could often stop to watch them fighting with one another. Their howling could be heard all night; there were so many dogs that their voices blended into a constant sound “like the quaking of frogs in the distance,” as one observer vividly described. It sounds like the dogs, not the authorities, set the tone. In popular shadow-puppet plays, dogs were compared to the poor.

Dealings with canines were always marked by ambivalence. Although dogs formed part of a romantic cityscape, caricatures from the Ottoman period depict them as threats to be stopped, along with cholera, crime, and women in European clothing. Again and again, attempts were made to catch them and remove them from the city. In the late 19th century, Sultan Abdülaziz decreed that the dogs should be rounded up and deported to Hayirsiz, an island of barren, steep cliffs in the Marmara Sea. Sivriada, a tiny island to which Byzantine rulers once banned criminals, made headlines in 1911 when the governor of Istanbul released tens of thousands of dogs there. A yellowed postcard shows hundreds of dogs on the beach; their voices could be heard even at great distances. However, an earthquake that occurred shortly thereafter was taken as a sign of God’s displeasure, and the dogs were brought back.

Attempts to stem the plague of dogs in the city continued, with more or less success. Their presence was always seen as a sign that the city could not impose order and guarantee the safety of residents. Cities like New York and Paris, where the problem was under control, became role models. Shortly after the revolution, Mary Mills Patrick, an American who taught at Istanbul’s Women’s College, thanked the new Turkish regime for its efforts in this area; after all, a civilized city was no place for packs of dogs. But even in the decades that followed, the dogs never completely disappeared. Occasional efforts to eliminate them were seen as acts of barbarism. Until 2004, when a law to protect the animals was finally passed, meatballs laced with strychnine were not uncommon. But today such draconian measures are things of the past.

Real change will only come once new solutions for the city’s trash problem are found and garbage is no longer simply placed on the curb, as it is in many neighborhoods today. Then things will be tough for the dogs. Animal protection activists today call for a concerted effort to catch the dogs, vaccinate them against rabies, sterilize them, and tag them before releasing them back into their territory. The World Health Organization also recommends this strategy. But gray areas exist in how authorities deal with the problem. Animal advocates claim that inexperienced veterinarians pack the neutered dogs into overcrowded cages, load them into trucks, and dump them in Belgrade Forest, about 10 miles northeast of the city near the Black Sea coast. There, the dogs are often attacked by wild animals or starve. “In the end, it would be better to put the animals to sleep than to release them in the unfamiliar wilderness,” says Bilge Okay. “But that would be against the religious beliefs of the people operating these facilities.”

… [more]
via:tealtan  2012  istnbul  dogs  multispecies  cities  urbanism  cats  animals  pets  orhanpamuk  history  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  strays  quiltros 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Orhan Pamuk’s manifesto for museums
[via: http://jarrettfuller.tumblr.com/post/147070033957/a-manifesto-for-museums ]

"Pamuk said: "All museums are genuine treasures of humankind, but I am against these precious and monumental institutions being used as models for the institutions to come. Museums should explore and uncover the population as a whole and the humanity of the new and modern man that emerges from the growing economies of non-Western countries. I address this manifesto in particular to Asian museums that are experiencing an unprecedented period of growth.

The aim of the great state-sponsored museums is to represent a state and that is neither a good nor innocent aim. Here are my proposals for a new museum, some themes on which we must reflect now more than ever.

The great national museums like the Louvre and the Hermitage assumed the form of tourist institutions with the opening of royal and imperial palaces to the public. These same institutions, today national symbols, present the narrative of nation, History with a capital H, as much more important than the histories of individuals. This is a shame, since individual histories lend themselves much better to portraying the depths of our humanity.

The second reflection I want to introduce is that the transitions from palaces to national museums and from the epic to the novel are parallel processes. The epic is like a palace: it speaks of the heroic gestures of the kings that inhabited them. National museums should be like novels, but this is not the case.

Three: we do not need more museums that attempt to construct a historical narrative of our society and community as a narrative of faction, nation and state. We all know that ordinary and everyday stories are richer, more human and above all more joyful.

Four: demonstrating the richness of Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Iranian or Turkish history and culture is out of the question. It must surely be done, and it is not difficult to do. The true challenge is to use museums to tell with the same brilliance, power and depth the stories of the human beings living in these countries.

Five: the measure of success of a museum should not be its ability to represent a state, a nation, a society or a particular history. It should rather be its capacity to reveal the humanity of individuals. We must judge museums on that criterion.

Six: it is imperative that museums become smaller, more orientated towards the individual and more economical. This is the only way that they can ever tell stories on a human scale. The great museums invite us to forget our humanity and to accept the state and its human masses. This is why there are millions, outside the West, who are frightened by museums. This is why museums are associated with governments.

Seven: the aim of museums present and future must not be to represent the state but to recreate the world of individual human beings, the same human beings who have suffered under tyrannical oppression for hundreds of years.

Eight: the resources channelled into the great monumental and symbolic museums should be redirected to small museums that tell the stories of individuals. These resources should also be used to support and encourage people to transform their small houses and small stories into places of narrative.

Nine: if objects are not uprooted from their contexts and streets but situated with care in their natural places, they can have a way of independently telling their own stories. We need modest museums that can honour the streets, houses and shops around them and transform them into moments of their narrative.

In brief, the future of museums begins at home. The situation is very simple: we are used to having epics but what we need is novels. In museums we are used to representation, but what we need is expression. We are used to having monuments, but what we need is houses.

In museums we have History, but what we need is stories. In museums we have nations, but what we need is people. We had groups and factions in museums, but what we need is individuals. We had great and costly museums and will continue to have yet more, especially in Asia, where government money is funding these museums. Yet what we need are small and economical museums that address our humanity.""

[also here: http://en.masumiyetmuzesi.org/page/a-modest-manifesto-for-museums ]
orhanpamuk  museums  museumdesign  small  accessibility  2016 
july 2016 by robertogreco
A manifesto for museums | Blog—Jarrett Fuller
"I’m about halfway through an internship at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and find myself thinking a lot about the role of museums, their futures, and the economics of art institutions. Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author and founder of the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, gave the keynote address at the International Council of Museums this year where he outlined his manifesto of sorts on how museums should function.

The entire thing is worth a read, but I was especially interested in his thoughts on scale:
It is imperative that museums become smaller, more orientated towards the individual and more economical. This is the only way that they can ever tell stories on a human scale. The great museums invite us to forget our humanity and to accept the state and its human masses. This is why there are millions, outside the West, who are frightened by museums. This is why museums are associated with governments.

I’m reminded of David Joselit’s essay In Praise of Small (here’s a PDF of the essay [http://commonpracticeny.org/assets/CPNY_NearContact_2016.pdf ]) that also argues for and encourages small organizations and institutions, subverting the common phrase, that bigger is better:
Here then are the offcial assumptions with regard to the question of scale and the public good: BIG (capitalization of finance or audience) = PUBLIC. SMALL (capitalization of finance or audience) = ELITIST. But in fact this equation inverts the actual situation. It is the “public” (too big to fail) that disproportionately benefits elites, whereas it is the “elitist” (too small to survive) that serves communities in ways that other, larger organizations cannot. Might this ideological inversion be just as insidious and frightening as it sounds? Is it possible that artists in New York City are not only supposed to decorate the salons of hedge fund managers—and thus be implicated in financial elitism—while also taking the rap for intellectual elitism through their lively participation in specialized art discourse?

The term critique is tossed around as though it were a grenade with its needle pulled. But where does “critique” inhere? In my view, it is generally ineffectual in individual works of art, whose transgression can be easily neutralized in the halls of BIG. No, our political challenge is to maintain alternate forms of public space for exhibition and debate. To do so, we must exit the ethos of “Too big to fail.”

I’ve been thinking about Joselit’s essay a lot, recently rereading it as part of the Triple Canopy Publication Intensive I took part in earlier this summer. While I learned a lot during my two weeks at Triple Canopy, one thing I keep coming back to is are the benifits of staying small. Of how when an institution grows and gains power and size, there are all sorts of political, economic, and public considerations than must be accounted for. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that—I’m seeing the Whitney navigate that each day with a stunning grace—but like Joselit proposes, bigger isn’t always better, and at each scale there are a new set of tradeoffs."
museums  small  jarrettfuller  2016  orhanpamuk  organizations  institutions  sfsh  publicspace  davidjoselit  elitism  triplecanopy  scale  scalability  power  size  whitneymuseum  nyc  manifestos  huamn  humans  toobigtofail 
july 2016 by robertogreco
List of fictional books - Wikipedia
"A fictional book is a non-existent book created specifically for (i.e. within) a work of fiction. This is not a list of works of fiction (i.e., actual novels, mysteries, etc), but rather imaginary books that do not actually exist.

Uses: Such a book may (1) provide the basis of the novel's plot, (2) add verisimilitude by supplying plausible background, or (3) act as a common thread in a series of books or the works of a particular writer or canon of work. A fictional book may also (4) be used as a conceit to illustrate a story within a story, or (5) be essentially a joke title, thus helping to establish the humorous or satirical tone of the work. (Fictional books used as hoaxes or as purported support for actual research are usually referred to as false documents.)"
borges  umbertoeco  michaelchabon  italocalvino  neilgaiman  philipkdick  aldoushuxley  johnirving  kafka  georgeorwell  orhanpamuk  thomaspynchon  vonnegut  wikipedia  writing  fiction  lists  literature  books  meta  invention  verisimilitude  kurtvonnegut 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Orhan Pamuk's 'Museum' Of Obsession, Innocence : NPR
"Pamuk began collecting the objects that his protagonist Kemal would save before he even began writing the novel. And, in an unusual instance of literature melding into real life, he plans to display those objects in an actual "Museum of Innocence," which he hopes to open in Istanbul in July 2010. The idea for the museum came, in part, from the author's visits to small collections around the world. Pamuk says he's always been attracted to small museums and the "melancholy" that seems to permeate them."
orhanpamuk  literature  museums  melancholy  multimedia  novels 
october 2009 by robertogreco

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