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Istanbul / 24 April 2008

Outline of the city of Istanbul from the sea

Outline of the city of Istanbul from the sea

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Istanbul is an amazing city, full of history that is at once both ancient and contemporary. There's a lot of tourist blurb that de-sensitizes and strangely makes mundane what is in fact is an intensely inspiring and vibrant hub of energy. It sits on one of Eurasia’s most volatile faultlines; it runs from north to south down the Bosphorus straits. People in Istanbul look to the antiquity of the Aya Sofya, and count their blessings.

There is stuff here that I no longer see back home in the UK. Children play football on the streets. Wizened old ladies peer at the world from their windows with kind smiles. Cats craftily slink through the half sun-lit alley-ways. Musicians cajole and question stall holders along the bazaars. All life is here, ebbing and flowing, the kind of life that is the stuff of poetic dreams.

Although I have got to to say it is also a really complex place to negotiate; for example a visually impaired dude or a girl in a wheelchair is going to to have a bit of a headache trying to negotiate the endless twists and turns and staircases that traverse the seven hills that is Istanbul., although I saw one blind boy being led by his mother, I presume. He seemed to be cool with it, but then he probably knows the place like the back of his hand.

We are here to create the third part of Three films plus one. The piece is going to be called Here. Initially there just three of us here over from the UK - Caglar Kimyoncu from FilmPro, Isolte Avila and myself, plus Istanbul based artist Evrim. Later we will be joined Primoz Bayzak (dir for Here), Mark Holub (music director) Vicky Heathcock (technical director) and last but certainly not least Luke Barlow (musician and long time collaborator). Our small group has already hit the ground running, gathering the initial rushes for the film element of “Here”. These are mainly rehearsal shots and possibly usable material. We are investigating what it means to be “here” because apparently most of us, thought-wise, are in the past or in the future. We do not really see each other, in the sense that we only see what we want to see as opposed to ‘seeing’ the real person. Apparently, a lot of us cannot really ‘see’ ourselves, which in Bhuddist terms renders us as a kind of a ghost. Whoah,scary…

Today we went down to the Capali Carsi: it is pronounced, Shapali Sharsi. There is a huge indoor bazaar, surrounded by a labyrinth of alleyways. The dynamics of the crowds and the stillness of the timeless architecture provided a strong and potent framework for the photography and the choreography; a real sense of this world together, is what makes it work.

The children came out of the shops to help us with the filming; they were suggesting ideas and conferring as to how they would approach the shots. We found an amazing shop full of anything made of metal. It had metal headdresses made of coins, pocket gunpowder kegs, and bits of old wrought iron depicting what could have aramaic writing. The owner was incredibly generous and allowed to film some sequences inside. The interior was a real Aladdins cave. There is so much visual information that you just want to film it all.

I'm going to be writing about how the piece comes together in the time that we are here. Tune in to this blog in a few days, til then, peaceful thoughts x