Photography, travel, visual distraction

Istanbul’s Stars

with 5 comments

I am really not a cat person. I come down strictly on the side of dogs. For the most part, I have as little sympathy for cats as they do for anyone. I will be perfectly nice to them and can enjoy their company, but think it is pointless to have any deeper attachment with them. Still, even I have to admit that the Istanbul cats are all sorts of fabulous. They are full of character and the city is their fiefdom. It is nothing if not fun to watch them run amok all over it.

Today, I attended a symposium at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University on the occasion of the launch of Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. Pamuk gave the closing address. While he was speaking a gorgeous black cat with deep green eyes strolled on to the stage and plonked herself (?) right in the centre demanding everyone’s attention. She walked around, stretched a bit, walked into the audience and then back again on stage with all eyes, including Pamuk’s, on her. Seemingly happy with all that attention, she decided it would only be good form to let the author have his stage again. It was kind of awesome.


Written by szerlem

May 6, 2012 at 19:12

Posted in Istanbul, Miscellanea

5 Responses

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  1. But how was *Pamuk’s* talk?? And the Museum itself??


    May 6, 2012 at 20:22

  2. The Museum itself is definitely worth a visit. I don’t mind going back again, actually. I felt it added to the book and definitely made up for, in terms of creating a tangible sense of Istanbul of the 60s – 80s, what was missing in the book. That said, given that it is in Cukurcuma just made me feel that it was a curated version of the many antique shops in the neighbourhood, and that those are actually more interesting because you can actually touch and feel the objects and make of them what you will, rather than being fed a set story.

    The talk was interesting too. I have only heard Pamuk speak in English before and he was much more personable and charming today than I remember him to have been in London (it was a talk on the Museum of Innocence). Some of what he said was helpful in terms of getting a sense of how he envisioned the process (he would first acquire the object, then write about it) and also why he decided to make a museum (“Bilmiyorum, ve bilmek de istemiyorum.”). He also said that he had initially thought about writing the book as an actual museum catalogue, but then changed his mind — I think it might have worked better that way, given that his characters were so frustrating! Oh, and he also insisted on keeping up the cutsie post-modernist pretence — I wrote what Kemal Basmaci asked me to write. It made me roll my eyes a bit.


    May 6, 2012 at 20:48

  3. I love this photo, and the scene-stealing kediler. And I’m going to track down that earthquake cigarette in the museum before the week’s out.


    May 6, 2012 at 21:36

  4. Cats know what they are about.Glad to read this about Pamuk’s museum. I liked the book in spite of its problematic qualities, but somehow can’t imagine it being a real thing! Not sure if I like the idea or not.But I love the photo and your story!


    May 16, 2012 at 18:44

    • Thank you, Beth.

      I really disliked the book! I feel terrible about it, since I have loved Pamuk’s earlier work so much. In some ways, the actual museum made up for some of my extreme frustrations with the book. Also, I wrote about the museum!


      May 18, 2012 at 12:45

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