Something

I have been taking photos of the Annex and posting them on Flickr. Venk’s photos have finally shamed me into doing it, which meant spending some time there, of course.

The Annex is about death. It may be dark and gloomy below the water but I am realizing that I am looking at death as a good thing. The way I did things over there seems to point at that, although in most cases I did them more or less unawares: The poor old carousel horses who are then finally released as ghosts and the limbs that are pointing up at Arcadia Asylum’s globe of the constellations. And even the mortuary is actually very peaceful.

And then, yesterday I observed an encounter. It was a very minor, polite social exchange and had nothing whatsoever to do with me. I just happened to be there really. What I picked up on was so small, so seemingly insignificant that it would take me a very long time to describe what I mean, so I am not going to even attempt it.

A lot of things are going through my head. I keep writing down sentences and deleting them.

A year after I started the job that I have now, the dean called me into his office and said that unless I began to present academic output I would get fired. Meaning, I either had to exhibit art work (in a very substantial way) or I had to write academically – or else I was out. I had been doing neither. I had spent the 10 years before that making things on my computer, terabytes worth probably, but nothing that would even remotely fall into either category. I didn’t write anyway. I made stuff: I drew comics. Other stuff. I would spend months building very elaborate stages in 3D software and then take renders. Not even the slightest likelihood of exhibiting it or something. A tiny bit of it is on my RL website. Most of it isn’t. I must have made hundreds of website interfaces for my website. Or I would put in little sub sites that talked about flowers or my facial rejuvenation treatments. Countless little videos. A few I have salvaged and posted at vimeo. Most are lost. I have not even stored the stuff properly. None of it is video art or “art” or anything like that. Like I spent one whole winter making illustrations with cats dressed up as historic Istanbul people. A cat selling doner kebap. 3 cats smoking hookahs. A courting, old fashioned cat couple on a sofa, a lot of female cats in a hamam. I am going to have Alpho make t-shirts for one of her outfits out of them in fact.

NARGILE

I knew that the art exhibition route would be the harder one for me. My stuff was fragmented, I did whatever came into my head. Some of what I did may have looked “artsy” but the mindset behind it most definitely was not.

At around this time I was also reading Roy’s book and was completely entranced by it. I ended up becoming his student not really because I wanted to get a PhD but because I wanted to be his student. And there I realized that I could write. So, I chose the second route, writing, to retain my job. And to this day, it is the only reason that I continue. I have lost too many jobs in the past. In fact, I have been very cavalier in that regard and I have learned my lesson. It is called being penniless. I was (and still am) scared of that. I like money. I like to spend it.

I am Turkish. And we are nomads. We have been settled for a mere thousand years – and even then have we ever been really settled? Not that I am so very Turkish genetically either, I should say. And not that Turkey is not teeming with people who show duration and take root in one place. Me – I have moved so many times that I have lost count. And I probably will again before I die. I have changed my mind so often, lost careers and started new ones. For reasons which most others would probably laugh at. The job I have now I have had for 8 years and I am amazed. I think the nearest one to this was 3 years? 2? Basically I have run out of options and this is a dream job which I would be mad to lose. I have to stick around or else…

In the Muslim faith the best sort of grave (in the eyes of God) is the one which is unmarked or even completely lost. So, I am quite contented to know that it will not make a blind bit of difference whether I have been around or not. When I die. I make things because I have nothing better to do. And also of course because I have a really good time while I am making them. Including academic papers. And yes, of course I like it when people like what I make. Who wouldn’t?

What does all this have to do with the social exchange that I saw yesterday? I could somehow tell from their demeanor (although I am not exactly sure how I did that) that the two people who met and exchanged polite greetings had not spent 10 years drawing terabytes of cats in hamams and weird comic strips and facial rejuvenation web sites and God knows what else. I did and I still do so. For me, alpha.tribe is precisely that. And Syncretia too. There is no master plan. I do not see an aim in it, an illustrious culmination or whatever. It is all virtual anyway. Could crash and be gone any minute.

And that is precisely what I love about it. That is what I love about life itself. And that is why I think that I will welcome death when it finally comes. And I feel very very very alone as I am stating this feeling that life’s beautiful fragility gives me. And it is that loneliness that made me write this now.

Quite important note: I just re-read this, the day after I wrote it. And there is something here that needs to be clarified. The people I am talking about  – they have absolutely the right idea! They appeared to have a clarity of purpose in their lives which I seem to lack. I felt very alone, very outcast, and yes – ultimately very jealous as I stood there. But it is my problem, not theirs in any way!
:-\

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