Imagining Istanbul as a center: Taksim
Salt has cancelled some of it’s conferences and organzied a new conference on Taksim Square for June 7. Orhan Esen, academic will speak about the history of the square.Independent urban researcher, writer and guide Orhan Esen will take a look at the history of Taksim becoming a space of centrality within the context of modernization in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey since early 19th century. In his talk at SALT Beyoğlu, he will delve into the current project’s paradigm, the idea behind the “Barracks-Mall for profit.”
The talk will take place on June 7. “We spent our last week, last month, last year, last 10 years, regularly discussing Taksim in changing contexts; before, it wasn’t different. We just took the discussion to the next level; we changed the means. The question of ‘how to intervene in Taksim’ has long been synonymous with how to make the city, even the country, appear. Now we have begun talking about Turkey through the mediation of Taksim. Spatio-politics have become the medium for writing a subtext for the new Constitution,” Esen said.
Esen is interested in the performance of the city in which he lives, the fields of shelter, transportation, environment and identity-formation and essentially providing city dwellers reasonable conditions in which to live. He studied social and economic history and, later, the history of art and architecture in Istanbul and Vienna. As a guide, he finds it important to let his guests perceive Istanbul with all its “mediocrities” – beyond its monumental building stock; his interest extends from the historical to the extant. He believes that showing and sharing the city is an effective method for developing spatial awareness. Making an effort to be a vigilant, active and participating resident of the city, he works with various civilian, academic, artistic and political platforms.