Becoming Istanbul is a critical database created by SALT exploring the problematics of Istanbul. It is focusing on transformations to the city, clichés used by observers to evaluate these transformations, and common place complaints and conditions; Becoming Istanbul invites the user to question and critique popular discourses.
The contents of the Becoming Istanbul database were collected from 2008 by Garanti Galeri and over the years of 2010 and 2011 by SALT.
The Becoming Istanbul online project was launched by SALT in 2011 during the exhibition Becoming Istanbul at SALT Beyoğlu. The contents of todays database are as well a result of a contest and a selection of video and photographic works. 90 events were organized to share the phenomena and potential of the city, with the aim to resist an exclusionist or “expert” stance through a broad profile of speakers and diverse array of topics. The topics of 90 ranged from the possibility of producing energy in Istanbul using the waters of the Black Sea, to the reasons why the same musical tune is used in every demonstration in Beyoğlu.
The authors of the contest captured people and palces best embodying the city as it realtes to their own experineces and daily life. These are places the authors pass every day on their way to school, the store where their family buys groceries, or the cafe where their meet their friends. The only criterion was the image in some way defines the relationship with Istanbul.
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Becoming Istanbul is as well a multi-authored bedside book which discusses the current changes that the city undergoes within 152 different items. These items focus on problematics which are discussion points in Istanbul today, many of them being subjects of anxiety. They can be summarized as standard opinions, explanation patterns and stereotype complaints, in general, discourses by those who observe the Istanbul of today and its process of becoming a metropolitan. Many of the items were chosen by the authors out of a long list prepared by the editors, and some of them were suggested by the authors themselves. Although the book has been organized alphabetically, it doesn’t have the comprehensive structure or the academic consistency of an encyclopedia, neither was it intended to do so. The only criteria given to the writers were the general points of approach mentioned above and the limitation of the text length. With the intention of expressing “becoming Istanbul” from as many angles as possible, the authors were chosen from a wide range of professions: architects, musicians, city planners, chefs, activists, sociologists, economists, film critics, authors, museum curators, geographers, journalists, anthropologists, historians…
To order online: Becoming Istanbul