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1971, Mardin. Lives in İstanbul.

Beyoğlu’s main street, İstiklal Caddesi, is an everyday theatre of the unexpected. It is the most institutionalised area in İstanbul, the first pedestrianised, and the first wide, straight street; full of consulates, art and cultural centres, banks and bookshops. But it is also a street with a violent history of capital, leisure, prostitution and clandestine activity. No other street in the world witnesses a demonstration each and every day of the year, from the stubborn endurance of the Saturday Mothers to the locally-sanctioned marching bands. The street also has an amazing density of undercover cops, pickpockets, sharks, lookouts, con artists and the like. Sometimes İstiklal Caddesi is also the beautiful gutter of the city, with its freaks, performers and spontaneous happenings. It can provide a safe haven, and a ready-made free space for a city that is otherwise self-policing and communally organised.
In his video, Altındere charges the street, from one end to the other, with imaginary moments that fleetingly disrupt the mundane and the routine; a beauty queen bikes up and down the street, and two business men break into a rap dance. Despite the absurdity of each of these episodes, after casting a quick, suspicious glance, people walk on by. Art, it seems, can never compete with the intensity of everyday life, nor hope to do so. The video is Altındere’s ode to the street with which, like so many immigrants to this city, he has long identified.

Vasıf Kortun


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