“Anti-Hamam Confessions”, Gülsün Karamustafa, May 27–June 25, 2011, Rodeo, İstanbul

by Azad Alik

Gülsün Karamustafa

“When I was asked to do a piece on the topic of the hamam, I was very annoyed at first as it would have been the last thing that would interest me. As a citizen of Istanbul I had never been to a hamam and my family were not interested in hamams either. The hamam was completely historical for us, a place we were told stories about – but in a way we admired the architecture. City life and its conditions, what with modern apartments containing bathrooms, never raised a need for including the idea of the hamam into our lives.

Then I thought it would be interesting to share my ideas and feelings with the audience. Why I am only enchanted by the history related to hamams but how I do not like the way they exist today. Why I find the touristic interpretation of the hamam unbearable. Why I am so annoyed with the orientalistic gaze of the west and the way of westerners relating this gaze to the daily life of the citizens of Istanbul. I wished to interpret my feelings and present them in order to express myself and my relationship to the hamam. In a way, I thought, maybe it would also be healing for me.

The short film Anti-hamam confessions is shot in an old and neglected hamam, built by the architect Mimar Sinan, that was later turned into a shopping centre. The environment I chose juxtaposes my feelings and shows that all hamams are not what you see in the colourful tourist guides, where they look like the harem section of the Ottoman Palace.

Completing my interpretation of the hamam, my film is accompanied by three short excerpts from Turkish films dealing with hamam scenes.”

The text is available @ http://sharingwaters.com/artists/gulsun-karamustafa


Tütün Deposu
Lüleci Hendek Caddesi
No. 12
Tophane, İstanbul

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