Urban Sign Language

Istanbul, a city of 15 million people, resonates with a lot of talk, that is usually with not much melody. Listening isn't as popular, so words quickly turn into chatter, which then combined turn into noise, added to taxi honks and motor roars. Messages loose meaning, sounds of you and me get lost in the sounds of the city. This chatter becomes yet another invisible barrier in our daily lives while navigating through the city. In this crowded sound-scape, urban sign language rises quickly, at times even poetically, to the foreground of our metropolitan communications.

"Sign Language is a language, which instead of acoustically conveyed sound patterns, uses visually transmitted sign patterns to convey meaning." as explained by wiki-authors. Inspired by the performative silent quality of the sign language, it's not hard to imagine "graffiti" as a language, made up by paint and signs blown up to an urban scale. Graffiti is silent. Sometimes it's silly, sometimes meaningful, some say it's crime, some find it cheerfully colorful and even beautiful. 

Instead of having moving-hands in the foreground of this language, they are kept anonymous. The gesture is the image left on the wall. A guerilla art form using the city as it's canvas. Leaving behind it's message and a sense of wonder  for when and how it got there. So whether everyone agrees on it or not, we end up having street walls with customized wallpapers framing urban experiences. We wait in front of flying white creatures, we fall asleep by bright yellow fists, we buy cheap antique or used LP's leaning against sprayed propaganda. 


Random Encounters

Random Encounter is explained by Wikipedia "as a feature commonly used in hack and slash role-playing games and computer and video games whereby encounters with non-player character enemies or other dangers occur sporadically and at random."

Perhaps not as dramatic, but in a city of 15 million people random encounters are bound to happen at any given time framing odd moments of co-existence. Sometimes they pass you by, sometimes they hold you in your tracks. 

Wikipedia piece goes on to continue: "In general, Random Encounters are used to simulate the challenges associated with being in a hazardous environment such as monster infested wilderness or dungeon, but do not contribute to the plot".

It's true in our stress-induced lives we are growing to be less tolerant to what's different and conceive them as 'monsters' or 'aliens' or to be totally ignorant and let encounters disappear in the flowing crowds.

But then again in 15 million one can imagine to have all sorts of games going on at the same time. Some may totally be hazardous, some not as much, some just innocent. 

In a city as old as Istanbul, it's not only people who are victims of strange random encounters, but also their 'things' which are left to circulate the town in search of new lives once they fall out of use or fashion. They mostly travel quite a bit from hand to hand parking at times on sides of streets, on top of collectors' carts or in vintage-vitrines hidden behind reflections of street-life staring at random encounters.