9 february 2015


The dread of a new disaster, a disaster that everyone who lives in Istanbul knows will come from the Bosphorus: I think about it most while in bed. In the early hours of the morning, a ship's horn will interrupt my sleep. If I hear a second blast - long and deep, so powerful that it echoes in the surrounding hills - I know there's fog on the straits. At regular intervals on foggy nights, I'll hear the gloomy horn from the Ahirkapi Lighthouse, where the Bosphorus opens out into the Marmara. And as I swim in and out of sleep, an image will form in my mind of a huge ship struggling to find its way through treacherous currents.

In what country is this ship registered, how big is it, and what is its cargo? How many people are on the bridge with the pilot, and why are they so concerned? Are they caught in a current, or have they noticed a dark silhouette coming at them out of the fog? Have they strayed from the shipping lane, and if so are they sounding the horn to warn any ships that might be near? When Istanbullus hear ships' horns as they're tossing and turning in their sleep, the pity they feel for the men on the ship merges with their dread of disaster to create a fearsome dream about everything that could ever go wrong on the Bosphorus . . . for those who wake up in the night in Istanbul, most get back to sleep by counting the hornblasts. And perhaps in their dreams, they imagine themselves on a ship moving through the fog to the brink of disaster.

- from Istanbul, Memories & the City, Orhan Pamuk

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8 february 2015

Young man in a river, Alto Turiacu, Brazil - Daniel Rodrigues

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7 february 2015

On the dark savannah the camp fires sparkle. Near their warmth, which offers the only protection against the growing chill of the night; behind the frail screens of palm-fronds and branches, hurriedly set up on the side from which wind and rain are expected; next to the baskets filled with the pathetic possessions which constitute the community's earthly wealth; lying on the bare ground which stretches away in all directions and is haunted by other equally hostile and apprehensive bands, husbands and wives, closely intertwined, are aware of being each other's support and comfort, and the only help against day-to-day difficulties and that brooding melancholy which settles from time to time on the souls of the Nambikwara. The visitor camping with the Indians in the bush for the first time, is filled with anguish and pity at the sight of human beings so totally bereft; some relentless cataclysm seems to have crushed them against the ground in a hostile land, leaving them naked and shivering by their flickering fires. He gropes his way through the scrub, taking care not to knock against the hands, arms or chests that he glimpses as warm reflections in the glow of the flames. But the wretchedness is shot through with whisperings and chuckles. The couples embrace as if seeking to recapture a lost unity, and their caresses continue uninterrupted as he goes by. He can sense in all of them an immense kindness, a profoundly carefree attitude, a naive and charming animal satisfaction and - binding these various feelings together - something which might be called the most truthful and moving expression of human love.

- from Tristes Tropiques, Claude Lévi-Strauss

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this ink-wasting toy       


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