artist: Ozge Gencturk
There’s a time in my life that I can describe as “overwhelming”, the word doesn’t fall flat, it is perfect and precise. Life felt like a heavy load on my shoulders; every morning, when I opened my eyes, the world would turn on me and I could not stop suffocating until the moment I decided to go back to sleep.
I remember one day, in particular, it was a Friday, I had to take a two-hour commute just to take a class, and after that, I’d maybe get drunk until it was time to go home, you know, the usual. I would get home dizzier and sadder each time.
I arrived at school way off schedule, crossed one of the turnstiles at the entrance, went down the long steps that welcome you, crossed the long path that led to my destination, and greeted a couple of acquaintances who smoked in front of the library.
Upon reaching the building where my class would be held, I climbed the steps, went into the bathroom to check that my lipstick was okay and, upon reaching the classroom’s entrance, I decided that I didn’t feel like studying and sitting in a classroom that day.
I went back into the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror until I stopped recognizing myself completely, I went down the steps as if it were other feet that were doing it as if mine had been left standing in front of the cold classroom.
I walked to the entrance, which was now the exit, and got into one of the old trucks that lead to the subway, exactly in the opposite direction from my home.
When I got to the subway, I let myself be consumed by the crowd. Everyone knows where they are going, everyone has a path and a destination, I don’t. I just had to go with the flow, bought a ticket, crossed the dirty turnstile, went down the steps, entered the car, and put my tired-ass butt on one of the slippery and annoying silver seats of line 2.
There was not a sound around me, although I was surrounded by hundreds of people, my ears could not process any sound, my eyes only saw mouths moving, talking, screaming, whispering a song that was blasting through their headphones; but I was not listening to anything. The emptiness took over my body, as if I also left my ears outside the classroom, accompanying my feet in their solitude.
When a considerable amount of people began to get up to get off the dirty and humid orange monster, I followed them. I walked down the busy crowded hallway, and for the third time that day, I went through a turnstile. I climbed some sad steps, the sun touched my forehead right in the middle of doing so. I breathed and for the first time in an hour, I felt my soul return to my body. The city rose to impose in front of me, nothing that could overwhelm me could be as big as that place full of buildings, ugly statues, and people walking from one side to another, without apparent sense. The soul returned to my body immediately, my ears decided to listen again, and the feet with which I walked with, became mine again.
The city appeared to me, then, as freedom, as a space that contains time, not as a strange entity that we can hardly speak of, but a set of moments, minutes, and seconds that belong to each of the strangers who walk around every day.
The city is a great entity that encloses small entities, a world that encloses multitudes of worlds. It is a challenge for the gods, the owner of Babel finally being finished, the mixture of languages, cultures, and lives that no longer seem like a punishment, but a salvation.
And there, in the middle of one of the greatest, most beautiful, dangerous, and necessarily unnecessary creations of man, I was, inflating myself with ignorance and growing up to heaven, with the certainty that there no one knew me and no one paid attention to me.
In my multiple contradictions, that invisibility was exactly the one that made me feel gigantic. The one that made me walk more safely, my ego rose beyond the great buildings and there was nothing that could stop me, “look world, now it is I who is capable of overwhelming you!”
Ozge Gencturk’s art reminded me of that day, and many others, in which the city was my escape, not only from my classes and my responsibilities but from myself and the feeling of heaviness that invaded me every day.
The pink, round and voluptuous giants that are existing naked inside and above colorful houses, show me the freedom to be gigantic yet invisible. I can even think about the inability of human beings to see big (great) things even when we have them right in front of our eyes.
The city is an idea, it is a clear example of the ability of certain men to imagine their habitats and to build them. Ozge shows us the invisible side of the city, the ideas, and thoughts of those whose existence has been reduced by the city, but who, at the same time, grow between it, mixing to the point of not being able to conceive one without the other.
The city absorbs us in this way, a city sweller cannot conceive his being without the connection with the city, the city does not exist without city dwellers.
The city is overwhelming, suffocating defending freedom; it binds us and frees us at its convenience and, and times, lets us grow beyond it, only to later remind us that we are just an extension of its streets, its houses, and its walls.