My window in the tiny Kadıköy apartment looks out onto the wall of the neighboring building, just three feet away across a small deck of sloppily placed tar paper. From the bedroom looking out, it becomes an abstract painting, a tableau in random geometric shapes by Piet Mondrian maybe. The square of the red plastic whatever in the bottom corner is a statement somehow, a bright contrast to the dirty beige of the rest of the canvas, a beige broken up with subtle gradations from the way the chipping plaster catches the sideways sunlight differently and from the darker mildew stains, but otherwise a uniform color in stark opposition to that corner of red. The line of the pipes on the left of the frame breaks the plane of the piece, and even offers one more splotch of color to break the beige, a curlicue of rust-brown wire that binds the pipe to the cement protrusion behind it.
I like the abstractions of these urban windows. When we visit the Lake House in Florida, we wake up to windows displaying a more bucolic scene, like Realist nature studies by English Romantics, Constable perhaps. He was known for “skying”--his study of clouds at various times of the day, and he would have loved the galleons of storms that sail through that Floridian blue, framed by the dense vegetation that crowds both sides of the main window in the master bedroom.
But this Kadıköy abstraction is a thing to be meditated on. It offers a mental landscape without shape at first, something airy and anonymous, something that, if stared at long enough, begins to hum, charged as it is with the energy of a centuries old city, a buzz of tangled wires carrying stories and historical catastrophes and languages still striking against one another.