[ by Charles Cameron — Gezi Park and Westgate Mall through the lens of the Garden of Good and Evil ]
Sheer madness, I know — but there’s a method to it.
I was watching Clint Eastwood‘s brilliantly funny film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil last night, and noted with delight the symmtery between two of his Savannah characters — one a gentleman who walks an invisible dog through a park on a leash [upper panel, above], and the other a fellow who attaches house-flies on threads to his lapels, so that he can walk his pets to the nearby diner for breakfast [lower panel]…
Here’s where the sheer madness comes in, and the method it encourages.
With symmetry still on a back burner in my mind, I was reading Michael Klare‘s post Planet Tahrir: The Coming Mass Demonstrations against Climate Change (Klare) on Juan Cole‘s blog this morning, and ran across this sentence:
on May 27th, a handful of environmental activists blocked bulldozers sent by the government to level Gezi Park, a tiny oasis of greenery in the heart of Istanbul, and prepare the way for the construction of an upscale mall.
An upscale mall.
Beth Gill‘s essay, Temples of Consumption: Shopping Malls as Secular Cathedrals details a central analogy of our time, and it’s only fitting that the desire to replace an “oasis of greenery” by building an “upscale mall” was what triggered the Gezi Park uprising, just as the destruction of an “upscale mall” in Nairobi, Kenya, was the recent target and mise-en-scene of al-Shabaab’s recent “martyrdom brigade” and their murderous rampage.
The symmetries and ratios of garden and mall, cathedral and mall, construction and destruction, paradise and consumption are thrown up for our consideration by this juxtaposition of Gezi and Westgate.
What can we learn from them?