Chinatown

Microcommunity-primary cell of the Mega(Meta)city by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Walking around Chinatown I was always perceiving the street fronts as not-permeable, neon sign decorated shields of family businesses, gold shops, food corners and tasty deserts. Nevertheless, the backdrop of these shields embraces behind itself the reminiscence of the organic city, labyrinths that seem “without purpose”, micro open spaces, entrances to homes, shrines, temples, markets..

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Silent deconstruction by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Chaos wraps around the construction site, old people are using the walls of the construction space to support themselves in walking, the corridors of the construction site are full of people selling their products, people dream about the progress the station will bring in their businesses, some fear eviction, some hope for profit, silently in the background processes of deconstructing take place. Spatially, historically and culturally rich communities are being bargained for the promise of progress, individual profit and the new globalized architecture of the shopping mall/condominium offering the unified identity.

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Cinematique by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Fairly romanticized vintage cinema spaces in the city have been torn down by both the modernization of our personal lifestyles and rapid urbanization processes resulting with gentrification. Perceiving the difference in approach towards historical places in the cities in Europe and Asia, it has been a while now I have been asking myself the question and teaching the importance of preserving interfaces of different historical periods from the city’s incremental growth. Once the muscles have become weak it seems too often that everyone is keen to replace the skeleton with a new building-body. Perhaps it is always the right time for reconsidering the historical places and what they mean in constructing the identity of the city as a potential to experience the timeline carrying of a territory while in the same time acknowledging processes of reuse and requalification.

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Tamed kapi by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

It has been a long time now that I have been meaning to cross the door to the internal alleys. Last week my kind students took me on a journey to the tamed komshi kapigik.

*kapigik-small door on the fence between two houses (Turkish: kapi) giving the possibility for neighbors to meet and communicate.

Every block in Chinatown embraces within its heart an invisible network of private alleys. Similarly to something made from substance translucent, most of the people come and go without ever finding out that they have existed. Their formation isn’t questionable; individual and row houses fill up the inside with much density.

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Newspaper by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

There is definitely a nostalgic and retro scent scattered among the streets of Chinatown.

My grandmother always leaves newspaper articles on the stairs of our family house. She begins each day with the latest newspaper, reading, swallowing almost every word, folding the paper until it is all deconstructed. After the ritual with the help of her hands she cuts the articles that captured her attention and leaves it on the stairway according to the preferences of each family member. It has become like a small exhibition, displaying newspaper articles from time to time to some idea she has recognized within that ocean of letters.

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