Gezi Park: Ubiquitous Fans, Ubiquitous Phones

The Çarşı encampment, Gezi Park, taken during the first days of the occupation. (FujiX100)

The Çarşı encampment, Gezi Park, taken during the first days of the occupation. (FujiX100) Click on photo for larger image.

Two ubiquitous presences at Occupy Gezi and attendant demonstrations: Çarşı and smart phone cameras.

Çarşı is the fan club of the Beşiktaş football (soccer) club — rough-and-ready, anarchistic, high-spirited, and energetic. Çarşı lent confidence, safety, and a tough urban edge to the protests.  (For more on Çarşı, go the archives of The New Yorker magazine for an excellent profile by writer Elif Batuman).

The age of the smart phone has changed the postures of demonstrators.  Many protesters march with hands held high, by no means in fascist salutes, but holding cell phones to photograph and record seemingly everything in their fields of vision. Every step, every moment of two weeks of protest seem to have been documented and ready for  crowd-sourcing. And, is not impossible that the faces of many activists and protestors have been recorded as well; I  noticed occasional cell phone shutterbugs who, if I were the suspicious type, I would identify as police photographers.  In all, over the weeks, so many people took so many photographs that any privacy disappeared; during the last days of the park occupation, many occupiers posted signs requesting that passersby refrain from photographing them.

iPhone as surrogate telephoto lens. In focus on the iPhone screen and out of focus in the background: "guerilla theater" performed by a troupe of striking Turkish Airlines workers, Gezi Park, first week of occupation. (FujiX100)

iPhone as surrogate telephoto lens. In focus on the iPhone screen and out of focus in the background: “guerilla theater” performed by a troupe of striking Turkish Airlines workers, Gezi Park, first week of occupation. (FujiX100.)  Click on photo for larger image.

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