Spot on Istanbul
The stated seventh edition of the Spot on Istanbul publication, though it appears to be the first by Toker, who is crediting with writing, editing, and designing this edition. Softcover, 642pp. Perfect binding with the usual creasing along the spine from frequent use, scuffing and creasing to the wraps that it looks like someone touched up with Sharpie--tidy, but not ideal.
Toker was a radical architect whose efforts were ultimately channeled into work with urban planning offices in Turkey, where he returned after expulsion from Oxford School of Architecture (see: Progressive Architecture Manifesto). He retained his radical ethos, evidenced in his editor's note: "Tourism generally puts the stress on ephemeral qualities which is why spending time in a country does not always mean grasping all dimensions of that land or its people...
On the other hand most available literature is blurred pseudo-facts sometimes resulting from a slapdash attitude but mostly serving a specific sinister brainwashing mission. Yet the alternative in the majority of areas is non existent.
This publication is the offspring of that frustration. It is not about things and places in the abstract but a living society in terms of its people whose activities constitute the now-culture transforming yesterday into tomorrow."
A whirlwind of a travel guide that at once promotes and admonishes tourist culture--or perhaps simply asks more from it (and us) than is expected from a foreign visitor. Toker's personality permeates his descriptions, especially in his index of cultural attitudes--like basketball, birth control, lesbians--that reflected the contemporary environment and the "real" Istanbul. The inherent friction with corporate ads--and the aesthetic facts of 1980s advertising vs Toker's bold all-caps graphics makes a nice contrast, too. He also makes a feature of the city's 20th-century architecture, which he prizes over the city's historical landmarks.