Electric Avenue

I’ve been inspired to make an art project to fill up the empty time and one of the 2 broken TV’s at Kenan’s place. I first thought something of a shrine/alter that could sit in the living room where the TV was to reorient the mindless entertainment energy to meaningful reflection time. But that idea was struck down.

Charging ahead regardless, a breakthrough came last night during coffee with some of Kenan’s recently graduated English students. One of them, Can, works at the Electric Utility in town. When I visited this class the other day (“Ankara”), I thought he was a typical representative of the many government workers that come through that school. We all know my opinions of the effects of government on the soul and the report from teachers sounded bleak. Not so with Can. In the short time we talked over coffee I learned he also loves the lake and frequently volunteers his time to pick up trash there (+10), is an artist who paints and makes mosaics (+20) and, most importantly, has electricity in his soul. (I proposed, he’s already married with children.)

It was Can who gave me the hot tip on Electric Avenue in Ulus. So today we took ourselves down to the neighborhood a friend referred to as “hardcore Turkish Ankara” on a mission. Ulus is the old part of the city, where one can find pretty much every manufactured object hanging from a hook, as well as mannequins with headscarves within spitting distance of a giant statue of Ataturk. Hardcore Turkish. The obligatory period of hapless wandering didn’t bother me as we passed flag stores, commemorative crystal widget stores and weed-whacker distributers. Everything was out on the street or meticulously lined up in windows by the upteenth thousand.dscn1175

“Light emitting diodes anyone?”

“Oh yes, go up that street till you get to where the minibuses come from” dscn11731

Electric Avenue is where the minibuses are born. It’s right around the corner from were the man yells over the chainsaw in his hand. Just up from the “Leather Belts, Porn and Meat on Hooks” alley (no snickering allowed)

When I finally found a little “electric hobby shop” cowering amongst a row of subwoofer stores, I knew the Ave was magic. The shop was perfect: full of LEDs, mini-switchs, lengths of wire and, best of all, electronic hobby kits. Don’t worry, I bought some and they’re in Turkish. Nothing cultivates comprehension like small packages of parts labeled in another language just waiting to be soldiered together. Just ask Can and the friendly folks at the Electric Utility.