From Gare St. Lazare to Istanbul M6 Line

In the 19th century, Claude Monet rented a studio near the famous Gare St. Lazare. The result of his settling down near the station was seven different paintings depicting the same area. Living in an era of rapid change where everything was new yet temporary, Monet’s illustrations naturally delivered the feelings of chaos and instability, which was life itself. Looking around to see steam and engines, this experience of shock is easy to understand, but also difficult to imagine today.


The Gare St. Lazare: Arrival of a Train – Claude Monet, 1877

Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, Monet’s gloomy impressionism naturally has changed its forms. The shock of railways has transformed into an indifference about planes, subways, ski lifts and so on. Namely, it is an adaptation towards change and technology that has already started by the 20th century. While isolation and inequality are still significant notions attributed to the modern life, there is also a glimpse of hope and optimism linked to modernity that we are able to see now around us. This optimism is in fact, pioneered by the futurists and neo-futurists, manage to escape the doors of museums and art galleries. We experience it around the buildings, inside shopping malls and actually under the ground.

One such example is the new metro line in Istanbul, M6. Consisting of 4 stops, it is a short line reaching to the Boğaziçi University at the end. Despite the brief journey, the experience of this metro line is a different one given the tunnel. The tunnel is a combination of metals and lights. The bright colors changing as you walk resemble a rainbow, creating an idealistic vibe.

Seemingly simple, the metro station in question is a good symbol showing how technology itself has become a crucial part of the creative process and has generated the possibility of new artistic modes. When the case is so, gloomy impressionism fades and positive futurism shines around us.

There is one big problem in this picture though: our need for art and aesthetics is yet incomparable to the amount we receive from cultural policies.


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