The area known as Kuba first emerged in the late 1960s as a neighbourhood of safe houses in a dangerous time. In today's Istanbul, few people could tell you exactly where it is: some say Kuba lies in the southern part of the city, close to the airport, while others doubt whether it still exists. Actually, it comprises a few hundred makeshift clapboard dwellings that are still home to non-conformists of diverse ethnicity, religion and political persuasion united in their defiant disregard for state control.
Kuba is absent from the guide-books to Istanbul, but Kutlug Ataman has journeyed there and back, constructing a portrait of the people and a place as would render a written study pallid. Ataman came upon Kuba - a pocket-size neighborhood within the Istanbul urban megalopolis prideful of its pedigree of near-universal authoritarian resistance yet visible only to its own residents and to police forces making warily unwelcome incursions - as a guest informant, and has spent the months into years there to make the investment an artist whose material involves the human subject is required to perform. Ataman is an artist whose medium is people's lives that, for him and for us, take form in the words they produce.