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This report is taken from PN Review 85, Volume 18 Number 5, May - June 1992.

The Turkish Rooftops Christopher Middleton
Turkish country people like to sleep on rooftops. In bowers made of dry leaves or in nests of reed they can be found sleeping in the night or during the day. Village houses have one ground floor where in rooms framed by divans families gather, having first taken off their shoes, on or around rugs of many colours, as close as possible to their earth. On the flat rooftops they sleep as close as possible to their sky. Inside the house, they take shelter. But their resourcefulness, generally, is epitomized in the way they ply, without fuss, between the interior and the exposed aspects of the house. Upon the Euclidian geometry of the house - a cellular cube with a flat lid - is mounted another, unstable geometry in which volumes of whatever description fold like breaths alternately in and out. For all the clutter to be found on it, the rooftop signifies The Uncontainable - τo 'Aξωρ&eeacgr;τoν - as if the purpose of bodies might be to pick away the contradiction, opaque or luminous, of their skin, thus to be unhoused.

Or is it the purpose of bodies to lean so far out that they can read what is inscribed upon their skin? For on almost any country rooftop the bower is ringed, the surface checkered, by variously significant utensils. Turkish country people like to have their tools and the products of their labour arrayed around them, even in sleep. Also laundry hangs there, drying. In pots of ...


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