Sunday, November 01, 2009

Orhan Pamuk will also open a museum of objects, the Museum of Innocence, filled with 83 displays for each of the 83 chapters of the novel “The Museum of Innocence”. “As I wrote this novel over the past 10 years,” Pamuk told me, “I encountered everyday objects that would make their way into the story. At other times, the story would demand an object to keep it moving, so I would bring one in. When I am stuck, I cast about looking for ideas from objects around me. My perceptions, or you can say my tentacles, are wide open to everything in shop windows, in friends’ homes, in flea markets and antique shops and so on. This is how the Museum of Innocence came about.” The photo shows THE PESTICIDE SPRAYER On this red armchair is an object that we used to spray pesticides. In Turkish we called it temiz is, or “clean job.” It extinguished all mosquitoes, bugs, anything really. I even remember families spraying it around the dinner table when I was younger, maybe in the late 1950s. I bought this one from a shop. I liked its color. It looks deadly. And even a bit primitive. Photo: Olaf Blecker for The New York Times. When the museum opens next year, in a narrow 19th-century building, admission will be free with a ticket printed in the book. Each chapter, whether “An Anatomical Chart of Love Pains” or “My Father’s Death,” will inspire displays of ephemera. Among the objects: 4,213 cigarette butts, 237 hair barrettes, 419 national lottery tickets and 1 quince grinder. “My novel honors the museums that no one goes to, the ones in which you can hear your own footsteps.” Over the years, he visited hundreds of these queer, lesser-known monuments to collecting — from the Chinese Traditional Medicine Museum in Hangzhou, China, to the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, N.C. His character Kemal visits museums, too — 5,723 of them, we learn from the novel. “I am happy. Tolstoy had his school. Another writer had his magazine, a third one had his movie dreams, and yet another one has his politics. This museum is my school, my magazine, my film, my politics. It is part of me.” -NEGAR AZIMI, NY Times

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