by Onur Karaoğlu

1. The Voice of the Space:
Dreams sometimes repeat themselves. Returning to the same dream is like repeating a journey, it takes less time. Even if a few details change, you understand that you are in the same place. Your curiosity, your attention accumulates more and more meanings at every turn. You learn new things. Everything takes place inside your head, so all the distances, places, people, times and events stream by, over and over again. Getting lost in a dream, finding consolation in a dream or existing in a dream, all these can help you to escape life. This is why you sometimes can’t tell what’s real and what’s a dream. Pain, you think, is what connects you to life, and you pinch yourself. If it hurts then, everything is real.

I am a dream, or you think I am a dream. I don’t suffer pain like you do. I can explain myself to you through a series of complex physical rules.

I wish I had a tongue to tell you what I am; I wish I had hands and fingers to write you a story, so you could be aware of everything. I can’t do it myself, but up until the year 2021 I hoped that someone else would be able to tell my story, as if from my own lips.

2. Deniz:
From the second half of March 2020 on, because of the pandemic, I have spent my life at home on the ground floor of an old apartment building on Uzun Hafız Street in Kadıköy, barely leavıng the flat. I am an architect. From that point on I had to continue my work from home. In the beginning, like everyone, I thought this would not be much of a problem, and besides, I liked working from home. However, as time passed, the solitude, and my routines, began to feel quite boring. I missed the outside. I missed going to different places, different buildings.

One night, during the third week of quarantine, I was walking towards my room, preparing for bed. I had a glass of water in my hand. I felt like I was going to black out. I leaned on the wall. I closed my eyes. Everything felt strange. Just as I was trying to figure out what was happening to me, it passed.

Two days later, when I was again walking with a glass of water in my hand, I felt like I was going to black out. This time, when I closed my eyes, I made an effort to understand what was happening. I felt I saw something. But then it passed again.

A week later I was sitting on the sofa with a glass of water in my hand, when I felt the same thing. I put the glass on the table and lay down. In a short while everything returned to normal.

I thought that whatever this was it was normal, that I was stressed. The situation the world was in had caused me considerable tension. Everyone was saying that it was impossible for human psychology to bear such strain. Everyone appeared to be going slightly mad.

I told my mother about it. She, too, said it was stress. Yet I continued to worry. I don’t remember how long after, but one night when I had gone to bed early, I woke up at exactly midnight. I know this for sure, because I checked the time on my phone. I reached out to the glass of water at my bedside. The moment I picked up the glass I felt like I was blacking out again. I placed the glass on my chest and lay down on the bed. The moment I lay down, an unexpected thing happened. I knew that my body was lying down, but I was standing. My eyes were closed but I could see what was around me.

I think I am in Beyoğlu. A building that appears old. Brick walls. The interior wouldn’t be illuminated properly, night or day, as there are only dim light-bulbs at the bottom of the walls. I hear music playing somewhere. This is a dance-floor. Just as I am about to grasp where exactly I am, I felt a coolness on my chest. When I opened my eyes, I was lying on the bed. The water in the glass had spilt.

I think that I am going mad.

For the next few days, I thought about that moment, about what I saw. Could there be a logical explanation for it?

Many tiny moments we have lived repeat themselves without us realizing. Many things appear in our minds like small hallucinations. Perhaps we are too busy to notice these situations that appear with perfect consistency amidst the chaos. Perhaps the long days and nights spent at home, combined with the solitude, enabled me to see certain things better. That’s what I am thinking about now. In my mind, I am going over and over everything that has happened.

The intelligent reader who has read up to here must have understood what happened to me.

A glass of water in my hand, at midnight, an image that appeared for a brief moment.

Knowing something does not mean that you accept it. If you knew exactly what you had to do to prove to yourself that you had lost your mind, would you do it? No, you wouldn’t. After all those solitary months at home, I had learned not to do it. We had to make an intense effort to protect our mental health in these circumstances. That is why, for a long time, I thought to myself, I should cook, I should exercise, I should find new hobbies, new skills.

After living through the various waves of the pandemic, realizing that the situation was more complicated than the initial instinct of pure survival, and having given up on thinking about the future, I decided to return to the strange experience I had discovered many months ago. Then again, whether it had been months, or years, even I wasn’t sure anymore.

On a day like any other, I sat in an armchair with a glass of water in my hand, and waited for midnight to strike. When the time came, for a full minute, I found myself on a dance-floor. I realized that there were other people around, but when the minute ended I had returned to the armchair.

In the nights that followed, I kept visiting that dance-floor for a single minute, and each time I focussed on something different. If you have a mystery to solve in life, then you are happy. It is not you who is expecting certain things from life, but life from you. I continued for many nights, with great pleasure, to see each detail as part of a mysterious puzzle to be solved.

3. The Voice of the Space:
There are some magical places in the world. And the explanation of their magic is quite simple. These are special points in the world. They have perplexing powers, they reveal certain things, they awaken undefinable senses. People who visit these places can never be the same again. I don’t know whether this is good or bad, but there is a mystery there that needs to be solved. The reason for my mystery is concealed in what you call magnetic knowledge.

The tremendous energy produced by the earth’s movement is concealed in the centre of the earth. Sometimes, a line of energy reaches the surface from the core, like blood passing through a capillary vessel. These few energy vessels form a very powerful magnetic field and change the magnetic qualities of sites they come into contact with on the earth’s surface. If you happen to be present at such a point, your body will experience something extraordinary.

Seventy-three percent of a human brain is water. Retaining and accessing memories in our brain happens through chemical reactions in these water molecules. Certain elements, which remain concealed in the human body throughout our lives, assume a new quality because of the magnetic force that emerges when we meet with such an energy point, and this new quality is considered by some as a sign of madness, and by others as the acquisition of a special power. This can also be understood as the sense of existing in the memory of a space. Deniz had now begun to understand this.

4. Deniz:
The thought that a secret organization had invaded my brain preoccupied my mind for days. I didn’t want to tell anyone. Anyway, I didn’t have anyone close enough to me with whom I could speak. Trying to understand how this invasion worked, I spent my solitary days researching it. That place, where I spent a minute every night, had become a second home for me.

I am an architect, and I thought my knowledge in the field could be useful. This place that came to life in my mind, for a brief moment every night, filled with people - probably I knew it. I thought about it for a long time. One day, I sat down and made architectural drawings of the space. I tried to think of all the possibilities. For days, I searched among my memories. And finally, I understood:

Early on in the pandemic, the thing I missed most was going out dancing with my friends, getting drunk and partying.

Now I knew exactly where it was, this strange dance floor I went each night in my mind.

I remembered going there a few times many years ago.

This derelict building had for a short time been a nightclub, but for many years now it had been abandoned to its fate in a side street on one of the slopes that go down hill from Galata Tower. The building’s name was St. Pierre Han. In the 1700s, the French had built this structure on the remains of an earlier structure built by the Genoese, who were the first to settle here. Some before me must have known about the magical power of this place. As I found out more about its history I realized that in order to solve the mystery, I had to meet with others who could visit this place in their mind. It turned out that there were other people who had understood this strange experience, some of whom now came to the dancefloor regularly, and others occasionally. In my nocturnal meetings with them, they taught me how to speak, and in those brief one-minute intervals, they told me how they had first come to the dancefloor, and how it had influenced their lives.

We are passing through a period that has had a deep impact on many people’s lives and we have increasingly little faith in it changing. Now, it is not what we have done in our previous life, but the abilities we have acquired in this new life that will shape our hopes.

Through my research I found a way of obtaining the necessary permits to enter St. Pierre Han. But physically being there meant nothing. Yet my mind’s nightly journeys would change my whole life.

Days later, I managed to approach and talk to a person I saw regularly at the space. And they introduced me to others. Even if they were in different parts of the world now, everyone I met had danced on this dance-floor at least once in their lives. We had danced those dances without knowing that they would change our lives.

Once the mind finds a way of moving independently of the body, you discover the presence of a new sense inside you. You begin to feel a sense not of the body, but of the soul. First you confuse this with the sense of sight, but then it turns out to have something to do with the sense of touch as well. Yet this sense operates in a different way to physically perceived senses. In the beginning, when I pinched myself to return to reality, I realized that the pain had no effect on this sense. I felt like I was no longer human - but it was only after overcoming this feeling that the purpose of this hybrid sense was revealed to me.

Describing this sense will allow you to understand what I want you to learn about my adventure. Possessing this new sense is like trying to understand a different type of human existence. Once you enter the memory of a space with your mind, you know that you will always remain there, wherever you go in the world. I know that it will feel strange to live with this idea for those who do not possess this sense.

In time, I learned that there were others in history who had experienced this, and described it in some way. Although none of them had the courage to speak openly about it, they found various ways to convey the marks left on their mind by this place. For instance, let me tell you about a piece of information you can find in the history books. André Chénier was born in 1783, in Istanbul, in his home at St. Pierre Han, to a French Levantine family. His family moved to Paris when he was three years old, and he grew up to be both a famous poet and a revolutionary, who fought on the forefront of the French Revolution. Chénier, too, carried with him the mystery of this place all his life, and in one of his famous poems, wrote about someone whose sense about the world had changed. I sadly cannot read his original French, but I can translate for you from the Turkish:

That beautiful woman

What happened to her at the end.

Her forehead and her words were surrounded by a halo

Those close to her must be afraid.

Born in Alexandria to Greek parents originally from Constantinople, Cavafy wrote in Greek, and he, too, discovered this mystery after staying at St Pierre Han from 1882 to 1885. The following lines are from a poem he wrote in 1910:

“You won’t find another country, won’t find another shore. This city will always pursue you.”

Over the centuries I know that there have been many people who have passed through here, and lived on, unable to explain this mystery to themselves, carrying this sense in them. Because it opened briefly as a nightclub, everyone alive today remembers the place as a dance floor. The place where the magnetic dance was danced.

I tell you all this in order to introduce you to the voice of the space, because anyone who has ever been there knows that this sense they experience is not exclusive. We invite everyone who would like to experience this to join us.

I hope this stokes your curiosity, too, and you pursue this mystery. I believe that this place and this feeling are a source of hope of some kind for the future. That is what this new sense I have acquired as an extension of the space, makes me feel. And so finally I would like to speak to you through a sense you don’t possess:

5. A Sense You Don’t Possess Speaks to You:
We have our senses to keep us grounded in space. But this new sense will suddenly reach your body from a far away place. This sense does not only belong to you. You share it with others. Through-out your life this sense will help you meet new people. You are free to experience it. You could also act as if this sense weren’t there. Unless your curiosity gets the better of you, and you want to go there...

6. The Voice of the Space: In your new life, where nothing is like it used to be, at an unexpected moment here I am, before you. In fact I was always here, perhaps as a space, or as a human being, a sense, or an energy. Now it is for you to decide what to do with me. It may be a long journey, but you will discover it. I mean, you will discover me.