Urban Experience Narratives in Istanbul Ordu Street in the Context of Jean Baudrillard’s Simulation Theory

Ordu Caddesi’nde Kentsel Deneyim Anlatılar


  • Kübra Bıyuk Öksüz




Simulation theory, simulacra, code, remnant, urban experience


In the study, in the context of Baudrillard’s simulation theory, which he constructed to explain the dilemma of modern societies; a series of experiences from the urban environment are conveyed. Baudrillard, who calls the age we live in as the simulation universe, defends that this universe is passed through with the loss of the reality principle. According to Baudrillard’s theory, modern societies that have abandoned the reality principle, exist in a world of a simulation replaced by realities. Simulation, according to Baudrillard, is the derivation of an origin or a reality devoid of actuality by using models. The problem of the study is to discuss the simultaneous existence of reality and simulation through the situations produced by societies that are modern in some ways and modernizing in others, and to trace urban realities within the simulation system. Within the framework of this problem, the aim of the study is to find the equivalents of simulation theory through urban spaces in Istanbul through Ordu Street, located at the intersection of Laleli and Beyazit, one of the centers that best reflects the historical, modern, layered and ambiguous state of Istanbul. The study is a qualitative study based on the experience of walking. In this context; the positions between the simulation system codes and the remnants of reality of the situations that make the walking experience discontinuous in the area opened for discussion have been transformed into narratives. The narratives are defined through economic, historical and ambiguous discontinuities, which are the main constitutive elements of Ordu Street. These three groups, codes and remnants, and reality and simulation relations were sought. Baudrillard contends that the simulation system codes preserve the dominant order in modern societies that have moved into a world without referents, in other words, a realm of simulation. The only way to be successful in the realm of simulation is to possess a model, in other words, a code system. However, when discussing the destruction of reality, the notion that nothing would remain if everything was taken is incorrect. Despite the codes of the simulation realm’s models, the remnants include (or attempt to include) another order of reality in the simulation realm by staying outside the system. Turkey is situated at the crossroads of modern civilization, non-modernized society, and even primitive society. In the study, the traces of these links, which manifest themselves in a variety of patterns in the example of Ordu Street, which is formed by the existence of codes and remnants forming this in-betweenness, are investigated. The economic, historical, and ambiguous discontinuities in Ordu Street are examined in the following context, with the guidance of codes and remnants: With the economic discontinuity in the area, the narratives were conveyed through the area’s economic discontinuities and the economic system, which is the fundamental structural system of Ordu Street. Hence, the economic differences between the capitalist and primitive systems have been discussed. With the historical discontinuity in the area, the relationship between the remnants of today’s reality of the historical stratification in the area and the simulation codes, based on the historical identity of Ordu Street is discussed. With the ambiguous discontinuities in the region, the narratives are formed that briefly break the walking experience, is distinct from the economic and historical qualities of Ordu Street, and build connections with daily and social events. These narratives were also transmitted based on the code and remnants.

As a result of the study, it was understood that although it is not yet a fully modern society, the field can produce infinite simulacra with simulation system codes. It has been observed that the codes of consumption society are used that are applied by modern societies and hyperrealities are constructed with different means, such as media. Contrastingly, the continuation of relationships such as “shuttle-trade,” which is examined in the name of economic discontinuities that create location-specific consumption relations without utilizing the model codes created by the consumption society in the simulation universe, demonstrates that location-based realities can be created. In the study, no attempts are made to escape the simulation realm. Attempts have been made to highlight uncoded situations that are creative and capable of producing future reality by going after the remnants. The existence of the remnants can give a foundation for leaving the simulation realm, but this is contingent on the plurality of the remnants, their compatibility with the context, and the logical attitude of the local. The remnant can offer a distinct perspective on the world.