photos by Tang Yi and Jacob Schickler
Some people need to travel far to make different memories all over the world. I sometimes just need to travel inside the inner ring of Berlin to collect the same amount of crazy experiences somebody could get from a trip to another continent. And there is a simple reason for that: the Berlin inhabitants are a bunch of curious people, traveling the world and exploring different cultures and bringing their findings back to our city to share it with the other Berliners.
To make an example: I have never been to China and still I got the chance to discover the variety and sophistication of Chinese cuisine right in the middle of Berlin. This happened more by coincidence than by choice. My friend Jacob Schickler who used to live in China for many years started a pop-up restaurant called That Woo together with Yuhang Wu, originally from China but professionally trained chef as a Chef in Germany.
What happens when over 100 artists take over an empty office building in Berlin? One of the biggest urban art exhibitions Berlin has ever seen! The Haus opens its doors to the public on April 1st in West-Berlin and we had a chance to take a sneak peek of what to expect. What we saw was an insanely diverse spectrum of urban art from artists and creatives from all over the world. Everyone could take over an entire room and do whatever they want – every single artwork is totally site-specific and unique. You’ll see people like Herakut, Case Maclaim, Klebebande, Vidam, Rocco & Seine Brüder, El Bocho, Die Dixons and so many more.
The exhibition is accompanied by a photo book that documents all the process and shows all the artworks that you will find in the Haus. It’s a great way to take home a piece from this amazing project. After the exhibition is over the building will be torn down with every single piece of artwork still inside making them mortal just like street art itself. Enjoy a little preview of the exhibition below.
photo: Axel Kuhlmann / CC
Berlin is the capital city of flea markets and visiting these iconic institutions is a great way of spending a couple of hours of your weekend (singles watch out: there is a strong possibility of starting a flirt with a handsome stranger at the innumerous stalls) but as I walk along the Spree towards my first destination, the Arena Indoor Flea Market, feelings of smallness start to unsettle. In fact, I could not have chosen a worse day to venture out into flea markets – it is freezing cold, bloody foggy and there is mud everywhere due to the melting snow and I cannot stop thinking to myself that only a strike of luck will prevent me from slipping and falling into the river. It would not be the first time…
Aleksandar Duravcevic, ”Another Winter” at König Galerie
The temperature is finally albeit still timidly encouraging us to get out into the streets – and if it’s not your first spring in Berlin, you know there’s more to enjoy than the lighthearted routine of acquiring some refreshments at a Spati and draining them in some lovely nature setting. It goes without saying that you can experience art (from murals to street buskers and beyond) in virtually every corner of this fine town, but Berlin is home to many galleries as well, most of which are free of charge! Get your creative juices flowing with the iHeartBerlin guide to the spring exhibition highlights!
As some of you might have noticed last month I was a bit absent from the blog and those of you who also follow me on Instagram saw that I was traveling through South-East-Asia in February. I normally don’t really share much of my traveling outside of Berlin here because I figure this is not something you are really looking for here on iHeart. But this one story and photo series that I made in Bagan, Myanmar is just too special not to share it…
During the Second World War, not only the Berlin Zoo but also other zoos across Germany such as the Zoologischen Garten in Düsseldorf and the Dresden Zoo were severely bombed and consequently destroyed. Despite years of existence and many promises of evacuation this did not happen and the animals were not spared. Many died due to injuries and mistreatment or due to hunger, poisoning or thirst and some of the few survivors that were left were put to use in an effort to rebuild what was destroyed, such as the elephants at the Hamburg Zoo. Nonetheless, some of the large and potentially dangerous animals such as panthers, jaguars and gorillas who managed to escape the unfolding inferno had to be chased down the streets and shot dead. It was hellish. In the Berlin Zoo only 91 of almost 4000 animals remained alive by the War’s end, including two lions, two hyenas, an Asian bull elephant, a hippo bull, ten hamadryad’s baboons, a chimpanzee, and a black stork. Here are two examples…
Today I stumbled across a cool breakdance video that was shot in an abandoned place in the outskirts of Berlin. I’m not 100% sure which place it is, but my guess is Beelitz Asylum. I do recognize the artist though, it’s Plotbot who has such a distinct style. You can actually find his amazing artwork in quite a few of the abandoned places of Berlin.
But coming back to the video, it shows a dreadlocked dancer performing a blend of contemporary and breakdance in the staircase of this old sanatorium accompanied by a pretty cool beat. I like how his style, the dance, the place and the music come together here quite nicely. And it helps that his outfit kinda flies off at some point, hehe. But have a look for yourself and let me know if you recognize the place…
There she is. A lantern burning all alone. In the quietness of a Spring night in Berlin Kreuzberg. Nobody is walking around, because it is still too cold to go for a walk at night. It’s not night anymore, still it’s not day yet either. But the brightest light is without any doubt the lantern itself. Flickering like a friendly fireplace without looking damaged or vandalized at all.
This weird setting is somehow quite explanatory for the work of video artist Johannes Vogl. The Berlin-based artist creates sculptures with everyday objects and often thermodynamic manipulation. His had a bit of a viral hit on big platforms like Nowness with a video showing a burning swing.
But for me personally the burning lantern is my favorite one. Not because it is so charismatically situated at the 3-Länder-Eck where the canals of the river Spree of Treptow, Kreuzberg and Neukölln meet. It’s more the meditative and ghostly surreal effect that this video has on me that made me want to write about it. See for yourself. The burning lantern and a couple more videos by Johannes Vogl, after the jump.
Piotr Nathan, The Rituals of Disappearance, Berghain, Berlin (2004), photo: © Christine Frenzl
A visual memory can be triggered over and over again by art and architecture. Therefore it is like saying goodbye to one part of your own history when a building or an artwork has to leave its original place. This morning the news spread out that the artwork by Piotr Nathan which is presented in the entrance hall of Berghain will be sold piece by piece on this website.
First I was kind of sad, about the fact that I will not see the entire artwork in the original form again. I remember seeing it over 10 years ago for the first time and being impressed by the fine lines creating the landscape and storms. The artwork is like a mysterious representation of a natural phenomena. Nature that was regarded as divinity in indigenous times and that loved and feared by the little humans at the same time.
The Rituals of Disappearance (2004) have nowadays such a cult-status that it probably won’t last long until its completely sold out (in fact only an hour after its release only a few blank plates were left to buy). The artist prefers to sell it in fragments to the people who have experienced and loved the club, and wants those who danced near the mural to have a part of it. The lasting impression of the complete work should exist only in the minds of those who experienced it at the club. A memory to keep up in mind and cherish for its beauty and brutality at the same time.
And since life ist fortunately not just about old memories let’s be excited about the new dance floor and what artworks will be presented there…
Hurrah! Spring has sprung! And you know what this means: Outdoor locations are becoming a thing again!
No more standing under heating lamps, clutching to your thick coats. The last fluff of your scarves is scaling off your necks and many heads turn to other people again. With every raising degree, the core areas of the capital shift from inside to outside.
Berlin awakens in Spring. And along with it the people, the cafes, restaurants, urban parks and festivals are returning from their winter hideout. How we’ve missed the many opportunities to enjoy life under the clear sky. With Spring, all these possibilities are back!
And even better, we compiled a list of activities and locations that are back from winter hiatus and open again for you to enjoy. See them right after the jump.