Christmas: the time of year, when buying, consuming and eating reaches the frequency of breathing; all this accompanied by an often neglected essence of religion in the background. It is the time of year, when you look back at the last twelve months of your life thinking how many of last year’s resolutions you failed to achieve and set a new array of brand new unrealistic goals. On a more positive note, Christmas is the time of year, when you are surrounded by your loved ones exchanging gifts and appreciating having them in your life. If you are still contemplating what to get them this year, check out the following suggestions of presents, that are all made in Berlin and neatly curated by the awesome of berlin platform for stylish local design products that make excellent gifts and Berlin souvenirs.
photos: Sascha Kohlmann / CC
There are these times – especially when adulthood seems to be overwhelming and I am supposed to pretend to be an adult among others who are trying to fake it until they make it -, when I reminisce the old days, when I was a child unaware of the grown-up world and its tedious complexity; when my deepest frustration would revolve around my aversion to the lunch my dad had prepared for me that day and my biggest joy would be Santa’s advent with his presents. I am inclined to believe that it is a universal tendency to look back at the past with nostalgia and think how beautiful it all was back then. This kind of nostalgia is the feeling that takes over when I see Sascha Kohlmann’s pictures of old gumball machines. I automatically have to think of my mom bringing me home after kindergarten and me stopping her on the way to ask her if I could have a gumball, which back then meant the world to me. What memories do gumball machines bring up to you?
We’ve already mentioned Ashkan Sahihi as the author of the captivating and personal portrait series of women in Berlin. Born in 1963 in Teheran, the photographer grew up in Germany, and today he lives in Berlin, shooting pictures for publications like “Zeit Magazine”, “New Yorker”, and “Vogue”.
His most recent project, however, references to the time back in 1987 when the author, still pursuing his artistic identity, moved to New York. There, as he recalls in the foreword of the new photo book, he met other young men, like him searching for their own ways of fulfillment, forming a community that encouraged all forms of self-exploration.
The profession of the photographer has changed dramatically with the rise of digital photography and especially with smartphone cameras documenting our everyday life snap by snap. The ability of creating images has become somehow secondary. Nowadays outstanding photographers are rather conceptual artists that know how to translate the medium of photography itself into an outstanding piece of art by deeply analyzing social and anthropological dynamics.
More and more photographers became interested in creating work reflecting social media and especially dating apps where everybody uses photography as an act of self representation and key selling point on the meat market. Photographer Andrea Lavezzaro caught our interest with her project “It’s a match”.
Over a year she scouted Tinder users in Berlin. No matter the shape, size, gender or if they were strange, sexy or surreal. Her focus was on capturing the diversity of our city. Every picture was taken at the location where she met her matches (all aware she was doing a photography project of course). The only rule her subjects had to follow while taking their portrait was: no posing allowed. The results are now featured in an exhibition at Gallery Ori in Neukölln that runs until this Saturday. We had a little chat with Andrea about her project and how it will continue in the future. Read on after the jump.
Hallesches Tor, 1894, photo: Robert Prager
On iHeartBerlin, we’ve already put forward arguments for claims like Berlin is a Psycho and so on, but today, I’d like to tell you for once what Berlin is not, although I might have thrown some such accusations in the past. Berlin is not a liar. Or at least Kreuzberg isn’t.
Leaving the dubious honesty of its inhabitants aside, Kreuzberg stays steadfast and true. I’ve checked. And now you can, too. Have you ever wondered why does the U1 like to trick us into believing we’d be seeing some gates (“Tor” in German)? And then you get out on Kotti and what you actually see (and smell) is so different from the Brandenburger Tor you even doubt you’re still in the same city.
We’ve found pictures from the turn of the 19th century, so before Kreuzberg was even Kreuzberg. It was officially formed on 1 October 1920 by the Greater Berlin Act, which reorganized Berlin into 20 boroughs.
photos: Marcello Zerletti
We speak so much about the diverse population of Berlin that comes together here from all over the world. At the same time we have often neglected to give some of those inhabitants of the city some attention that have been living here much longer than we do. And I’m not talking about the Urberliner, I’m talking about the wildlife of Berlin that despite the urbanization of Men still secretly coexists here with us thanks to the fact that Berlin kept a lot of green spaces inside the city.
So without noticing us we are surrounded by cute fluffy creatures that live in the park behind the block, the overgrown piece of land next to the trail tracks or the gigantic Tiergarten. There we have fox families, squirrels, rabbits, hedgehogs and other kind of little critters; and of course lots of birds, the expats of wildlife. Of course most of these animals are quite shy, only come out during night or keep to the quieter parts of town away from human life. But if you have patience and know a little bit about their behavior you will get to see them.
Autumn: the time of the year, when everything goes back into place; most people are back from their holidays in their “normal” life with all the responsibilities and struggles that come along with it. This change or rather transition is also reflected in the weather: temperatures decrease a bit but not to the point of forcing you to resemble an eskimo and the atmosphere is imbued with an impeccable nostalgia for the end of the Summer and all that you experienced in combination with a curiosity and motivation to see how your upcoming plans and life will develop.
Nature plays along having her countless leaves in beautiful, earthy colors that decorate the soulless concrete of the streets and pavements as well as parks. Although it does not fulfill the criteria of nice weather Autumn really does capture nature’s alternative beauty.
photo: Sebastian Mayer
Three photographers, three decades, three visions – that is the subtitle to a photo series about Berlin that brings back memories of its wildest times, subculture and underground scenes. Berlin is a city that is dynamic, fast and constantly changing. These photos are testaments to a rebellious and fascinating past.
From the 7th until the 16th of October the Festival of Lights is taking place in Berlin transforming some of Berlin’s most iconic buildings with the magic of illumination and projections. The festival has come a long way over the years including more and more buildings and bringing more international visual artists to town. Even though the light spectacle is a little bit outside the array of things that we would feature here on the blog normally I can’t help but be impressed as well by some of the projections that you get to see (and not so much by others). To see one giant panda spaceman projected onto the Berliner Dom is simply powerful and fun to watch. It reminds me of all the huge murals that are popping up over the city. I like to see this kind of larger-than-life artworks and I wish there was more of it. After the jump some of my favorite light works from the festival.
Last Saturday night, a very special party took place to celebrate the launch of Absolut’s new limited edition called Absolut Facet. The new bottle with its mesmerizing polygon surface and its piercing cobalt blue color that was positioned right at the entrance cleverly foreshadowed what this event would be about: The diverse and unexpected facets of the night. The venue for the spectacle was the dark corridor of the basement of the Alte Münze which was built almost a century ago and used to be Berlin’s State Mint. Abandoned and forgotten for a long time the place has been used for all sorts of happenings for the past couple of years, more recently also for those kind of club nights that celebrate the liberal and free-spirited side of Berlin’s nightlife.
Being at the the Absolut Facet launch now, it was pretty astonishing to see the location under totally different circumstances. The atmosphere was filled with curiosity and excitement about the various art installations that were so diligently constructed and perfectly integrated into the raw, industrial corners of the former coin factory, that would leave me wondering if they had been there all along.