Can a city have imaginary secret friends? Maybe not every city, but Berlin is different in my opinion. Our dear Berlin gets run over by so many kooky inhabitants – why shouldn’t it have some nice imaginary friends to cope with all the mess going on? At least that was the idea of multimedia artist and photographer AnaHell when she came to our beloved city. In her childhood she invented weird but lovely friends to spend her time with and play. Imaginary creatures with little secret stories to live all kind of adventures with. Fortunately for us, AnaHell did not forget about her childhood fantasy and recreated it with the photo series Secret Friends, a playful narration of this story. Documenting a parallel reality of bent-over humans, which form a new creature that share our world but cannot be seen by us ordinary humans. With the Berlin series of Secret Friends she wants to show different aspects of life in a our city, from the clichés to real people in their homes doing what they normally do.
I am totally in love with the concept and the realization of this playful idea. I guess we should all search once in a while after our imaginary secret friends from our childhood. Maybe they are just sitting next to you in the U-Bahn or waiting in line with you at Berghain. What I want to say is that we should be open for the wonder and for the surprise that can come by reactivating our childhood fantasy. Berlin especially is a place that rewards this kind of openness with a charming magic, you won’t find anywhere else. More Secret Friends by AnaHell after the jump.
I don’t know why, but in the last week I have seen so many postings on Facebook complaining about the struggle of going to the Bürgeramt (registry office / citizen center) that I felt it was such perfect timing when illustrator Sophia Halamoda sent us her latest comic: A guide on how to get an appointment at the dreaded office. Her illustrated guide on how to get into Berghain was such a huge success a couple of weeks ago that it makes a lot of sense she would do another one of the one place that is apparently even harder to get into than the infamous techno cathedral. In her guide, she once again pokes fun at all the little urban myths and cliches surrounding this special temple of German bureaucracy. Mixed in with a lot of typical bad experiences and classic missteps, she also gives some helpful advice that might make your next visit more successful Enjoy her witty new guide after the jump.
The Berlin-based illustrator is at it again! You might know him from his iconic Berghain and nightlife illustrations that we totally fell in love with – so much, in fact, that we dedicated a whole exhibition in his honor, for which he created his biggest and most elaborate illustration to date. In his latest set of illustrations he pays tribute to the late David Bowie – a character so full of inspiration and creativity that he has influenced not only musicians and performers, but all kinds of artists all over the world. In the two new works by Nicola you can see two of Bowie’s most iconic looks: The Kansai Yamamoto outfit from the Aladdin Sane era that was inspired by Oscar Schlemmers Triadic Ballet, and the turquoise suit from the Ziggy Stardust era.
photos: Keith Telfeyan
Hamburger Bahnhof is perhaps Berlin’s best space to see contemporary art. When friends or family visit from out of town, this is the perfect contrast to the more traditional offerings on Museum Island, and there always seems to be an interesting event happening there, making it a regular spot for local friends as well. The permanent collection is world class, and the architecture is uniquely awesome – it is indeed a former train station, and the museum designers did well to convert the halls and long corridor into a sort of shrine for big ideas and creative feelings.
illustrations: Martin Schwartz
Today we want to present to you a new set of wonderful Berlin illustrations that we discovered. They come from the talented Danish graphic designer and illustrator Martin Schwartz, who specializes in architecture, animals and maps. We love his clean and vivid style, and his city portfolio is just amazing! For Berlin he created collages with the most significant and beautiful buildings, which give a wonderful impression of the city. We love his district pieces of Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Charlottenburg because they beautifully highlight the landmark architecture of these areas, and mix them with more ordinary buildings that we might otherwise overlook but that still shape the image of the district.
In his portfolio you will also find other cities such as New York, his base Copenhagen and Aarhus. You can get prints of his awesome city and animal illustrations over at Junique. The Berlin pieces after the jump.
photos: Yan Revazov
Can contemporary ballet express a clear political message? How to express clear opinions of the status quo with such an abstract art form as dance? It might be a crazy challenge, but I am very glad that the new director of the Staatsballet Berlin Nacho Duato is once again going on a creative journey with the dance company to create impact on society and culture with his new piece “Herrumbre”. With it, he tries to elaborate on his own experience of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid. Nacho Duato lived only a few hundred meters away from one of the four bombing locations. 2004 was also the year in which photos of tortured prisoners from the US prison camp Guantanamo went around the world.
Under these impressions, Duato decided to create a new work based on his experience with terror. In his choreography he wants to show the pain caused by terrorism and the brutality of war. With disturbing images of brutal humiliation, he wants to make us explore the darkness of our times. At the same time, he also wants his production to be a call for the respect of human dignity. After the jump we show you intimate images of the rehearsals. We are also giving away tickets for the upcoming shows.
photo: mompl / CC
Visitors to Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt had the chance to witness quite a spectacular event this past weekend. World-renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who recently set up his base in Berlin, transformed the columns of the Konzerthaus into pillars for refugee attention by covering them with thousands of orange life vests that had been stranded on the beach of the island Lesbos. The installation is part of the film gala “Cinema for Peace” that is happening today (February 15, 2016) and will be on site until the Tuesday after. It’s a rare opportunity to see a sight-specific artwork by Ai Weiwei in Berlin, so you should definitely go see it live if you can.
With the installation, the activist and artist wants to draw attention to the horrible suffering that refugees have to go through when escaping from the devastating situations in their home countries. It’s impressive and deeply moving – a bitter but necessary reminder of what is still going on every day not so far from the safety of our own homes.
If Berlin were the solar system, Berghain would be the sun for a looooot of people. Some days it seems like everything and everybody is circulating around this place. Throughout the weekend and sometimes on Mondays, I see tons of people wandering through Friedrichshain and over Warschauer Straße, magnetically drawn to Berghain. And as mythical as the place is, as various are the myths of how to get in. In various Italian blogs I read absurd guides on how to be let in by Sven and co. One of the most common (and silly) assumptions is that you have to look gay to get in. But there are many more false assumptions about what the doormen of Berghain like and what they don’t.
A very funny and unique clarification of the myths out there is this cute guide created by talented illustrator Sophia Halamoda. In 28 drawings she presents her own tongue-in-cheek wisdom of how entering Berghain works. Enjoy the hilarious illustrations after the jump.
This week the impressive Kraftwerk Berlin is showing an lazer and sound installation by Christopher Bauder and Robert Henke as part of the CTM Festival 2016. Deep Web is a moving, luminous architectural structure that weaves 175 motorized spheres and 12 high power laser systems into a 25 meter wide and 10 meter high sculpture of light and sound. It’s a really immersive experience to see it and a total must-see. It’s still open daily until Sunday, February 7, 2016. The video after the jump gives you a good impression, but you really have to see it live!
The dancing confetti girls first crossed our paths in Paris and London – but ever since they seem to have followed us back home to Berlin. There is a lot of street art in Berlin, but these girls who are often accompanied by the slogan It’s time to dance do stand out to us. Why? Because we feel them so very deeply and they represent an important part of Berlin: Dancing, moving, being free, wild and partying. And the best parties obviously need a lot of confetti.
The different confetti covered pastings of the dancing girls were created by the French street artist SOBR and even though his project ‘It’s time to dance’ has been going on for a while and it seems like he hasn’t made new ones for a while, a lot of the enthusiastic dancers are still around. Pay attention, once you’ve spotted the dancing girls, they will follow you around town. Here are the girls, we found while strolling around our neighborhood…