In these last weeks, the East Side Gallery debate has bombarded my mind with contradictory thoughts, blurring even more my approach to German National image. Berliners are protesting in the street against capitalism, fighting to keep intact what remains of almost thirty years of a history of separation, violence, and oppression. Isn’t it paradoxical? Those people, who had been fighting in 1989 to tear down the infamous Berlin wall, are now fighting to keep it up. What once was a victory, has now turned into an international tragedy.
The reason for all this anger lays in the choice to ‘free up’ space for a majestic luxury condominium designed by some rich men in shirt and tie. Instead of questioning the validity of the reason, and demonstrate in favor of the preservation of German culture, I am struggling with all this sudden preoccupation with cultural value and memorialization. Without neglecting the historical relevance of the East Side Gallery and its significance in artistic terms, I am asking myself: How important is ‘memory’ in our society?
Taking a bike ride through Kreuzberg is a wonderful experience. Watching the multitudes of ethnicities creating their own vibe and vivacity in the streets, cafes and bars recharges you with an amazing energy. A place where a bike ride is always recommendable is the Kunstquartier Bethanien situated in an abandoned Hospital at Mariannenplatz. I was asked by Bettery Magazine to write about the multitudes of amazing projects going on in this building. The article series we contributed to was dedicated to the topic Recharge Berlin with Design. I choose to write about Bethanien because I can see how this wonderful exterior and interior foster creativity day by day and it shows how well historic sites can be used. Read more about it here. I also recommend the article by our dear friend Simone from Frizzi Frizzi about the Photoautomat. Thanks to Bettery Magazine for the opportunity to contribute.
On Valentine’s Day it is all about marketing. And actually sometimes I have the feeling love itself is all about marketing. But for once I think some people are using the hype all over Valentine’s Day for marketing love itself. In a very poetic way two humans are confessing their love in front the whole world in this beautiful video which was released last week. Federico and Stefano are a couple for over 11 years now and they will finally marry on the today in New York. Not because they love this city so much, but because they can’t do it in the city they found, loved each other and live together: Torino in Italy.
But this video not only promotes gay marriage for its obvious causes. It shows that it can be so simple to touch everyone around you just by telling your story. And perhaps by telling stories people will start to listen. Listen to their heart and make laws with the heart, too. Watch this heartbreaking video after the jump.
Berlin is a slut! We knew that already. But what I recently found out is that even the one thing that Berlin is most famous for is not free of prostitution: Parties.
In this city there are three kinds of party people. The ones who can have fun for (almost) free, those who have to spend at least 300 Euro a night to even start to feel a little fun and excitment and the ones who get paid for having fun in the right place at the right time. If you are interested to learn more about the last group I mentioned follow me after the jump.
sculptures by Thomas Doyle
Cities are like relationships. You know when things are serious or just an affair. You just feel it. With me and Berlin it is quite serious. We are together for 8 years now and as with relationships after a while when things got serious there is a strange pressure building up. In former times it would mean marriage, moving in together and getting kids. Well, getting pregnant from Berlin sounds like a creepy science fiction movie. But it would probably be a funny one.
Getting to the point: becoming serious with a city equals buying a house or an apartment there. And just like in an old movie my family asked me lately: “Now, you and Berlin. Seems to be really serious! Do’t you want to settle down together, buy a house?”
There are logical processes selecting arguments that would speak for it. But just as with marriage: if the heart screams “NO!”, there is nothing you can do. Why I said no and more ideas about relationships and cities after the jump.
photo: Oliver Rath
A public transport vehicle is designed by the “1/3 and 2/3 principle”. This means that at maximum load one third of the passengers can sit and two-thirds have to stand. This strange economy behind the seating system may reflect a hidden social order that is communicated to the passengers. Is this perhaps the reason why more and more people have lost the respect for the subway in Berlin? I guess so, because it seems a widespread desease I call Ubahntipathy is emerging in the population these days. Reflections on this new epidemic of urban mobility and a movie recommendation in the German Version of this article (click on “Weiterlesen”).
photos: Oliver Rath
Last night I had a friendly party smalltalk with a woman who is writing her thesis about vagina design. She informed me about the cultural implications of plastic surgery down under and about the latest trends of vagina aesthetics (not the biggest expert in the matter). You can read some of her ideas in the article she wrote for the Berlin newspaper Der Freitag.
What I found quite interesting is that a vagina plastic surgery could cause infertility and definitely more pain and problems during pregnancy. Interesting because a designed vagina may improve your sex life (really???) but not your procreation. Beauty trends that work against procreation are something I am really interested in. Is the prettiest cunt the one getting the most love and attention and from a Darwinist point of view has the biggest chance of survival? Why I think that might be true for Beverly Hills but definitely not for Berlin, where beauty always has something to do with destruction, after the jump.
Saturday night the sky fell down over Berlin. Protected under the awning of a falafel place at Rosa-Luxemburger-Platz we watched the quite impressive natural spectacle. In front of us a wall of water and behind us the smell of oil and men sweat. Unable and somehow unwilling to leave this strange prison I became the secret voyeur and photographer of people running through the urban ocean. Electric lights reflecting infinite times in the falling drops and the thousands of puddles on the streets. Some questions kept me awake the rest of the night. Why did all the people passing by run as if they were running for their life? Why didn’t any of them just accepted the fact that they will become wet and walked around normally? Were they running to arrive at home as early as possible? Did they search for a safe place? Or were they just running because if it rains you have to run? Running in the rain: a rational or an emotional thing to do? A pleasure or a casualty? Are we trying to flee the wet mass, or are we enjoying it and hoping it will never end? Are we running in or from the rain? Sometimes there are no answers. You just have to wait! The rain is over and you go home as if nothing happened.
People running from/in the rain after the jump.
If you ask many people in this city, nothing exists in the North from Berlin. They are already suffering under the Nordic weather that we have here and would never even in case of an emergency want to go further North. Coming from the South I was always fascinated by the North. It could be that there are some viking and rural fantasies playing a role there. When I visited Sweden last week I was kind of surprised how quiet and idyllic the whole scenario is. A bunch of bloggers and me where chosen to discover Goeteborg and Stockholm. Some new discoveries from the land of delicious cinamon rolls from a Berlin perspective and some photographic impressions afte the jump.
In cities such as Berlin and Buenos Aires the best way to get around town is by bike. I love biking! Especially in Spring and Summer this is so much better then going by subway (long waits for the train) or car (endless search for a parking space). Here in Berlin most points of interest are so easy to reach by bike, the streets are not so steep and the traffic is relatively safe.
In Buenos Aires it’s almost the same, you only have longer distances, which is one disadvantage of bikes. If you go for more than 20 minutes you might arrive a little sweaty. That’s why I find the idea of an electrical bike incredibly practical. smart has developed such a bike and with their Facebook App I LIKE EBIKE you can get the chance to win their brand new smart ebike. With it you can easily take longer trips, for instance to Teufelsberg, Spreewald or the nearby lakes of Berlin. And in Buenos Aires I would be able to go from San Telmo to Palermo without being completely breathless when I arrive. Find out how to win the bike after the jump along with some impressions of bikes in Berlin and Buenos Aires.