Last week, we had the absolute pleasure to co-present the first IRL Voguing Ball in Berlin since the lockdown. It was hosted by the charming David Milan who already gave us the big Pride Ball and Ocean Ball last year that we also covered. The venue was once again the Säälchen at Holzmarkt – it’s just the perfect venue for a ball of this size!
The theme of this ball was Superheroes which was without a doubt the most specific and playful theme of the series. Of course there were a lot of classic superheroes and villains such as Spiderman and Catwoman. But the call for participation asked people to be creative, so you could also see everyday heroes such as nurses, single moms, activists – we even saw the first trans presidential candidate there.
As we are still living in a pandemic the circumstance for the event was quite different: Usually, over 1000 people show up for these balls, but to comply with the current legal safety measures this time only the participants and a few fellow house members were allowed into the venue. The usual spectators were able to watch a professional live stream of the ball either from the comfort of their homes or at the public viewing at Neuzeit Ost in collaboration with Mobile Kino. The required distancing and face mask rules also had to be respected, which was hard during the performances when the energy of the voguers was taking over, but I think the crowd did a fairly good job at complying.
It was a great ball, with a lot of stunning performances, great international participants, and a powerful audience. Of course, we took some impressions for you which you can enjoy below!
A luscious jungle without any tourists in it? An empty underground train wagon and a super high up rooftop without any spectators? Yes, these places really are in Berlin and not part of a dystopian fantasy. And they are waiting for you to take your picture with them!
Leipziger Platz, the little brother of Potsdamer Platz, now has a new attraction to show off – the Studio of Wonders. The Selfie Paradise follows in the footsteps of a new wave of Selfie Galleries that have emerged as an ongoing trend worldwide. Born from Instagram’s ideal to constantly deliver new exciting photographs to show off to an online audience, the Studio of Wonders helps his curious visitors to create new content with 20 different dreamy and unusual scenes on 500 spacious square meters.
photos: Red Rubber Road.
Today we want to share a photo series with you, that is a bit of the opposite of our Finally Together Again series from yesterday that celebrated a physical togetherness and how meaningful it can be in these trying times. What was possible for our team where all members live in Berlin, is not the same for those collaborators, friends, families, lovers that don’t live in the same country during the pandemic. The artist duo AnaHell and Nathalie Dreier where one of those that were separated by the quarantine measures of different countries. We published their Quarantine series at the beginning of the lockdown and it really hit a nerve. That series was actually produced way before in another context, but it perfectly captured the bizarre atmosphere of the early stages of the pandemic measures.
photos: Lovis Ostenrik.
What an unusual time it has been. I feel excited and uneasy, that we can with absolute certainty say, that this year has truly not been like any other year of our lives. Staying inside and not being able to see our friends and family for an uncertain amount of time was a tough new challenge.
Never before have I missed human connection as deeply as I have during these past months. I can’t imagine the consequences this will have on human interaction for years to come. To now be able to finally meet people again actually brings my heart rate up. It made me realize how important a sense of togetherness is, more than I ever thought possible.
photos: Aja Jacques.
While the pandemic and the lockdown have been pretty devastating for artists and creative professionals economically, they certainly have not been lacking in being an inspiration. In the last weeks, we received quite wonderful submissions from photographers and artists all dealing with the different aspects of the pandemic and how they influence our life, among them the Stay At Home series, the corona comics, and a curious techno song. The latest project we want to introduce you to today is dealing specifically with one of the measures to contain the spread of the virus: social distancing.
Aja Jacques is one of the artists from our Uncensored Berlin exhibition that we hosted back in 2018 and that dealt with censorship of artists through social media platforms. Aja was not only one of our muses acting as a model for several of our photographers, but she also exhibited her own photos. Her new project “At A Distance” is a series of analog nude self-portraits she took with several fellow Berliners in prominent public places – at a safe distance of two meters. We talked with her about the series and about how the quarantine has been for her so far.
photos: Kseniya Apresyan.
This photography series by Kseniya Apresyan showcases one characteristic Berlin is a paragon of – the freedom that for many is almost synonymous with the city’s kinky nightlife. But don’t expect sneaky snapshots from the dancefloor – this project brings the partygoers back into reality, creating intriguing images of their respective lifestyles.
photos: Lovis Ostenrik.
These last couple of weeks it became almost a mantra: Stay at home! Angela Merkel said it, viral expert Drosten said it, your mom said it, we said it. It’s in everyone’s ears, and in everyone’s mouths.
But what does “staying at home” mean for everybody? It’s certainly not the same for everyone. If you’re living alone in a dark studio apartment in the backyard it can certainly start to feel claustrophobic at some point. But if you’re lucky to live in a big bright Altbau with balcony (or even better: a garden) together with loved ones, it can also be pretty ok in the end. No matter if it’s a big sacrifice or just a small one, the importance as one of the most significant measures to battle this pandemic cannot be denied.
photos: Roger Sabaté.
What a fucking rollercoaster ride. I’m sure most of you will agree that the last 3 weeks have been some of the most intense ones we’ve all lived through. It’s hardly an exaggeration that what’s happening right now is the biggest shared global experience since… ever? I don’t even think the world wars actually immediately effected every single country in the world as this pandemic does. And I guess even previous outbreaks didn’t reach as far and as fast because back then the world was just much less connected than it is now.
But while it’s crazy outside in the world, what most people are really experiencing right now is actually happening on a much smaller landscape. For us, everything’s going down now in our own four walls. And unless you are still working and have not been confined to the home office, the longest way you walk from there is probably the small number of blocks you have to pass to reach your nearest supermarket. Our world feels like it shrunk remarkably.
photos: Robert Kleinfeld.
Berlin is a city, that is always busy, day and night. Usually. Of course, right now is an exception. These are unusual times. Even though most of us are confined to our homes, some of us still have a duty to keep on going outside to work.
Photojournalist Robert Kleinfeld is one of them. On the height of the Berliner’s discipline to stay insight he took to the streets to capture an empty city, empty subways, empty streets. It looks pretty much like the set for a dystopian movie where most of humankind has vanished. Only a few lonely souls left. It has such an eerie vibe that we never would have expected to see our beloved colorful Berlin in.
We don’t want to dwell too much on the situation. I think the last couple of weeks have given us plenty to worry and think about. But things will improve, we know it. Maybe not as soon as we hope, maybe not within a day. But soon enough. Let these captured moments of a deserted Berlin be a reminder of how fragile our world actually is, and that we can’t take the smallest things for granted.
photos: Red Rubber Road.
One of our Uncensored Berlin artist duos has come out with a photo series that could not be more fitting for our current situation. It was actually done years before the pandemic and is part of the ongoing project Red Rubber Road by photographers AnaHell and Nathalie Dreier.
Back in 2018 Ana suffered from a serious illness and was kept in quarantine in the infectious disease isolation ward at the military hospital in Berlin for several weeks. Visitors had to wear protective gear which created quite the nightmarish atmosphere. This also inspired the idea to continue their Red Rubber Road series right there in the isolation ward on one of Nathalie’s visits. The staged self-portraits have a quite playful and humorous vibe which helped them to lighten up the oppressive mood.
The artists decided to release the series in light of the current situation to show the optimism that creativity can provide during moments of disease and isolation.