The dish of the city we call home. The Döner Kebap, much maligned on the shores of GB but here it somehow manages to taste a whole lot better. Vive das Kebap
It is Sunday as this is being typed out, it has been a long weekend of hitting a certain well known club, too many drinks and forms of entertainment, a large amount of Vietnamese food and a fair bit of walking. For this set of fair reasons we keep it like Willow, short and sweet.
A very easy to access and perfect for ticking the ‘let’s go to something abandoned’ box when you have visitors kind of option is the Krankenhaus in Neukölln. There is a caravan at the front which houses someone, who I am not sure who they actually are, if they are security then they are a smidgen on the lackadaisical side of security, like the opposite of the guys at Berghain. So in terms of difficulty rating for getting in or being kicked out, it is an F, and that is only because there are some low fences.
Some info… in short hand of course…..
– Old hospital created by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia, who was incidentally the last German monarch
– Opened during WWI by a Jewish Doc who was chased out of town by those rather odorous gits the Nazis, Hitler put one of his cronies in charge, the ever so creepy Benno Ottow, a man who also sported the menacing Charlie Chaplin tache.
– The hospital was severely damaged during the wars that followed but was mended and built upon again in ’69 and ’78. For a long while it was the biggest baby factory in the country
– Now it is waiting to be demolished and turned into apartments, this area of Berlin is not going to stay relatively unbuilt upon as it is right on the doorstep of Templehofer Feld. At the moment vagabonds and graf artists hang there, you can even find rooms of men smoking shisha from time to time.
Now what does it look like in there? Well…. usual standard fair, lots of smashed glass and as always the feeling a mass rave should take place here, or a big gay orgy, think big leather bound men, something in the vein of Bruce LaBruce I should coco. Apparently porn has been shot here, we do not know the name of it tho…
The graf is ok in parts, this is mostly outside and around the back where there is some good and colourful stuff, once you get inside it looks like local kids who never had the benefit of seeing Hartbeat with Tony Hart as children and therefore go with a scribble they claim to be a tag.
Sprüth Magers is possibly the fave artistic venue for SF in the whole of Berlin town, there are many others that would be worthy of this shout but today seeing Cyprien Gaillard’s Nightlife, a part of When Nature Runs Riot, basically was the perfect Tuesday tonic.
Berlin has some pretty amazing buildings, some pretty out there ideas have come to life, some I would bet my eye teeth on not being created anywhere else in Germany, let alone the world. Once again Berlin wins for otherworldly weirdness.
England, or more accurately London would have been quite a place to be in the 1960’s, that is no new news. It was like everyone was high as a mo of and delightfully embracing their new found open minded approach to everything. The sex, the drugs, the music, the fashion, the liberation and everyone looked unfathomably cool. England was the don when it came to all things cultural, and one area where big changes and new routes were being taken were in photography, the likes of David Bailey, Don McCullin and Terence Donovan were taking fashion photography to a new place and the world was taking note. The C/O in Berlin, a favourite photography haunt of SF has had a rather delightful exhibition called Blow-Up, from the film by Michelangelo Antonioni. Now at the time of writing SF was not totally au fait with the film but it takes the form of a photographer and his shooting of models and also everyday life in a kind of paparazzo style, the main character is loosely based on all the photographical forerunners of the day, hence the exhibition splices parts of the film with shots from this era.
Being a former Londoner…. the shots of the Eastend were the perfect tonic today on what was a god awful day of hailstones and high winds. Can we have summer soon? We have a small selection here for your viewing but get down there before it shuts on the 8th….
You should have seen the documentary on Miss Vivian Maier already, if not then do so and then you will be compelled to see the photography for yourself.
Vivian Maier was a curious character, very much a lady who pet herself to herself, a woman who looked after children as a job but according to different reports could be a rather cold character. Not a huge amount is known about Maier apart from the accounts of the families she worked for, her secret life as the most prolific street photographer perhaps of all time has only just come to light.
Maier died in 2009 and until then her huge body of work went unseen, until it was bought as a job lot by one fellow who spent hours sifting through the many boxes and realising he had hit upon gold. The exhibition has been around the world and now finds itself in Berlin for a small but perfectly formed retrospective at Will-Brandt-Haus, it is on until 12th April and is free, this is one exhibition to make sure you include in your schedule.
Maier was a curious character but also supremely adept at capturing people out of pose, in their natural environment and while they were not playing up to the camera. The subtly and lighting in her shots create a beautiful depth and story to each shot. The fact that she did not develop any of them, or name them means that these stories are somewhat lost but that adds to the beauty of the exhibition, sometimes you can have too much information.
Maier’s shots span NYC, SF, Chicago plus her travels to France and the Far East, the majority are black and white with some more recent colour versions. Maier was also the true originator of the now much maligned ‘selfie’, but in her technique it looks cool, stripped down and not showy at all. I worded how it would have sat with her to know she was the original selfie dropper…..
There are a million and one photos on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, various blogs and websites, so many that it is not an exaggeration to say this is Berlin’s very worst kept secret in the abandoned bracket. It is no secret. It is more of a secret that Kanye West has something on his mind than it is that this massively beautiful eyesore exists.
Since going to abandoned places in Berlin is pretty much in every guide and actually has become monetised fairly quickly, you can visit this one with zero issue. Basically send an email to these guys, then turn up and pay your Euros and then head in.
Little potted history, the website does it best so I’ll suggest you hit this jump to find out more…
In the beginning….
– 1915 – Bloody great big green space called Grunweld Forrest, lovely and calm, animals, walking, pretty etc.
– 1937 – That bloke Hitler, the one who was a total git, well he ignored the forrest contract from Prussian times and decided this would be a part of his master plan, he wanted this to be the gateway to his ‘New World Capital’. Basically a huge military technical facility, you can only imagine what the tiny tached one had planned.
– 1945 – Hitler gets defeated, but not before the building had started, but what to do with the partially build city….
– 1951 – Berlin had taken a bit of a flaying and there was an awful lot of rubble and debris that needed to be moved from Berlin city and burbs in order to regenerate. A solution was come up with, fill in the planned Hitler military buildings and pile the debris on top. They did so and it reached 115 metres, Basically a man made hill / mini mountain, the plan was for this to become a ski resort of sorts. That didn’t happen, as it the story of Berlin’s recent existence, things just don’t quite happen, maybe they tried to start work on a Monday.
-1963 – Instead of skiing the Americans and the Brits decided to use this as the perfect position to spy on our Ruskie brothers and sisters, to find out if they had any plans for world domination or the like brewing.
Then…. Well a company tried to turn it into a big hotel, that failed thankfully. Now it is owned privately and maintained for the general public to take their cameras to and look around.
Tour is nice, about an hour for 7 Euro with no information and 12 Euro for the more detailed version. You will get to go to the very top, where the views over the largely flat Berlin are spectacular, you can see all the way to the city and the iconic TV Tower is easily spotted on a good day. On top of this there will be a bunch of street artists adding to the array of paint you can shoot, and any budding graf artists can email to apply to paint there themselves, there is plenty of space so long as you don’t mind people shooting you doing it.
Closest station is SBahn Grunewald then you have a walk of about 25 minutes through a forrest.
Anish Kapoor generally is a favourite in the sitting room of chez SF. Basically he does bloody great big sculptures which are beyond the means of mere mortals, both in terms of imagination and cold card cash.
Hi latest piece for Kochi-Muziris Biennale, it is called Descension and is a huge swirling water whirlpool on the floor in a gallery. It looks pretty epic and mesmeric and very Kapoor in a not very Kapoor kind of fashion. If you understand our slightly around the houses logic.
Here is a little video to show you it in all it’s glory… with some ill fitting music
When Kapoor creates these pieces we almost forgive him for the abomination at the London 2012 Olympic stadium…. almost but not quite
This week we spotted something that has been doing the rounds for a long time over the sea and far away in the US of A, but it was started by a Berlin artist in 2010, so it has it’s roots in this here hub of creativity. It is called Dead Drops
Aram Bartholl was living in New York when he came up with an art project to allow people to share ideas, thoughts, texts and images physically and not through the new / old tried and tested route of the interweb.
Aram Bartholl started a movement to place USB sticks in public places, secured with concrete and poly filler for people to access the content on the sticks, leave their own content and to potentially build on others ideas.
The sticks have been placed outside galleries, in subway stations, in deserted street brick walls and anywhere that the public might be able to spot them.
More information on this can be found through this article, we will let you read there.
The idea of art sharing is nothing new and something that we love at SF, collaboration between strangers is quite an interesting idea. To allow another to take on your idea or work and shape it is the perfect way to allow organic growth, a pure kind of progressional collaboration.
There is a Dead Drops website that charts where the USBs are, we are yet to find one in Berlin or even in Germany, indeed it seems Europe has not got fully on the vibe, there is one in good Old Bristol, a couple in Italy and on in France. Maybe a time for SF to start this….
Roof tops should used for pirate radio station ariels (in the 80’s and 90’s), wafty bars to sip over priced gin based cocktails and now wonderous artistic endeavours.
Friend of SF Ben Slow teamed up with Carl Cashman to put this rather spiffing piece of aesthetic eye candy on the roof of Jealous gallery in London.