Berlin C/O – Blow Up – The Swinging 60’s Influence

Blow Up

Blow Up

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.

London as it was...

London as it was…

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….

I Spy with my little eye…. Teufelsberg – Abandoned Berlin

IMG_8692

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.

Teufelsberg Spy towers

Teufelsberg Spy towers

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.

Abandoned Berlin – Kaserne Krampnitz – Former Nazi / Russian Military Base – PT I

The abandoned Krampnitz

The abandoned Krampnitz

Visiting Berlin and living here is different, SF finds much more time to go to those hard to find outposts. It was worth it too. In the first of a series of Abandoned Berlin trips we visit somewhere with a thoroughly dark history.

Important to read this sign

Important to read this sign

Berlin is a City that constantly reveals new things, some that you will not find on the usual tourist guides or through the rather staid guides from Vice et al. There are numerous abandoned places to investigate, for those of an inquisitive mind and up for a little bit of a challenge.

Krampnitz - Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz – Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz - Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz – Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz is a former military base on the outskirts of Berlin, far enough from the usual tourist traps to be pretty quiet and perfect for those up for a bit of a letch out of Berlin.

Krampnitz - Accomodation

Krampnitz – Accommodation

From the get go this place is creepy, the history alone dictates it is going to have a certain dark feel to it. Krampnitz was a Nazi military base for training troops right up until the end of WWII. Used to house soldiers, dignitaries and the like, there are some 50 buildings including a sprawling gym, a theatre or three, grandiose halls and meeting rooms and much more besides.

Krampnitz - Keeping the troops fit

Krampnitz – Keeping the troops fit

And shooting people

And shooting people

One of 3 theatres we found

One of 3 theatres we found

And another

And another

Krampnitz - No idea what this was or should be

Krampnitz – No idea what this was or should be

Krampnitz - remaining furniture

Krampnitz – remaining furniture

And a car baby seat of course

And a car baby seat of course

Once the Germans had moved on the Russians quickly moved in, they gave it a lick of paint here and there and put up their own iconography but largely the place remained the same.

Krampnitz - Russian takeover

Krampnitz – Russian takeover

Ready to invade?

Ready to invade?

In the early 90’s these Russians headed off and the area was basically closed down, not something to evoke feelings of pride or achievement, it was boarded up, blocked off and made out of bounds to the general public. And if you tell the people not to go in then clearly they will head their at the soonest opportunity.

Leaving the Russian mark

Leaving the Russian mark

Russian newspapers from the 80's

Russian newspapers from the 80’s

There is one gem that SF did not manage to find on this visit, there is a huge mosaic of an Eagle, one of the icons of the Nazi era, it is in one of the great halls and one of the few pieces still remaining, it is however a bitch to find it and nobody online will reveal if they know for fear it will be vandalised or stolen.

Krampnitz - The imposing main building, bricked and boarded up completely

Krampnitz – The imposing main building, bricked and boarded up completely

The place now has been ransacked of any of the original furniture, artifacts and in some cases walls, but you still get a feeling for the place and it’s history.

As mentioned, getting there is a little tricky…. Basically you need to get to Postdam Hauptbahnhof, it is the end of the line. Then you come out of the main entrance, cross the road and head up the hill on the opposite side to the big redbrick council like buildings and get a 639 or 638 bus. Use this map to help navigate and get a google earth one to see the buildings

Berlin Toilet Education

It isn’t just the public walls that are covered in rich German humour and educating messages, the public toilets are the places to find some of the best and most interesting things for the eyes to feast upon. Just a few examples below.

Flash carefully hiding some of the modesty

Pet Shop Bears

Pet Shop Bears

The toilets are where you can learn about feminism too

Porn for all

Porn for all…. and Frodo

Spot the naughty

Is that a willy and some spunk?

Is that a willy and some spunk?

Simple and to the point

1 in 10 apparently

1 in 10 apparently

 

Then we have this….. not only is it what we would now call vintage but it shows the young man at his most uber gay, and possibly his least attractive.

Das Nummer Seiben ja?

Das Nummer Seiben ja?

At least he got much better with age and ink

A weekend in Berlin

Outside Berghain

Outside Berghain

Berlin weekend that featured deserted house clubbing in Homopatik, all day brunches, numerous Berliner Beirs in Roses served by the scary lesbian owner, Warehouse clubbing at Berghain, a bit of culture at a photography exhibition in a shopping center (no link found), and a first viewing of Berlin Calling to get in the party mood.

Blu graf artist

Blu graf artist

By Urban Spree where there are bars, food places and ‘hipster’ markets

Tags and stencils

Tags and stencils

Schlesisches Tor U-Bhf – A unicorn & a geisha

Colour clash

Colour clash

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Bookworm paste up

Bookworm paste up

 

Stencils and tagging

Stencils and tagging

You SF silhouette

Sun dude

Sun dude

Until next time…. Danke and Turs Berlin

Bowie’s mirror image

Musically, culturally, aesthetically, emotionally, etc etc. Many of today’s creative types quote a certain Brixton born music superstar as one of their biggest influences. There are too many to mention so I would suggest everyone creating within the last 50 years would have been touched by the Starman in some way shape or form

One such inspired type was a certain David Sims. His 2013 re-imagined   Bowie imagery known as Bowievirus features images you think are Bowie but in fact not.

Bowie?

Bowie?

Imagery featuring a model, rock star Vince Taylor and what appeared to be Bowie featured. But you could not tell which was which. Head to ICA to see for yourself, and to pick up a free print 

Bowie!

Bowie!

Bowie....

Bowie….

At the V&A museum at the moment there is a rather amazing exhibition all about the man behind the multi-coloured-faceted-sexual-talented Mr David Jones.

Man Ray @ NPG

The world's first selfie

The world’s first selfie

No long ass explanations on this, you should just want to see it anyway. FFS the man hung out with Duchamp, Coco Chanel, Dali, Picasso, Lee Miller and Max Ernst, whom he had a double wedding with.

Original hipster

Original hipster

Dali

Dali

Picasso

Picasso

Coco

Coco

A photographer who was more a visionary and created his own alternate reality through his images and techniques

Original Shadow Dancing with Diet Wiegman

Tinker

Tinker

So when SF discovered Noble & Webster, it was unlike anything we have seen before….. or was it? It turns out there was a certain Dutchman who had already had the brainwave. Diet Wiegman was the real pioneer and for the very fact he put MJ in his pieces. That’s a win.

MJ

MJ

The manipulation of light and sculpture to create a new image is something that fascinates and puzzles in equal measures.

Vagavonds

Vagavonds

Take Michelangelo’s David, iconic but arguably looks better with Wiegman’s interpretation

David

David

Wiegman has been using the technique for over 25 years and not only using one light colour but a variety.

Coloured mix

Coloured mix

SF is going off to stick bits of wood, yoghurt pots, cardboard and leaves with PVA glue…. I assume that is what it takes.