Abandoned Hospital – Mariendorfer Weg

Hospital room with a view

Hospital room with a view

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.

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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.

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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.

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Cyprien Gaillard – Nightlife

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.

In a nutshell it is a 3D film shot over the course of two years in Cleveland, Los Angeles and of course Berlin, it is a 3D masterpiece bringing together nature and man made objects being affected by the elements.
I’ll explain it in short because you can read the full detail here, but truly you should just get your honey down there and see it for yourself.
You enter a huge gallery room space, you sit on the floor and put on your 3D glasses, exciting already right…?
On the huge screen you will see a huge swirling figure in greeny-gold-bronze oscillating seductively in front of you, but also jumping out of the screen thanks to the wonders of 3D. This is set to the most hypnotic and cool vibey reggae tune, apparently a mix of two tracks played together on a 9 second loop. One of these is below… the ‘I Was Born a Loser’ lyric is strangely beautiful and positive with this film.
You see fluffy fir trees swaying rhythmically in the wind set against some very industrial sites, forbidding signs and cityscapes. Then we move to palm trees being blown almost to pieces, again it has a certain rhythmic flow to it, calming with the seductive reggae loop. Each tree looks a bit like it is under the influence of some mind bending drug as it sways and convulses out of the screen. Next we are transported to Berlin, during a fireworks show for Pyronale above the iconic Olympic Stadion. A drone flies up from behind trees swivelling around and taking in the scenes as the fireworks begin to shoot in the air. The camera floats through the sparks and smoke, up and down, surveying the area and capturing Berlin and the Stadion in the back ground as the sky is lit up. The mesmeric music perfectly in time as the visual journey develops and envelopes all your senses.
To read the real description then please refer to this link…..

Anish Kapoor – Turning on the water works

Swirling black hole

Swirling black hole

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.

Mesmeric

Mesmeric

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

Share and share alike and like and share – all offline

Plug in, drop in, plug out, drop out

Plug in, drop in, plug out, drop out

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 top vibes…. – Ben Slow & Carl Cashman colab

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.

German Pop Art – Schirn Gallery – Frankfurt

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SF took a little trip out of Berlin recently and decamped to Southern Germany, and to Frankfurt, a city which is known as the financial centre of Germany, we took in the Schrin Gallery for a little bit of German Pop Art action.

A dentist's chair... of some sort

A dentist’s chair… of some sort

Pop Art, everyone likes it, everyone is familiar with it and it is probably one of the least offensive forms you are likely to find. It is always laced with a kind of humour, it feels comfortable for all walks of life to appreciate. The use of everyday well known brands, images and icons makes the experience more inclusive for the viewer and less elitist, well that’s what SF reckons.

Germany in the Pop Art era, an interesting time, known as the swinging 60’s in some places, German’s were still living somewhat under the cloud of ‘that’ war but also Berlin was divided with different nations claiming their piece of the city. One area that was growing was a Pop Art movement and this exhibition gives us a small insight into some of the work from that period, combining film, sculpture, painting and movement, the curation by Martina Weinhart is a delightful myriad of colours and forms.

Here are a few of our most favourite pictures from the exhibition…..

Pop cowboy

Pop cowboy

Lipstick bombing

Lipstick bombing

Cry baby film

Cry baby film

The Berlin U-Bahn – A Design Masterpiece

BLN U-Bahn

BLN U-Bahn

The Berlin train system is top drawer, it is on time, it is not busy, it is clean, it doesn’t seem to get as crazy hot as in London or New York and the buskers are pretty good, comparatively.

The best thing is not actually a part of the moving object we call a train. It is actually the station themselves, they are a beautiful tiled throwbacks, featuring a myriad of colours, fonts, designs and sizes, every station is different and everyone is a work of art in its own right. Some of the stations even feature old black and white photos of the surrounding streets in their former glory.

SF has picked out a few to share, there are many more weird, wonderful and beautiful ones we will post in the coming weeks with some more info. For now… feast your eyes on these….

BLN U-Bahn

BLN U-Bahn

BLN U-Bahn

BLN U-Bahn

Blub – Top Abandoned Berlin Sight Seeing in Neukolln

Blub wave machine

Blub wave machine

The SF team have been all over the Abandoned Berlin vibes this summer, the sunshine in this city is to be taken advantage of and these are not places so easy to access when the dead of winter kicks in. We might have been getting to the point of saturation, they’re cool and all that but there is only so much smashed glass, tags, graf and general mess that you can see before you need to go to a nice sanitary gallery where they have electricity and the glass is fully formed.

Blub skate park

Blub skate park

A change to this is a much less well known place in Neukölln, one that is relatively new and one which is a sight to behold in the later summer sunshine. Blub (Berliner Luft und Badeparadies) situated just off of Buschkrugalle was first opened in 1984 at a cost of over 44 million Marks, and over the years was added to and changed around, but the main gist of it is an indoors (and a little outdoors) aqua land. It boasted huge swimming pools, a wave machine, water slides, fountains, steam rooms, saunas, water dooms and much more besides.

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SF can only imagine what this water world would have been like in its pomp for a kid of 14 years of age. It was taking over 600,000 visitors a year at one point, but then the tide turned. It begs the question as to why it is not still open today? Well according to my research (limited to Wiki and a bit of random blog searching) it was down to two things.

Former waterslide

Former waterslide

A turf war between local youths. Imagine, like being in the London Fields Estate and the kids battling over C*nts Corner or who ran the gate at the lido.

Rats, apparently it became unsanitary and overrun by the little disease carrying fuzz balls. SF is guessing that neither are conducive to a nice family day out.

Wooden walkways

Wooden walkways

Blub is hidden nicely off the road, the wooden elevated walkway entrances look like something from Hook, you expect Rufio to swing in at any minute.

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All around the building is covered with greenery, tress, plants and bushes that hide the building, so on arrival you would be forgiven for thinking it was a bit piss-poor-small. Guess again this thing is huge and once inside you can get an image in your head of what pandemonium went on. It is also right by Teltow canal, there lies the problem, those pesky rats venturing away from their water and taking over the human space. By 2003 some parts had to be closed because of the infestation. The places is getting a little less attractive now.

Added to this the kiddie turf war, bombing and aggressive splashing (assumption) was rife, some kids even resorting to water bombs (probably). Shit had got real and the only solution was to bring in security, yup water henchmen. Big dudes in black wraparound glasses, goatees and living on a diet of roods and Red Bull, patrolling the pool to keep the warning mini factions apart.

Skate channels

Skate channels

From 2002, slowly but surely areas were closed until in 2012 everything was shut. Apparently the area has been sold for flat redevelopment but until then it is worth a visit, it is certainly getting better known now, on our second visit there were hoards of Turkish kids running riot and skaters from 14 to 40 dropping in to the swimming pools.

Sauna graffiti

Sauna graffiti

Some of the artwork adorning the walls is pretty impressive and you will likely see some artists underway if you visit. It is as always a little bashed up, but not totally…. yet.

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SF even managed to get a souvenir. The original price board which had not been tagged or smashed, well we figured we might as well save something from the looters.

Original price board, in Deutsch Marks

Original price board, in Deutsch Marks

Picture of the Day – Hanging Airplane – Roman Signer

This week is Berlin Art Week, a week of interesting shows to check out, and to kick things off SF made a little visit to see Kitfox Experimental by Roman Signer at Kindl. While it is a fairly short and sweet experience, it is definitely worth it.

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Housed at the former Kindl brewery, the piece is quite striking and as a moving installation makes for a perfect short, sharp injection of culture on a lunch break.

More to come on BAW14 shortly….

ROA in Berlin

One of the most prolific and well travelled artists around, and one of the easiest to spot, purely because his style is like no other and the scale means they are near enough impossible to miss. Beit in London, Berlin, France, the US or in the southern hemisphere, Seeing a ROA piece is a feast for the eyes.

 

Berlin has long been a playground for the taggers, graffiti artists and paste-up merchants of Europe, but very few can boast such huge pieces, maybe Blu is the only rival. ROA usually paints animals and birds and uses a small pallet of colour, usually just black, white, grey and sometimes red, then uses shading and lines to bring them to life.

 

SF features two piece today…. the well known and the slightly newer.

The iconic Kreuzberg piece of 2011

The iconic Kreuzberg piece of 2011

Like a rat up a drain pipe in Prenzlauer Alle

Like a rat up a drain pipe in Prenzlauer Alle