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Die Toten Kommen (the dead are coming)

28 Jun

Die Toten Kommen

If you are wondering about the grave-cross photo I posted last night, here is the background story: the “grave” is part of a nation-wide campaign against European refugee policy. Berlin art group, “Zentrum für Politische Schönheit”, calls out to create awareness and establish artificial graves all across Germany and Europe in memory of the unknown refugees that died when trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Part of the campaign is also the transferring of bodies of dead refugees to Germany for giving them a proper burial and giving relatives the possibility to say goodbye in a respectful manner. Their activism is of course not welcomed by the German government. However people all across the country and the EU can take part in the activities that aim to create awareness, as opposed to ignorance and looking away from what is happening at the Southern European border.

It was a surprise to find this “grave” last night. I’m occasionally lighting grave-candles here in necromantic cross-road workings. I’m usually honoring Hecate and other, known and also unknown dead, e.g. I also give offerings to anonymous dead. Now I come here and find a grave with offerings, looking so familiar. I really do support the cause behind it.

“Die Toten kommen ” (The dead are coming) – the motto is to be taken literal. If you want to support the efforts made to give the dead a proper burial right there, where it hurts politicians the most, please consider donating: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/die-toten-kommen#/story

In turn for donations you can chose to receive art items, postcards, posters, shirts etc.

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Away from the Paper Maze

10 Mar

Done and through with that paper hell, which kept me from crafting and being creative for the past weeks. Whatever the result of all this filling out forms and balancing numbers will be, I’m just glad to be done with it. I’m an artist, not an economist. I’ll probably never have much to live on, but therefore I’ll always be rich in spirit…

Also, and what brought some light into my life these past weeks, were friends, who just grabbed me and dragged me to events, forcing me to actually live a life, lol. That is my friend Bianchina Rê​, who invited me to see Monster Magnet​ in concert, which against all prejudices turned out one of the best gigs I’ve attended, as well as discovering a new band, Bombus​, who I’ve never heard of before but who did in fact blew the audience, myself included. And it’s damn nice to still be friends after 15 years or longer and partying as decently as we used to when still in school – or actually better, hah!

Last week, I got to attend Philipp Gloger‘s exhibition opening. I had once done portrait photos for his art catalogue and love his painting style. So last Thursday was another turn for seeing old and new works on display under the motto “Ausflug” at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf​. It was nice to spend this evening in the company of my family (that is my parents and boyfriend) and friends and check out art. For samples of Philipp’s works go to http://www.philippgloger.de

Then Saturday was time for “Chappie​! Turns out Neil Blomkamp​ kept his promise towards DIE ANTWOORD​. This could have gone very wrong or easily could have gotten embarrassing putting the two musicians in co-starring rolls, but instead it turned out damn right and absolutely authentic, probably because Die Antwoord have always been a complex entity and it was a good choice to let them lend their own flavour to this project. This sure wouldn’t have worked with any movie but here it just fit in very well. Besides, the movie was so damn moving. I almost teared up.

Sunday we went on a photo spree in and around an old water works building. The weather was amazing and we got a few nice shots. This is the first time in ages for me photographing in a team! My boyfriend made panorama shots with his new phone, I used my Canon and our friend used a Nikon camera. I’m very excited to see and compare the results! Also, I handed over a photo from my “Tree Lights” series printed on wooden board…

Monday evening we attended a reading at Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden​. The topic of the evening was the bombing of Dresden in 1945, as experienced by the novelist Erich Kästner​. Records of the events were shown in the form of manuscript pages and postcards exchanged between Kästner and his mother. It was very interesting, the descriptions sure sending shivers down my spine. Even a man of such literary skill and diversity battled finding words for describing the scale of devastation brought about in less than 1 hour… Leading through the evening were Dr. Ulrich von Bülow (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach) and poet Durs Grünbein​, a former class mate of my mom, who has been awarded the Georg Büchner Preis amongst others, and who also read from his own books… back home I read half of his 49 stanza poem “Porzellan“, an attempt at reflecting and reconstructing the late WWII events and scenery, which more or less erased Dresden from the maps… The big question, not WHO, but HOW and WHY could this happen?

There is much food for thought and yet my mind is again filled with completely different things… there is a new sigil that wants to be brought to paper, I still have to fix the “Regina prints and with the solar eclipse ahead I am also planing to finally make available a few Lilith– and Regina-specific incense blends, which I’ve been working with for years, but never shared as of yet…

And least I forget my recent commission works… life proceeds at a high speed. I just took a short break to type this up. Photos and more detailed reports to follow…

Die Antwoord, Berlin

26 Jan

23 January 2015

Back from Berlin. I didn’t take a single photo, but we did have a good time. Remember, I was quite sick again beginning of this week. So it was risky, but there was simply no way of missing out on Die Antwoord! The concert had been sold out for weeks, ticket prices sky-rocketed on Ebay. For me it was revisiting some childhood nostalgia, like really childish childhood period, haha! >:-)

So we went. Travel was not particularly smooth, with a broken tire 10 min before arrival but we had enough time. Arriving in Berlin, it was damn cold and windy. Imagine railway stations and an icy wind constantly blowing. It was rather uncomfortable. But therefore we had a really nice place to stay.

On the way to the concert hall we got stuck again due to some demo and police cordoning off part of the area where our train had to pass. In a way it was one of the many instances occurring this week I’d connect to Mercury retrograde…

We arrived 20 min late at Columbiahalle, where people had been gathering outside and were hardly moving forward, even though doors were said to open by 8pm. It took over one hour of freezing in the cold until we finally got inside. The concert hall was full packed with people at the time we entered. And I spent another 20 min in a waiting line until I could finally hand in our jackets at the cloakroom.

Die Antwoord had already entered the stage when I was finally back in the audience. Like all their other German concerts this one had been sold out and the place was really full packed. The show was great though. With each song we could venture forward and by the middle of the concert, had ended up close to the stage. People were jumping around and crowd surfing like crazy. At times the whole crowd was jumping up and down synchronously, even the folks on the balcony. It looked mad. We were waiting for someone to jump or fall down (which didn’t happen.)

Die Antwoord played all their known hits and the show was choreographed in large parts. There was plenty of twerking combined with 90ies style dance moves. The chaotic elements were first and foremost Ninja’s stage diving actions and the audience’s responses. The whole show was a single burst of energy with no particular lows. A climax was certainly “Fok julle naaiers“. On one of the banners was scribbled “Hello Charlie” along with a little devil face, which made us smile.

We were definitely most impressed by Ninja’s rapping. Altogether the show and level of professionalism was greater than I’d expected and certainly worth the ticket and travel. But it was the crowd that made this event really special.

Enter the Ninja” was the scheduled bonus for the night, with a little blond girl entering the stage and performing the choreography from the video alongside Yolandi. They were certainly also making a point with taking a kid on stage, where the main message was “fuck your rules”. Die Antwoord are in a way children themselves, or addressing the child within with their music. Which is totally okay. It made us feel like 16 ourselves (or even younger, haha). And I was crazy enough to spend 40 bucks on a tour shirt (the last in size S). Usually I wouldn’t do this (and even less can I afford it), but this shirt is now a reminder of that child within – and also it does look pretty zef. >:)

Besides, the day after we visited the Berlin museum of natural history. The museum has some of the biggest known dinosaur skeletons on display, which was another reminder of a childhood fascination of mine (for a while I had my walls plastered with dino posters). But there were tons of other awesome things, like thousands of stuffed animals and specimen preserved in glass jars… the room with the jars was tangibly colder and in the dim light all the glasses, with pale serpentine and coiling fish specimen piled up to the ceiling, reminded of some freakish Frankenstein horror cabinet.

Still in awe we spent the evening with our lovely host until taking the bus back to Dresden. I slept like a stone and there were certainly some of the experiences from these days entering my dreams…

Today we took it easy and went for a walk to a nearby castle. There was moss all over, and strange masks carved in stone… it’s that type of old, abandoned building that makes for a perfect horror movie setting. I wonder what it would be like to live there…

But it’s late and I must end this brief written summary. No photos this time, you’ll have to use your imagination…

Auferstehungskirche

9 Jan

We spent this New Year’s in a small church in Dresden Plauen. It’s been my dream to see this church from the inside for years. I was told it had a beautiful art nouveau interior but little could I know… The history of this church dates back to the 12th century. There are still Gothic and Baroque elements to be found. E.g. the baptismal font and crucifix over the lectern date back to the 17th century. The main building is however a unique example of Art Nouveau architecture. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century under architects Lossow and Viehweger. The church, which was formerly known as Michaeliskirche, was then renamed and is since called Auferstehungskirche. Angel faces all around the quire remind of the church’s former name. Apart from the windows and church bells the building was not damaged during WWII. On the 1st of July 1945 the Dresdner Kreuzchor gave here their first concert after the war. During the 50ies the stucco of the entire choir was removed and the windows bricked up. In 1985 a new organ was installed behind the front of the old organ. After 1989 the windows around the choir were re-opened and the walls painted new. The altar room also received new windows, which were designed by artist Wolfgang Korn (Dresden). Lastly the tower and roof were restored. Today the church counts amongst the most beautiful churches of Dresden. The wooden art nouveau elements are indeed a special treat and remind of the wood carvings found in stave churches. I do in fact not know any other church that would show a similar, almost cinematic architecture, which came to life even more, when the organ started playing…

Gallery

The Electorial Chapel

13 Nov

All Hallows 2014

7 Nov

All Hallows is amongst others a time to remember your Dead and be receptive for the messages they communicate from the other side. I have previously blogged about the season and thinning of the veil that usually separates the worlds of the living and the dead. This post is about the actual period known as Allhallowtide, or more famously Halloween, which is celebrated on October 31, and the following nights of All Saints and All Souls, which are commemorated successively on November 1 and 2. These celebrations have a Christian background, though Halloween is often also viewed to have originated from Pagan harvest festivities, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. All have in common an occupation with death and the souls of the dead. Hence skulls and ghoulish appearances are a prominent theme during Halloween. Halloween could be translated as the ‘eve of the hallowed ones’ – the holy or good dead, spirits and saints of Christian faith. However, these long nights are also seen as a time of mischief and in pagan tradition they mark the beginning of the Wild Hunt, a fearsome and dangerous time associated with fateful events.

During these nights it is common to light candles and serve offerings for the dead. These customs find a climax in the Mexican celebrations of the Dia de los muertos, Day of the Dead, when the cemeteries turn into oceans of light, offerings of sugar skulls and pan de muerto, bread of the dead, are placed on graves and home altars, people dress up as skeletons and identify consciously with their dead and the skeletal saints Santa Muerte and la Calavera Catrina. (These customs may be rooted in but are actually far removed from Aztec times, when gruesome deities such as Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl were feared and appeased with bloody sacrifices). Today’s day of the dead customs are mostly influenced by Catholicism and similar practices exist in other parts of Latin America and catholic parts of Europe.

I have been impressed and moved by the intensity and beauty of these celebrations since the first time I learned about them, and feel an urge to create a similar atmosphere in my place of living. Actually we too have a time for commemorating the dead, which is Totensonntag, the last Sunday before Advent. This is when we visit the graves of our dead relatives, grandparents and great-grand parents. But in my practice I also relate to the Dead that I once shared a part of my life with and the so-called Mighty Dead, which are much older spirits that act as spiritual guides and idols. For me these three nights of Allhallowtide are a time to relate to and honor these Dead and to do so I adopted some of the practices from the Mexican festival, some of which have been taught to me by friends and so another aspect of following these customs is carrying on a tradition.

Below you can see the offerings placed outside on my window bench. They consist of grave candles (which are weatherproof and indispensable during the stormy autumn nights), normal candles (which may or may not burn, depending on the weather), bread of the dead shaped into preferred forms and sweetened with honey, pomegranate (a reference to underworld deities such as Hecate and Persephone), orange or other type of fruits, e.g. figs, Vervain strewing herb and a glass filled with fresh water. Later I also added a pumpkin-lantern, into which I carved a Teufelskunst devil, to strengthen the flame that keeps me and my artistic work alive:

These offerings are left for as long as the candles keep burning (e.g. 72 hours) and then brought to a graveyard or a remote place in the forest, ideally where they won’t be removed by third parties, just so the souls can ‘feed’ on them undisturbed. And again in this case these offerings are not related to ones normal dead relatives and hence are not placed on those graves, but rather a neutral yet powerful spot is chosen, such as a crossroad, in front of a large tree or cross. Additional candles are lit, incense burnt and through silent or spoken prayers the tie between oneself and the spirits is renewed and strengthened.

Now I hope this post is helpful to my readers and especially those, to whom this festival (and my obsession with it) occurs as strange. Respect the work and you may prosper from it as well.

Update: I am adding some useful links on the topic below. The list shall grow as I find time and inspiration to add more…

Moritzburg

26 Oct

Last weekend we visited the newly restored castle in Moritzburg and afterwards had lunch at restaurant Seeblick. Below photos of the castle and lake in the golden October sun. On our way back we stopped once more to take a picture of the castle as sun was setting…

Seeblick / Lakeview

Moritzburg Castle

Favorite view towards the castle from the distance through the tree branches; castle reflection in the remaining water of the lake as it slowly empties before the winter; grey goose gathering; reed and chestnut trees by the water; people riding out by the lakeside

The statues on the balustrades all around the castle have been vividly restored. The originals were designed amongst others by Permoser and students. Depicted are puttos, animals and other figures as part of different hunting scenes…

I would have loved to also share pictures from inside the palace but unfortunately taking photos indoors was not allowed. Initially we had planned to take a special guided tour to get a chance to see the more remote parts of the building but sadly it was sold out. It was still amazing to see the newly restored Feather Room, the large collection of deer antlers and Meißen porcelain.