Archive | culture RSS feed for this section

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.

MAGICAL ART/E, circular tower of an event – part I

28 Mar

This was not your usual exhibition, talk event or art show nor was this your usual esoteric gathering or occult conference. This event was different, in a number of ways and a challenge to all participants. If you would have asked me 2 weeks before if I was going I probably would have ruled out the option for a lack of funds, time and motivation. All of this changed precisely 1 week before I eventually embarked on my little journey to London (for the first time in 7 years). It was as if something had tipped me on the shoulder and all of sudden I felt a boost of physical and mental strength I seldom have the joy to parttake of these days. (It may sound weird but at the age of 30 I feel like 40 despite looking like 20). I figured I had to go. The next few days I was preparing maniacally my prints. The woman at the print shop became my new best friend. I booked my flights and transfers as if steered and eventually, after days and nights of no-sleep, preparing and packing and but a few hours of rest I found myself on the bus to Berlin airport. I would describe my state as lucid yet focussed. Constantly going up and down mental check lists.

What struck me that despite the dark and somewhat fearsome attributions that the image of the tower is usually associated with (see the tarot card XVI for reference) my journey went smoothly. And when I say smoothly I mean everything worked out perfectly. I was on time, did not forget a thing, did not loose anything either, flights, busses, trains – whatever was needed to get to the place did not let me down. If I was lost for the way people helped me find it. I was met with so much friendliness I eventually started wondering whether this was real life (usually not as handsome) or a movie – in the most positive sense.

When I arrived at Andrea’s (the organizer’s) place I knew noone. I expected to be greeted politely and then quickly labeled as the ‘strange German girl you rather not waste too much time on’ (which is what I am used to). Instead I was indeed welcomed so warmly and found myself immediately involved in the most creatively engaged talk. I remember how Charlotte Rodgers took the initiative; Glen Tomney and Roberto Migliussi joined in and a couple of minutes later we were talking art and meanings, of a quality and depth of understanding, not intellectual but intelligent talk, I rarely find in people and which impressed me. This was down to earth and honest. No bollocks. And this was something that continued throughout the event.

We had no time to waste and soon headed straight to the tower: a solitary monument in the middle of London Hackney, medieval looking and reminding me indeed of the tarot card. At the entrance, which was locked, we met a little hippie woman. She explained she had come here for the equinox and to light a candle at the place, which according to her would be situated on the same ley-line as Stonehenge. She also told us stories of the tower being the oldest church tower of entire Britain and twelve monks having commited mutual suicide in this building. We do not know if either is true. But I was amused and felt reminded of other occasions where a stranger would appear out of the blue, telling stories and legends. To me Paula was a messenger.

Unlocking the gate to the tower, we promised her to leave the candle burn (even though I wondered how it was possible for any candle to remain lit under the windy conditions). Entering the hall I could now get a first impression of the inside of the tower building as well as the art on display:

–> Continue for part II