Kai D. Fan, a seasoned designer with many years of experience working in the fashion industry for such well-known brands as Lacoste, Converse by John Varvatos and Sean John, launched his own menswear collection in 2009.
Fan’s meticulously designed store Kai D. Utility, located in the heart of Williamsburg, feels more like a Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities of Fashion and Design than an exclusive boutique. Take a close look around and between the well-crafted menswear pieces and archival images of explorers, you will discover various witty and provocative aphorisms posted on the walls that reflect Kai’s unique personality and philosophy. And don’t be surprised if the salesperson you are having a very engaging conversation with turns out to be Kai D. himself.
S2S: Kai, why did you decide to opt out of the corporate fashion world you have been part of for so many years and start your own collection?
He Zhen Snap Button Company began as a tiny store across from the Christopher Henry Gallery in 1986, the same year Amy Li was born. That was when Chinatown/LES was very quiet and comprised of primarily Chinese immigrants and Italians. Today, Amy Li has appropriated her parent’s storefront to show art. Stephanie Schroeder delves into the history of 166 Mott Street and talked to Li about her recent exhibition series.
Amy Li spent time at the button store when she wasn’t in school, taking music, art, or writing lessons. She majored in art history and studio art at Hunter College. Amy Li returned to graduate school in 2012 because she knew she wanted a career in art but felt unprepared. Continue reading →
On May 8th, Berlin based artist Jenny Brockmann’s exhibition Air opened at the German Consulate in New York. The site-responsive projects deals with daily phenomena and cycles that are invisible yet in flux. Many of the works, even though created and installed in New York, allude to Berlin. Guest writer Eric Booker met up with Jenny who is also currently an Artist-in-Residence at ISCP in New York.
Eric Booker: So, I know that we already talked a bit about the project in person, but maybe (for Station to Station’s sake) you could start by telling me how the exhibition at the German Consulate came to be? Was it a site that you already knew you wanted to work with? I find the liminality of such a place to be fascinating…
Passing Stranger is an audio poetry tour through the East Village that guides you to various locations that were frequented by seminal American writers from the Beat Generation and their disciples. The Tour is narrated by Jim Jarmusch, with a soundtrack from John Zorn, and is easily downloaded to a smart phone. A lot of care and attention to detail were edited into the audio tour that allows participants to time travel back to the days when Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Frank O’Hara and others were just ordinary fixtures on the streets of the East Village. The tour is produced by Pejk Malinoski and The Poetry Foundation and lasts about 90 minutes, but it will stay with you forever. We talked with Pejk about the tour, Jim Jarmusch and poetry at large.
S2S: Pejk, you have always had a passion for poetry. Today, there is spoken word but poetry is often thought of as rather antiquated. What was it about poetry that made you want to become a poet? What were some of the poems that influenced you?
New York Style Stories is a series of short documentary portraits by Maaike Holvast. The different episodes portray various New Yorkers with distinctly outspoken styles and document not only their vivid visual expressions, but also the personalities that motivate such display. We showed you one of those exciting short films last year, now we finally found the time to catch up with Maaike and discuss everything style and her latest project +1 Significant Others.
S2S: Before becoming a documentary filmmaker you studied Fashion, worked as a stylist, brand consultant and fashion editor. What is it about fashion that fascinates you and why did you choose documentary film-making to explore the subject more in depth?
Maaike Holvast: I was always more interested with the WHY, then the HOW of fashion and style. People spend so much time, effort and money on appearances, yet many of us never really think about what motivates us to choose our clothing, hairstyles etc. At the same time we all categorize and judge others by it. During my education this was already obvious. I was most interested in the classes that dealt with the psychology of style and the influences of societal trends on fashion. After graduating and working in the industry for a while I realized, not many people in the fashion world share my fascination.
A couple of weeks ago, on a freezing evening the debut opening of du weißt, ich liebe das Leben (You Know, I Love Life) by Superuschi from Berlin took place in NYC. Even though people were turning to ice in the unheated space, nobody wanted to leave. It must have been because of the the warmth that Jonny Star, artist and curator who organized the event exudes. Jonny, who lives and works in Berlin, comes from the urban subculture of the 80s in Berlin (West) via a study of psychology at TU Berlin, extended stays abroad, operating a cult bar, fashion and farming to finally arrive in the Fine Arts. S2S immediately felt that we had met a kindred spirit. We asked Jonny about her past and plans for the future.
S2S: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Jonny Star?
Jonny Star: I made art under my given name Gabriele-Maria Schedafor for 20 years. For 4 years now, I’ve been working under my artist name, Jonny Star. Four years ago the timing worked out well – I was participating with my art project “sweet home – private art space” at the art fair SCOPE Miami. I added “Star” as an amused finger pointing at the art market, as they often seek stars and “enfant terrible” instead of good art or interesting concepts. And of course the name is a critique of the patriarchal structures of the art market and the discrimination of female artists that results from it.
Since 2005, Samantha Box has dedicated herself to documenting New York City’s community of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth. Her on-going project, INVISIBLE, has been recognized by the Anthropographia Award for Photography and Human Rights, EN FOCO, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her photos have been widely exhibited and Box has received numerous awards and honors. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she was raised in Edison, New Jersey and is now based in Brooklyn, New York. S2S talked to Samantha Box about her long term photography projects and her teachings.
S2S: Was there a particular event in your life that made you want to become a documentary photographer?
Samantha Box: There was no particular event that made me want to become a documentary photographer, as far as I know – it seems that wanting to do this kind of work is something that has always been with me. Realizing that being a documentary photographer was something that I could do, and then a point of claiming the title as my own, those were my foundation moments.
Concurrent with her latest exhibitions in Berlin and Antwerp, Belgium, the Berlin based artist Andrea Pichl spent the last few months in residency at ISCP, in Brooklyn, NYC. S2S spoke to Andrea Pichl about her recent work and her time in delirious New York.
S2S: The title of your exhibition in Berlin is ‘delirious Dinge’ – a reference to Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York?
Andrea Pichl: It’s just a question of semantics. Granted the title was inspired by Rem Koolhaas. But in the case of my exhibition it means something completely different and has no relation to Koolhaas’ excellent book. To be ’delirious’ – “auser sich sein“ in German isn’t really a good equivalent.
The word luxury comes from the Latin word lux, meaning “light” or “brightness” – in other words BLING, right?! Not so fast. Sure most of us think right away of expensive cars and jewelry, but the term ‘luxury’ is actually not easy to define. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. What does luxury really mean in today’s global society? An upcoming exhibition of Berlin artists at the German Consulate General in New York City is exactly exploring this question. Station to Station discussed the subject with our very own, Frieda Bellmann, the curator of Luxus: A Study of Luxury from Berlin Artists.
S2S: Frieda, we are living in a time where the gap between rich and poor grows more and more extreme. For some, it is a luxury to do anything that goes beyond survival, while others purchase diamond-studded skulls for more than 80 Million dollars. What interests you as a curator in the subject “luxury”?
You’re looking for some fundamental answers in your life but are not the granola type who sits around in woolen socks cherishing a cup of chamomile tea? In fact you are sporting a bunch of tattoos, curse like a sailor, and in general have a rebellious streak in you? Well, welcome to Dharma Punx – not your mother’s meditation class. We talked to Josh Korda, who has been teaching meditation with Dharma Punx in New York City for the past eight years.
S2S: Can you give us a little bit background information on Dharma Punx NYC. How and when did you meet Noah Levine, the founder of Dharma Punx? And when and why did you get involved?
Eva Schweitzer, is a seasoned journalist, author and founder of the Berlin based publishing company Berlinica Publishing, which introduces English-language books about Berlin to Americans. Bi-continental and always on the move, we had to belt along to catch up with Eva in NYC before she boards her next flight back to Berlin.
S2S: Your career as a journalist started in Berlin, writing for the taz and the Tagesspiegel before you moved to New York nearly 15 years ago. What made you decide to live in the Big Mango?
Artist and activist Kim Yaged is a writer with a unique vision, and a passion for art and social justice. She has a creative flair, a positive outlook, and a passionate bent.
An award-winning writer and photographer, Kim Yaged is passionate about…well a lot things. But, where art and activism meet is of particular interest to her and she takes dedicated action in that regard. One could classify Kim Yaged as an artivist, but that might annoy her. But, certainly she sees — and creates — art through a lens that encompasses a social justice perspective and social justice programs that incorporate art. Her work is quirky and edgy, and her artistic range is impressive.
Stephanie Schroeder asked Kim Yaged for some insight into her art and activism as well as her relationships with both New York City and Berlin.
From November 20 to December 6, MoMA will host The Berlin School: Films from the Berliner Schule. These films were created in the aftermath of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, during the unification process of East and West Germany. Beyond presenting a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of independent filmmaking by Berlin based auteur filmmakers, the films of the Berliner Schule give an insight into contemporary German cultural identity.
The Berliner Schule or Berlin School is probably easier to define by what the filmmakers and their films do not have in common versus what they do. None of the directors of the Berliner Schule are from Berlin but hail from much smaller West German towns.
Ran Dosis is a German/American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and musician. Born and raised in a multi-cultural and artistic family in Heidelberg/Germany, Ran Dosis discovered his passion for music at an early age. Taking piano, singing and percussion lessons in his childhood, he also over the years taught himself the guitar, bass, various synthesizers, talk box and music production. After years of creating demos, rehearsing and performing in Germany, Ran Dosis decided to move to New York City. He is currently working on his new album called Age Of Flamboyance.
S2S: Born and raised in Heidelberg a rather small and conservative city in Germany you decided to move to New York, a pulsating metropolis in the United States. Why New York City? Were there other cities you were attracted to?
To me it has always felt like the two cities are
connected by a subway line. Alexander Hacke, aka Dr. Hacke, Einstürzende Neubauten
An experienced home exchanger with six apartment swaps under my belt, I was in no position, in the winter of 2009-2010, to travel abroad. So, when someone from Berlin inquired about an apartment swap, I sent back a modest proposal.
I offered my apartment as the New York City-based accommodation for the inquiring Berliner and her partner while the designated traveler would be my friend Marion, a writer, web designer, and translator.
Last week Eva Koethen‘s show The Creation of New Spaces of Perception opened at the German Consulate General in New York. The photographs in this new exhibition, installed on the floor of the lobby, are not only to be viewed but also to be walked on – in a corporal as well as metaphorical sense. S2S talked to Eva Koethen about the concept behind her current work, her home town Berlin, her frequent visits to New York and the changes she has witnessed throughout the years in both cities.
S2S: You are known for your Tritt-Bilder (Step-on pictures). You have stated that in your work “the field of potentiality at the feet of the beholder is no longer limited to visual observation but the images have to be walked on and across.“ Continue reading →
The Literary Colloquium Berlin celebrated its 50th anniversary in New York on September 28 and 29, 2013. The panel event Shining Island, hosted by the Goethe Institut New York, brought esteemed German authors such as Marcel Beyer,Durs Grünbein, Felicitas Hoppe, and Uljana Wolfto New York. “How American is It?” asked the first panel but translator Susan Bernofksy, Beyer, and Grünbein shifted the topic towards the question how American literature and culture influenced German authors in general (a great deal) and which German authors are more celebrated abroad than at home (W.G. Sebald, Rainer Maria Rilke). While the event was off to a good start, the panel did not specifically discuss Berlin as one might expect in a panel on the “Past, Present, and Future Berlin.”
“I am a huge champion of Brooklyn. It’s my hometown. Though I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, I have always had one foot firmly planted in Kings County. I am Brooklyn through and through…. strange, but true.”
Contemporary art curator and entrepreneur, Dexter Wimberly, was born and raised in Brooklyn. Curatorially, Wimberly focuses on contemporary urban history: “I love art that reflects our times, and I am excited to be in the position to work with artists who are shaping contemporary culture and bringing the beauty of under-exposed aspects of modern life to a greater public. I feel that this is my calling within the arts.” A passionate collector and supporter of the arts, Wimberly has personally exhibited the work of nearly 100 individual artists. S2S talked to Wimberly about the hood that defines him, his recent exhibitions and what tips he has for emerging artists and curators.
“‘Just do it’ and be prepared to do anything and everything and dive into the city.”
Cassis Birgit Staudt, is a German singer, songwriter and composer. She studied music in Germany and at Juilliard University in New York City. Working for director Jim Jarmusch brought her to New York City. She won a Golden Palm at the Cannes International Film Festival for being one of the producers of the Iggy Pop and Tom Waits segment ‘Coffee and Cigarettes.’ For several years she has called Berlin and New York her home. S2S talked with Cassis about the many hats she wears and the two cities that have captured her heart.
You have probably never heard of Maspeth, Queens. It’s an industrial area that borders on Bushwick, not too far from the Jefferson L Stop. And we really shouldn’t tell you about this, but we can’t help wanting to turn people on to this amazing place called the Knockdown Center. If you have been to Berlin in the past, you are familiar with old, decrepit buildings that have been turned into art centers (think Tacheles) or clubs (the original Tresor), but the situation here in NYC is way different. Real estate in this town has always been traded like gold. Having a vast space like the 50,000 square feet former glass and door factory at your disposal to indulge your creative spirits is a curator’s surreal wet dream coming true. A while back, S2S interviewed the curatorial team, Michael Merck, Kate Watson and Tyler Myers about the beginning and future of the KDC. The most recent events that took place at the Knockdown Center were Memory Place, a sound art show curated by Kate Watson, Red Bull Music Academy’s Drone Activity in Progress and Tiki Disco.
Nicolaus Schmidt is a German artist, photographer and historian. He studied at the Hamburg Art Academy (HfBK) in the 1970s. In 1975, he founded ROSA, one of Germany’s first gay-themed magazines. During the 1980s, he was a volunteer with the German branch of the children’s rights organization Terre des Hommes, serving for a time as its chairman. Since 1991, he has been living and making art in the Berlin neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg. Station to Station talked to Schmidt about his latest project Astor Place | Broadway | New York – a photographic portrait of New York City’s most iconic hair salon.
S2S: Nicolaus, you are a photographer who lives mostly in Berlin but frequently visits New York City. When was your first visit to NYC and what made you want to come back here on a regular basis? How much time do you spend here every year?
Engineer’s Office Galleryis probably the most clandestine art space in all of New York City: 24 inches wide, 72 inches high and 24.5 inches deep. Truly underground, the gallery is hidden in the basement beneath Rockefeller Plaza – not easy to locate but certainly worth a visit. Eric Booker spoke with Zefrey Throwell, one of the co-directors of the covert space.
S2S: Can you begin by talking a little bit about yourself and your co-curators? How did you come up with the idea of creating a space like Engineer’s Office?
Zefrey Throwell/Engineer’s Office:Engineer’s Office was the collaborative creation of three artists who were working at Haunch of Venison Gallery while it was located in Rockefeller Center in 2009. In order to have artwork photographed it was necessary to walk it down a long hallway in the basement of 20 Rock, beneath Christie’s Auction house. There is a small 6 foot high and 2 foot wide niche in the concrete and after passing this alcove day in and day out, we struck upon claiming it for the powers of good. The underground hallway / segue which connected Christie’s and Haunch of Venison was also additionally interesting in that it seemed to be a sort of gray area or neutral territory which was not specific to either entity and was also accessible to the public via the 47-50th street subway station. It just seemed to be begging for an intervention or re-purposing of sorts.
We agree that the competitive nature of the event was frivolous. However, GO Brooklyn made it possible to meet some incredible artists in their studios. One of them is Eto Otitigbe, a polymedia artist who combines sculpture, video, installation, and performance to create illusions, sensitive spaces, and dynamic actions. We talked to Eto about the time he spent in Berlin last summer.
S2S: Eto, you just returned from Berlin where you finished your MFA from the Transart Institute. Can you explain what this program is and talk about your experience in the program in general and in Berlin specifically (i.e. who was your advisor, what was it like to live in Berlin as a New Yorker, etc.)?
Eto Otitigbe:Transart is an international low residency MFA program. The faculty and students come from all around the world with a majority from North America and Europe. TI is unique because it brings together a diverse group of art practitioners to one space that doesn’t have a rigid departmental structure.
Mostly silent and stone-faced, blending into their environment security guards are often disregarded by visitors. Yet, historically they are in good company: Jackson Pollock, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, and Mel Bochner, to name just a few, were security guards in museums before their names were added to the canon of art history. Be aware, the person in uniform advising you not to get too close to the art work might someday be an art star. Not surprisingly, Linda Smith—an artist who is a security guard herself—curated “Guardists,” an exhibition of works by her co-workers at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Since security guards generally only speak when spoken to, S2S interviewed Senior B. and Camisha B. to hear first hand about the trials and tribulations of a SG or “rent-a-cop.”
It’s no surprise to anyone who lives in NYC that you can have pretty much anything and everything delivered. From pizza to groceries and other daily necessities, you can cut your shopping time out and just make a simple call to get what you want. They even have entire websites and apps that deal specifically with having goods delivered to your doorstep. Why not? Who has time to actually go out to the store and get things. Now, what some of you may not know is that there is a booming industry in NYC that deals specifically with delivering cannabis to your doorstep. No shady meet-ups on the corner, or trolling your neighborhood for someone who is selling this controversial plant, but a simple number to call and a couple of hours later you have 2 grams of cannabis in your hands and ready to smoke. Obviously, these groups operate outside of the law and the legality of the whole operation isn’t really in question. The curious thing is that these groups are highly organized and refer to their game as business, all with stories to tell. Jon Benito got the ins-and-outs of this specialized career.
Street music is continuously facing regulations all around the world and unfortunately Berlin is no exception. Often due to poor transparency and enforcement of unclear busking regulations, there is a need to make a change in order to preserve an active cultural scene that takes its vibrancy from the streets!
Berlin Street Music is an advocacy group set up supporting Street Art – in particular Street Music in Berlin. Their attempt is to unite musicians, the public, policy makers, advocates, businesses, lobby groups, and anyone else involved in creating a thriving, culturally rich, and economically sustainable street art scene.
S2S met up with Geordie Little, Bennet Cerven and Stefanie Tendler who are the founders of the initiative Berlin Street Music to speak about what it takes to keep busking alive in Berlin.
Chance and coincidence brought the collective “Herz & Leber” – which translates to – Heart and Liver together. It was during one of the legendary “Wild Wedding” parties at Brunnen70, where they spontaneously created a dance party – striking their audience in awe. Based on this unique experience the two founders decided to create a series of parties that would hold a surprise for their audience with each event they put together. They are known for engaging every single crew member and to amaze with their performances. S2S met up with Benny aka Bensøn Tack to portray the development of his crew.
S2S: Herz & Leber- Heart & Liver? Who came up with the name for your crew and what does it mean to you?
Musician Mike Richards, a true Welsh original, set up home in Berlin after 20 years of touring the UK and Holland. Forming his band after 3 months of arriving with Rowan Smy – guitarist and producer of Tricone Studios, Mirko Schmitt – drummer, drum teacher and session drummer from Berlin and Aries Guinto, bass guitarist and sound engineer from the Philippines. The band recorded and released their debut CD Anything & Everything in 2012, a compilation of songs written by Mike over a number of years, then produced and arranged with the help of the rest of the band. S2S met up with Mike to find out what led him to settle in Berlin.
S2S: The Black Flag in London referred to your music as “laid back Blues Rock.” How would you personally describe your music and what development has it passed through?
The 2nd Berlin Music Video Awards were held on May 28th – May 31st at Platoon Kunsthalle in Berlin Mitte. S2S talked to Aviel Silook and Konstantin Dellos, founder and PR manager of the annual festival that puts filmmakers and the art of music videos in the spotlight.
S2S: What made you believe that Berlin needed a platform and annual event evolving around music videos? How did you develop your idea?
Aviel: I love music videos and it was a pity for me that this art form lost it’s glory…I didn’t know if Berlin needs it or not, I just did what I wanted to do, regardless of the market’s needs.
The Berlin Group Meystersinger (which translates as Master Singers) recently released their new album Haifischweide. Fans of Meystersinger’s Roman Shamov and Luci van Org can look forward to a good dose of comforting techno and heartfelt lyrics, presented live at WABE – the cultural institution in Pankow. Station to Station met up with the two Meystersinger to talk not only about their inspirations and style but also about their archeological process in creating songs that contain meaningful messages.
S2S: How did Meystersinger come about?
Luci: The first time we met was because of an ensuing wedding between two of our common female friends. For this occasion we formed a wedding choir. So, Roman showed up right in the center of my living room. It was almost like “love at first sight. ” We didn’t hesitate very long, as we immediately started singing and liking each other right away.
Maxim Vaga, a true Berlin original, creates a modern take on blues which allows your mind to dip deep into the history of ghostly shanties of barge haulers of the Volga river. This Friday June 20th 2014, Maxim Vaga will perform at the St. Georg in Kreuzberg. S2S met up with the musician who is inspired by great lyrical word jugglers like Poe, Kafka, Orson Welles and Knut Hamsun.
S2S: Why did you choose ‘vaga’ as your artist name?
Maxim Vaga: Well, there are several reasons. The most obvious reason of course is the connection to ‘vagabond’, but also the word ‘vague’ – which for me has a positive as well as a negative connotation, in the sense that indecisiveness can sometimes create a balance. After I wrote the song, ‘Hunger’, I read a book by John Fante, in which the main character was reading a novel called Hunger. I read this novel after. It fit surprisingly well to the song I had just written. I did some research about the author, Knut Hamsun, and found out that he was from a Norwegian area called Vaga. It was a chain of coincidences that made me keep the name.
Bisque Rage Vol.6 Berlin is an all-day Berserk video challenge on June 14th that plans to gather 150 berserk filmmakers from all around Europe to shoot and make some original, creative and experimental moving content in just 9 hours.
After a big success in Sweden, Korea, Switzerland, France and Denmark it was about time to take the sixth challenge to Berlin. Leo Marthaler is one of the organizers. Stephanie Tendler got the load-down.
S2S: If you could participate this Saturday what would the theme of your film be?
Leo Marthaler: BB (The Barefoot Basterds) – It would definitely involve explosions, Currywurst and machetes, and it would be a love story, I like that … A man meets a girl and explosions. Kind of like Lola Rennt.
On May 28th, the first global Menstrual Hygiene Daywill ‘break the bloody taboo’ and open up the conversation about menstruation. With more than 130 international and local organizations on board, people are coming together to raise awareness about the fundamental role that menstrual hygiene management plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.
S2S spoke to Danielle Keiser from WASH United, the Berlin-based initiator and award-winning international social impact organization that uses the power of sports superstars, interactive games and positive communications to change attitudes and behaviors around sanitation and hygiene at scale.
S2S: How did the idea to have a Menstrual Hygiene Day come to life? How did your organization become aware of the problems related to menstrual hygiene? Continue reading →
Time Out refers to him as ‘The Maestro of the Underground.’ For over 30 years, the multi-talented Ken Parsons has been active in Berlin’s, as well as, Europe’s underground scene.
S2S met the singer, poet, cabaret artist and Celtic harp playing musician who was a member of the cult group Who’s Rachel? which was based at Tacheles in Berlin from 1987-95. Recently, Ken recorded a new cd with the producer Sarah Brightman.
S2S: You have encountered Berlin before and after the wall came down. Are there unique experiences that stand out in your memory?
Ken Parsons: Massive question. In short: before the wall came down and in the early 90’s it was more edgy, punky and had a huge squat scene in Mitte and P-Berg. It was like San Franciso in 67. Endless festival. Magic. These days it has got the ‘place to be’ label stuck to it. True but ‘trendification’ can be as bad as gentrification.
With her unique look and “Berliner Schnauze,” fashion designer Esther Perbandt is anything but ordinary. Her androgynous silhouettes are blurred with deconstructed details, referencing classical menswear. S2S met up with the Berlin designer who was born and raised in Berlin and stays true to her individual style, no matter what the rest of the fashion world might say.
S2S: You state that you were already fascinated by fashion at an early age. When did you get to the point of actually transforming that passion into your personal career, your vision?
Esther Perbandt: I made up my mind at the age of 12. I grew up without TV. Instead there was a huge treasure chest with dress up clothes. So, already as a kid I was mesmerized by adopting different identities. Some even would say that it was boring to play Barbie with me, as I was more interested in undressing and redressing them, rather than constructing a proper plot.
“There are things known and there are things unknown and in between those are the doors of perception,” Aldous Huxley famously stated.
On April 24th Fellini Gallery is opening the exhibition “Captured Nature.” The theme of the show focuses on each individual’s critical perspective arising from and reflecting on the experience of natural surroundings. William Blake observed: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” The works selected for this exhibition demonstrate the artist as active perceiver, entwined in a role played by the body as catalyst for perception. The reflections of self entail a totality not merely about that which is inside the skin, but an integrated total environment. “If we don’t experience ourselves in this way, we mistreat our environment. We treat it as an enemy. We try to beat it into submission, and if we do that comes disaster,” already warned Alan Watts. The visitors of the exhibition are invited to decide these questions for themselves.
S2S met up with Stefano Bosis who is one of the seven contemporary artists exhibiting his work within the exhibition “Captured Nature.”
On April 24th Notes from Underground will once again let the cellar walls of St.Georg shake. The setting with the old murals in the heart of Kreuzberg is an insider tip apart from the brilliant luster and hipsterchic. Follow the sounds rising from the underground that will lead you down into the former wine cellar.
Martin Goett one of Heidelberg’s most talented singer song writers will open the night, touching the hearts of his audience with his gravelly voice. Followed by the international brass-toting, Berlin based band Strangers by Day. Drawing on influences from 50’s and 60’s rock ‘n’ roll with raw vocals and incorporating smooth harmonies from the doo-wop and soul groups of the same era, Strangers by Daydeliver original tunes with a gritty vintage vibe. Join them for a night that will end with the finest vinyl tunes from the newborn label finowzoo.
S2S was in Interview with Angela Cory and Uri Mohilever from the bandStrangers by Day.
This weekend, from March 21st-22nd the former department store “Kaufhaus Jandorf” will open its doors to Fashion Circus BERLIN – a fashion and design festival with runway shows, exhibitions, a large designer market, as well as delicious food provided by Bite Club. In its third installment, Live Networking Fashion & Art (LNFA) and Montagsmarkt, a platform for young designers, creatives and collectors, collaborate on Fashion Circus BERLIN. S2S spoke to Valeria Klapproth of Montagsmarkt, one of the initiators of this year’s event to get some insights on Fashion Circus.
S2S: How did the idea for Fashion Circus Berlin come to life and how does this event compare to the atmosphere at a circus?
Valeria Klapproth: Katja Weber of “Montagsmarkt” (with Vania Kukleta) and I met some time ago in Berlin. Together, we made the decision to transfer the market concept which originated in Switzerland where I am from, to Berlin. Some weeks ago LNFA approached us, asking if we were interested in organizing a designer market with them.
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, which is inherently found in the elegant minimalist style of WOMAN.MADE – a collection of hand-made jewelry created from raw materials. S2S talked to Stephanie Johne, the creator of WOMAN.MADE who calls the world of fashion, music, art and interior design her experimental playground.
S2S: Three years ago, in 2011, WOMAN.MADE was born. What was your initial inspiration for your project?
Stephanie Johne, WOMAN.MADE: I was just about to finish my studies in art history at the time, writing my thesis about Jean-Michel Basquiat who greatly inspired me. I knew that this was the beginning of a new era for me, and at the same time, it was like a breakup with my previous life. Since Basquiat accompanied me for such a long time, I kind of felt like I was about to lose a good old friend. I wanted to keep his spirit and all the ideas that popped up while reading about him alive. That was the moment when I decided to found WOMAN.MADE – dedicated to Basquiat’s former T-shirt brand with the name man.made. However, he was not well-known for this – actually, I remember this aspect was only briefly mentioned in his biography – but the name stuck and the idea to create my own label was born.
New Yorkers are often envious of the spacious and relatively affordable apartments many people in Berlin can call their home. But not all of its inhabitants are fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads. Streets of Berlin is a video platform, which focuses on poverty and homelessness. The page was founded by Omid Mirnour, a 22 year old from Aachen who came to Berlin in April 2012 to study Media Management. Mirnour noticed very quickly that Berlin has a much higher density of homeless people than other cities. In fact, the prominence of people living on the street is so drastic that it seems to have a desensitizing effect on the rest of Berlin’s residents. Many Berliners easily overlook and ignore others in need. Mirnour wants to change that.
S2S: What is your personal motivation for Streets of Berlin?
Omid Mirnour: I started to ask myself with every encounter I had how this person was put into this situation? What has to happen so that you become homeless? Did every single person living in the street have to endure a stroke of fate? How do you live as a homeless person and what happens to you on an everyday basis? All these questions built the foundation for this project. So one day, I rented a camera and asked homeless people if they would be up to telling me something about their lives. The first stories that I heard startled and fascinated me so much that I wanted to hear more from the streets of Berlin. This is how the project slowly started coming to life.
Are you looking for a cool location for a photo shoot, a fashion show or an exhibition? Your search is over. David & Galstaun Studio is Berlin’s premier photography studio and exhibition showroom, owned by Matthias David and Simone Galstaun. Located in a stylish loft in the heart of Prenzlauerberg’s Kastanienallee, David & Galstaun Studio offers a sprawling space of over 220 square meters that can be rented for your productions.
Station to Station met up with Simone Galstaun to take a peek behind the scenes and find out what drove David and Galstaun to create this amazing studio space that most recently hosted the fashion showcase for the label Birke van Maartens and was the setting for an exciting event within the Berlinale 2014 last Saturday.
I was asked to review one of the films I have recently seen at the Berlin Film Festival Berlinale 2014 by my dear friend Stefanie Tendler. At first, I was not sure which one I should pick, but leaving the Friedrichstadtpalast on Saturday with a feeling of grief, my gut feeling told me “Jack“ was going to be just the right kind of film to tell you about.
A German production set in Berlin seemed perfect for S2S and most definitely stands for that kind of quality and beauty of German film that will hopefully make it across the German borders. If you are familiar with Berlin, you may recognize some of the places shown in “Jack.” However, as joyful as it may be to see your city as the setting of a film, the story told could have happened anywhere. Jack, our protagonist is around 10 years old and takes care of his younger brother Manuel. His mother is loving and caring when she actually spends time with her children, but often too busy and generally overwhelmed, she is not dedicating enough time to them. She places the burden of all responsibilities on the shoulders of her oldest son.
You spotted an incredibly strange flyer that you absolutely had to photograph and share on Facebook with your friends. You thought, wouldn’t it be great if an entire website would be dedicated to these postings. Guess what.
Notes of Berlin is exactly that. The incredibly funny, participatory blog is an homage to all the notifications that can be found daily all over Berlin. Stefanie Tendler chatted with its initiator Joab Nist.
S2S: In October 2010 you launched „Notes of Berlin,“ how did the idea for the blog evolve?
Joab Nist/Notes of Berlin: The idea came to life in Berlin. In 2004, I moved from Munich to Berlin, because of the city, not because I was accepted to University or due to a job offer. I was impressed by everything Berlin had to offer, even just riding on the subway. Everything was the polar opposite to Munich and since I always have had a passion for photography, I never left my house without my camera and came to Berlin with the intention to take a lot of pictures. I stayed alert when I walked around the city, stepping into corridors to get some insight, inspecting every place I encountered very intensively.
Made from a selection of handpicked, high quality fabrics, the young label BIRKE VAN MAARTENS creates fashion with timeless elegance, fused with folding techniques and embellished styles. The first collection which will be launched at Berlin Fashion Week in January 2014, plays on antonyms of purity. We met up with Birke van Maartens to reveal some of the secrets behind her label.
S2S: You get your inspiration from Origami, the Japanese traditional art of paper-folding. How does Japanese culture inspire you, what do you like about this unique folding technique and how does it affect your designs?
FIER management launches FIER vitrine during Berlin Fashion Week AW14/15. A curated selection of emerging avant-garde and contemporary fashion and accessories designers will present their collections at this year’s new fashion show organized by FIER management. Elise Ballegeer, a New Yorker designer based in Berlin will be part of the exciting event, introducing her latest fashion collection.
S2S: In 2009 you decided to leave the Big Apple to come to the German metropolis with the famous TV tower to realize your vision of a personal fashion label Elise Ballegeer. You impressed the fashion cognoscenti with your two collections at the fashion week last summer and were rewarded with success. What made you leave New York City and come to Berlin?
Based in Berlin, the esteemed baroque ensemble Musica Sequenza was founded in New York City by conductor/bassoon virtuoso Burak Ōzdemir in 2008.
Burak Ōzdemir believes that contemporary society has lost enthusiasm and “become foreign to the poetry of love.” Musica Sequenza rediscovered the Seicento, a period in Italian history and culture which occurred during the 17th century. Ōzdemir explains that “especially in Italy this century was devoted to the relinquishing of god-fearing sentiment. Women were described as diaphanes, love became a storm cloud, their enchanting odor a sweet allurement.”
Originally Till Leinen and Jonathan Schmalöer wanted to realize diverse projects without a commercial attempt. They sprayed walls with digitally constructed designs, created Christmas cards and even produced short film clips. 4-5 months ago the idea for a clothing line came to life. The evolvement of the initial idea to the actual end product took some time, as Till and Jonathan only wanted to publish results they were 100 % satisfied with.
On December 1st the two designers launched their online store: Hashart!
For almost a decade Jule and Anni have been sharing styling tips, gossip and stories about their love lives. Both in their prime (around 30) they are living in Berlin. Anni is married, Jule is single. Anni can write, Jule can take pictures. A dream team on a mission, focused on the lonely hearts of this city that seemed to be in need of a new singles magazine – Im Gegenteil (Au contraire). Their goal is making themselves and others happy!
Jule/Im Gegenteil: We were at a bar in Neukölln on a girl’s night out and we started pondering about how many interesting singles we actually know and how it would be amazing to get them all into one room. We reached a point where we realized that the issue of most of the singles was meeting the right person in Berlin. I personally can also relate to this matter and Anni has tried hooking me up many times already.
Abigail Dyer, a dramatic soprano born in West Orange, New Jersey, is part of this year’s “30 Tage Kunst,” a cultural series in Berlin launched by the actor Hans Brücknerin the year of 2009. This year it will be hosted by the orangelab located at Ernst-Reuter-Platz. Artists and people interested in art have the entire month of November to watch and enjoy a variety of different acts and performances. Stefanie Tendler of S2S met up with Abigail Dyer to discuss her passion for Wagner, the city of Berlin and a fortunate meeting that had an influence on the development of her early career.
S2S: You trained as an actress in Adler Technique, as well as a singer in Berlin. Has there been a tight connection between you and this city ever since?
It all started one fateful summer night along the east river in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, when violinist Bennet “The English” Cerven was playing a loft party overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Fellow musician B-Zy Brain spontaneously joined him in an impromptu jam session. They found their third member, drummer Olli/Oliver Maguire, on the road and became The Trouble Notes. After New York City, London, Dublin and Prague, The Trouble Notes’ whirlwind tour finally led them to the streets of Berlin. Stefanie Tendler struck up a conversation with Bennet Cerven and The Trouble Notes when she discovered the trio playing at Warschauer Strasse the other night.
S2S: What meaning does street music have in your life as a band?
The Trouble Notes: There is no better way to show people what you do than to stand on a corner (or under a bridge!), pop open a case and just play. Continue reading →
Practicing artist, emeritus professor of sculpture at Kunsthochschule Weißensee, and most recently founder of The Stallmuseum, Inge Mahn turns 70 this autumn. To mark the event, how does this prolific creative force choose to celebrate? With an exhibition, of course!
Inge Mahn’s fourth solo exhibition at Emerson Gallery Berlin, entitled “Canon” serves as a comprehensive retrospective of four decades of her artistic output. Unbroken by walls and doors, the airy single exhibition hall of Emerson Gallery Berlin, on the banks of the river Spree provides ample space for long unseen works of art to appear in a discourse with new pieces created specifically for this retrospective. Stefanie Tendler talked to Inge Mahn and gallerist Russell Radzinski.
“What has always made Berlin such an interesting place are the many different characters that come and go as well as the the fact that this city is always changing.”
Being a relative newcomer to Berlin, Katerina Oikonomakou found an interesting way to explore the city and meet its colorful people. She started an online magazine called Berlin Interviews which is all about talking to strangers who happen to be artists and thinkers whose work she finds stimulating. But Katerina is no stranger to journalism, she is editor-at-large for the online fashion magazine ladies & gents, as well as a contributor to the Greek monthly “the books’ journal.” S2S wanted to find out more about Berlin Interviews and what brought Katerina from Athens to Berlin.
S2S: Katerina, you are usually the one who asks the questions – how does it feel to be the interviewee vs. the interviewer?
KO: A little strange. I’m tempted to put some questions marks here and there!
“You have to take your time and wait for the right moment to come. Don’t push and shove too much. Patience is the key to success!” Hans Brückner
November is a dreary month – especially in Berlin! But at least Berliners can look forward to an exciting program of visual and performance art every single evening this coming month. Musicians, authors, actors and visual artists will entertain and amaze the audience with a truly exceptional program during 30 Tage Kunst (30 days of Art) at the orangelab. Station to Station met up with the actor and initiator of 30 Tage Kunst, Hans Brückner.
You don’t notice the orangelab when you come up the stairs from the subway tunnel. Located on West Berlin’s Ernst-Reuter-Platz 2, a traffic circle close to the Technical University Berlin, it blends in with the other rather gray buildings amongst where it is situated. This former server room of an IBM office in a landmarked building, doesn’t seem like the ideal spot for Berlin’s art and cultural scene.
Jacinta Nandi has been living in Berlin so long that she actually does that thing where when you get on the U-Bahn you calculate which subway car to get into to ensure that when you disembark you won’t have to walk very far at all in order to get out of the station. WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT. Plus, Jacinta Nandi writes a column called Amok-Mama for the English-language Berlin magazine Exberliner. In 2011 her first audio book Deutsch werden: Why German people love playing frisbee with their nana naked was published by Periplaneta. S2S’s Mike Trupiano chatted with Nandi about all things German, including our own home-brewed racism and what Berliner expression turns her on.
Mike Trupiano: Where are you from?
Jacinta Nandi: Essex. I always say to Germans that I come from London coz they’ve never heard of Essex. Some people think I’m ashamed of being from Essex. I don’t think I am. I quite like it. I am a typical Essex girl – sex-mad, loud-mouthed and opinionated.
“Everyone assumes that life in the GDR was bleak, grey and utterly depressing. But I could show you parts of my hometown Manchester that look exactly the same.”
If you have ever been to a tourist attraction in Berlin you most likely have encountered the numerous peddlers of souvenirs from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Anything from miniature Lenin busts to the ubiquitous hammer and sickle flags can be had for a couple of Euros. For most of us, these objects are merely remnants of a lost Empire we have only heard about. When filmmaker Ian Hawkins first purchased a GDR t-shirt he felt compelled to learn more about how life really was on the other side of wall.
Mike Trupiano: You made a doc which I thought was great called My DDR T-Shirt. Why did you make it? What was it about?
Ashley Jones zooms in on people and art. She is always looking for the perfect moment, completely immersed in the production of the photographs and always in synch with her subjects.
Two very different cultures are part of her identity, with a Dad from Ghana and a Mom from the northern part of Germany called East Frisia. She grew up in Mönchengladbach in a very sheltered home, raised by her Mom and has followed a rather straight path in life, confidently taking one step at a time. The real fun started after she graduated from University – the excitement of freedom and self-fulfillment.
S2S met with Ashley to find out more about her life in front of the camera as well as her passion for being behind it.
“I prefer to consider electronic club-music as a unique thing. And this means to me no idols, no icons, and no heroes.”
Matteo Bovio, also known as Qubo is a DJ and Producer, born in Varese, Italy in 1983. When he was eight years old he began to play the piano. From then on his passion for music kept growing and he became familiar with the guitar and bass. But his passion for music didn’t stop with instruments…
S2S met up with Matteo Bovio to find out how he discovered his true love – electronic music.
S2S: Do you have a special memory regarding your first encounter with electronic music?
MB: I consider myself lucky because ever since I was very little, I’ve been surrounded by true music lovers. If I think of the people who have influenced my musical culture, the first thing that strikes my mind, is that all of them shared one thing: an open attitude. Continue reading →
“When you have content the form almost finds itself automatically.”
Berlin turned into a catwalk this week. Fashion Week Berlin attracts designers and everyone who is influential in fashion. Movers and shakers in the fashion industry, media representatives and celebrities came together in Berlin to see the trends of the next season.
Fashion also played an important role for S2S Berlin this week, but not with fashion on the catwalk or what you would buy in a boutique – not yet at least.
The world of fashion often focuses on beauty, perfection or flawlessness and it doesn’t stop there. The cuts of clothing are designed for bodies with certain proportions, neglecting those with a different physique, plus size folks, and people with physical disabilities. Lisa Polk and Christian Schinnerl dealt with this topic and designed clothing for people with Trisomy21– Down Syndrome. As clothes off the rack do not fit, due to sleeves that are too short, collars that are too tight or simply the length of the shirt that doesn’t suit their body proportions, they decided to start creating a shirt collection. Stefanie Tendler of S2S talked to Polk and Schinnerl about their amazing project.
James Harris wonders what he did wrong in his past life.
Of all things, he is an English standup comedian in Berlin since 2004. For S2S our American correspondent Mike Trupiano discusses with Harris the trials and tribulations of trying to make Berliners laugh.
S2S: So, you’re from Nottingham, England and you perform English standup comedy in Berlin. How are German audiences? Rowdy?
James Harris: Unlike in Britain, I’ve certainly never encountered a very drunk German crowd. There’s the guy in every audience in Britain who think’s he’s funnier than the comedian and wants to impress his date by proving that. This person is not present in Germany generally. I find German audiences generally very respectful and, I have to say, sometimes a little bit too respectful.
Regina Dwomoh was born in Kumasi, Ghana but grew up in the German city Mönchengladbach. In 2002 she decided to move to Berlin to go to acting school. Yet she always felt attached to her native soil and the cultural diversity of her home country. The colorful fabrics that represent Ghana hold a special meaning to her, so she decided to create Serwaa – a fashion label focusing on bed linen, which is hand-crafted from high quality African materials. Stefanie Tendler met up with Regina to find out what inspired her to found Serwaa.
S2S: How would you describe Serwaa?
RD: You’re not going to look like a wallflower with Serwaa [Regina flashes a big smile]. Serwaa is cheeky, proud and self confident. For me it is the feminine gateway of the continents, wanting to cross territorial borders. Continue reading →
Renowned Berlin poet Zehra Çirak, recipient of prestigious literary prizes such as the Friedrich-Hölderlin-Förderpreis and the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize has been praised for the evocative and inventive manner in which she uses language. Born in Istanbul, she grew up in a small town in Germany and left school at sixteen to learn to be a cosmetician. Barely out of her teens, she published her first volume of poetry Flugfänger, featuring artwork by sculptor Jürgen Walter with whom she lives and works in Berlin. Here, Marilya Veteto Reese, who was among the first U.S. Germanists to interview and write about Turkish-German writers interviews Çirak for S2S.
Consumerism is constantly being questioned in socio-political discussions regarding the economy. Where does art fit into the act of consuming? Mass media consumption in our time has been criticized for reducing citizens to passive puppets. This criticism now seems to manifest itself in new definitions of consuming art as well, a focal point in the work of Fabian Altenried, the initiator of the art project Exeo In A Spasm and member of the Schuldenberg Foundation (Mt. Debt Foundation). S2S’s Burcu Sahin, talked to Altenried’s about the Foundation’s recent production Exeo In A Spasm and Altenried’s desire to rouse to action artists and spectators alike. Exeo In A Spasm was performed as Live Cinema with video screenings, music and performance on the 29th of March 2013, at the well-known cinema Babylon at Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Mitte, Berlin. It was performed with Claudia Barth, Wanda Koller, Nataliya Dubova, Sebastian Ludwig di Salvatore, Kristof Gerega, Roman Schlonski and Rudi Spring.