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.
Last week, acclaimed director Thomas Ostermeier and the Berliner Schaubühne returned to BAM | Brooklyn Academy of Music with a contemporary adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play An Enemy of the People. S2S went to see what contemporary German theater is all about these days.
I highly anticipated Thomas Ostermeier‘s Berliner Schaubühne adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, since my first love of all the arts was the theater. Sitting in the dark, all by myself in immediate vicinity to the stage, without the protective arms of my parents, I got hooked at an early age when the company my father worked for would send kids to see The Wizard of Oz and other age appropriate plays during the Christmas holidays. Continue reading →
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.”
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.
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?
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!
I am among those who did not notice the Stolpersteine – the stumbling blocks or stones paved into Berlin’s sidewalks, at the entrances to buildings where Jews and other Others (Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, people with disabilities, communists and other dissidents) used to live prior to their expulsion and extermination between 1933-1945. I’ve heard about them, naturally, but ever since I came to Berlin, over a year ago, I simply couldn’t trace the Stolpersteine. And then, one day, my younger son stopped and stared at the pavement, and asked, ‘Mom, what’s that?’ And there they were, a few golden stones, remarkably reticent, the inscription minimal, starting with ‘Here Lived’ followed by name, date of birth, date of expulsion, destination, fate (usually murdered) and date and place of death (if known). ‘Ah!’ I said and stared for a while.
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 →
“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!
Part 1 of Daniel Brunet’s two-part series Aliens of Extraordinary Abilities places spectators in a dialogue with all manner of Berliners. Or are they ?
The public representation of Berlin street art offers an uncanny insight into the city’s psyche. Adorning a non-descript façade, one such provocative scrawl serves as inspiration for English TheatreBerlin ‘s Daniel Brunet in his documentary theatre piece exploring identity, with the backdrop of an ever undefinable Berlin.
Thomas Behrens is a fashion designer with a special vision. He is not interested in creating clothes for profit, rather Thomas Behrens strives to design a really good jacket that lets you dream and realize your fantasies. Hence, his collections are more conceptual than commercial in nature. A great emphasis is placed on workman-ship, materials and distinguishing characteristics. Thomas Behrens rebels against the cultural wasteland and boredom that prevails in fashion today. Which in turn, incites him to never work with beautiful but banal clichés like frills and felt flowers – just because it is fashionable. Thomas Behrens is finding innovation in precision.
After someone advised Thomas Behrens to concentrate on realistic everyday fashion he decided to create one last couture collection, inspired by Superstudio, the Italian architecture group who had a major influence on the Radical Architecture movement of the late 1960s. Like his architectural predecessors, Thomas Behrens’ design is heavily influenced by futuristic landscapes. The collection is called “Prototype” – challenging all aspect of design and technical limits. The collection is as much Behrens’ manifesto as it is a critique of contemporary fashion and the constraints of commerce. Ever the provocateur, Thomas Behrens staged a guerilla fashion show right in front of the main event tent during Berlin’s Fashion week.