Archive for the 'Architecture' Category



He ran to catch the bus at every stop

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After hugs and best wishes from the staff at Auberge de Sud we were driven to the nearby town of Erfoud to catch our bus to Ouarzazate.  On the way there, we stopped by and said hello to a family of Berber travelers and this grave site below.  Then we grabbed some fresh dates at the market, anxiously handed our bags up to the man on the roof of the bus (no, no room below but don’t worry he says), and grabbed two seats across from the door at the back.

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fresh squeezed orange juice, everywhere.

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We seemed to make all the local stops and we started to notice that one of the guys got off every time but never took a seat; he would just rest by the back door until the bus slowed.  Then he would hop off and disappear, we would start to leave then, just as we hit the edge of the town the boy would come running along side the bus and hop in the open side door with ease.  At first I was nervous for him, after witnessing my obvious amazement he seemed to cut it closer and closer to further impress.  I stopped being nervous for him and more curious about where he was running off to.  As far as I could tell he was running into all the local cafes and telling everyone the bus had arrived, which is pretty amazing service.

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An example of a typical Moroccan toilet, could be better could be worse.

Mint Tea on a Hot Day in Fes

The Riad we stayed in didn’t seem real, gorgeous mosaic over every inch and an opening to the sky in the center so that the light of the day seeped in.

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We headed out, repeatedly having to remind each other that we were here in Morocco, taking the trip we’d talked about over dozens of dinners at Mogador.

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Fresh squeezed orange juice stands everywhere

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The way we look in Arabic

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Graveyard

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Lounging donkeys

My Sister and I have developed a great dynamic, we both like to see the sights and have those days that are so filled they feel like weeks when you look back on them but in order to appreciate them we also have lazy afternoons.  Plus she’s gotten really understanding about stopping a thousand times for me to take or take and retake photos.

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Spices in the Medina

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After getting our bus tickets, walking through the Medina, checking out the tanneries (where I haggled for a camel leather bag), and taking tons of pictures we ended up on a terrace sipping mint tea, playing cards, and smiling about how amazing everything was.

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Fes had the best mint tea

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The Tannery

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A Berber Pharmacy

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Cafe Clock view from above and lunch on the roof

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mint, everywhere

Before we left when my Sister was planning things she had asked me if I was ok with an overnight bus trip so that we would have enough time to see Fes and the desert.  I had almost scoffed at her worry; listen I’ve been working through nights lately a bus ride where we can sleep sounds nice.

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We met some Spanish clowns at the hotel bar

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Fresh Kefta, yes please.

And you know it could’ve been, we were prepared for nearly everything.  After having some wine at the one bar in Fes (inside a very nice hotel) we grabbed some delicious kefta kebab, had a coffee, used the bathrooms, bought some water and boarded the bus at 10pm.  We even had the whole back seat to ourselves to stretch out.dsc_0338

When you think of Morocco frigid temperatures don’t really come to mind, certainly not mine when I packed.  My Sister was able to run out and grab her pack at one of the stops since my coat was not doing the job.  As we drove through the High Atlas Mountains we proceeded to layer on every item of clothing my Sister had packed, with the holes in the seats opening directly to the air whizzing past the speeding bus it was really no use.  We hugged each others feet and shivered our way to Merzouga.

Sundays

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Museum fur Naturkunde Berlin

I kept going back to this post to finish writing it, saving the draft after writing a few sentences and adding a few photos, then coming back a few days later to find that my thoughts had completely changed.  It started as a post about feeling stuck and rather lazy but then I was going through my photos and I realized I’ve been doing a lot of amazing things.  I suppose I paid more attention to the couple days of guilt ridden laziness than I did to the weeks of work and exploring the city.

The Natural History Museum was fabulous, as Natural History Museums almost always are.  My favorite is the Specola Museum in Florence and of course you can’t go wrong with the NHM in New York.  This one in Berlin holds the record for the tallest mounted dinosaur skeleton though,the Brachiosaurus brancai measuring in at 43 ft 6 in high.  And they had a great Darwin exhibit up.

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Artwork with Matchbooks from the Scala Opening

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View from the second floor of the AA Studio

Highlights

It’s been a while.  My procrastination tendancies have shifted recently, instead of ignoring things like excersize and openings across town for books, long meals, and blogging it’s been the other way around.  I think it’s because Spring is coming.  Whatever the reason I’m trying to embrace the change of pace.

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The kids artwork in the bathtub

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Winnie with the world at her back after work

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The coffee mugs that were.

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The day we didn’t work and sipped coffee all day instead.

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I wish I could live in a lamp shop.  I love them.

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Blumen (flower) Shop in the U Bahn station.

Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers then Dancing

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Sprüth Magers Berlin is delighted to present Cindy Sherman’s first exhibition of new work in Europe since 2004. The fourteen colour photographs assembled develop Sherman’s longstanding investigation into notions of gender, beauty and self-fashioning, and reveal a particular concern to probe experiences and representations of aging. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has developed an extraordinary relationship with her camera, and her audience, capturing herself in a range of guises and personas which are by turn alarming and amusing, distasteful and poignant. A remarkable performer, subtle distortions of her face and body are captured on camera, leaving the artist unrecognizable as she deftly alters her features, and brazenly manipulates her surroundings.

Each of the women which feature in Sherman’s new exhibition share an acute consciousness of glamour and social hierarchy, which is both disquietingly flagrant and sardonically relevant to contemporary obsessions with image and status. In one photograph (Untitled #465, 2008), the fiercely proud eyes of a woman installed in her warped and blurred country estate stare out of a face regrettably cracked and peeling with age, ill concealed by make-up, hair-dye or expensive pearls. In another work from the series (Untitled #467, 2008), a woman with a tight sequined skirt, fake gold jewellery and extravagant fake white nails also glares out, perhaps daring the viewer to call her trash, or ruefully acknowledging that this is what she is. It is ultimately impossible, however, to fix any stable narrative in Sherman’s work; different levels of pretence and authenticity operate and interact in her images to complicate any straightforward reading of her characters, or the stories they might tell the viewer.

Find the full press release here.

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Winnie, Anna, and Ford

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I really loved the show, the space was wonderful (above photo is the ceiling) and it felt good to meet other artists and discuss the photos.

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After the gallery opening Harriet (above) had the grand idea of heading to Clärchens Ballhaus, a wonderful dance hall that has been hosting dances since 1913.  Even through war this place was said to have kept going.  On this particular evening it was Swing night, we mostly just watched, but towards the end we couldn’t resist and ended up going out and giving it a go.  The whole thing made me so happy, these elderly couples who were obviously regulars along side teenagers who wanted to learn from the masters.  Anyone who ever believed Germans to be cold and unfriendly has obviously never been here, the happy warmth seemed to radiate.

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My favorite had to be this older man who looked at least 80 that had a smile on his face the whole night.  All the girls were dancing with him and even a few men which was truly heartwarming to see.  Not only these beautiful people dancing around and losing their self consciousness in it but also these big German men dancing together, everyone smiling.  I didn’t get to see the upstairs but here are some photos from the web.  If you come to Berlin I highly recommend this being one of your stops!

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Artists Annonymous

I almost started to run but decided walking quickly would be less ridiculous, I was only 5 minutes late and I knew somewhere in the back of my head I was the only one who would notice or worry about it.  That all seems silly now that I know the place.

The Artists Annoymous are three people.  Here is their website.  When I came in the first time on that weekend in Berlin, I met with Ed and he explained to me that they needed interns for an upcoming show in Amsterdam.  An installation based on a video game which would be built here then transported by trucks and set up at the gallery there.  After I moved here and emailed Ed about coming in he said great, wear something you can get dirty.

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Ford and Harriet from inside the last bits of the pin hole camera

In my experience with photography I never got really good and dirty,  I mean you can’t really get chemicals all over without causing some serious damage.  There’s something quite satisfying about making things and coming home a bit more sore, with paint around the edges of your fingernails, and scrapes on your knuckles.  It’s a whole new sense of feeling useful.

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Anna in the palm of a giant hand

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Level headed Harriet

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Serena and Winnie making paper flowers in the new open space

The first day I was there we tore down a giant pin hole camera that was taking up too much space in the studio.   Then we started to build. The process has been a lot of give and take, discussing, and cups of coffee stirred with ends of rulers or pencils.

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The whole story of my new home

I’ve found an apartment that I really love.

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At first I looked for studios and one bedroom apartments, they were still cheaper than any rent I’d seen anywhere decent to live in New York and lately I’ve really been craving my own place.  A kitchen that I want to sit and sip coffee in, a hallway with artwork, and a bathroom that is not relatable to a dorm bathroom in any way.

Then I realized I’m moving to a new city where I don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone and I kind of freaked out.  The appointment I had with a realtor about an apartment that required a year lease and proof of income from the last six months, it didn’t help.  Plus most of the places just came with a bed or in some cases just a mattress, and sometimes a desk. So I started looking at the rooms/sublets page of Craigslist and after a week of not so great appointments I was about to buy a plane ticket back to the states.

It was raining and I had taken the wrong train and the directions I could’ve sworn I’d put in my day planner were missing.  How did I get here? What the fuck am I doing here? Argh. I missed my friends and knowing what street signs said and overhearing conversations.

So after six appointments that ranged from really nice to quite scary looking I ended up at what would be my final meeting.  It was in Prenzlaur Berg, lots of coffee shops, cozy restaurants, and a park.  The building was 17/18 and the bamboo plant near the door leaned a bit as if it was waiting to see who was coming out.  When K answered the door I realized how funny I must look.  I was soaked with flakes of snow and my glasses were so fogged I could barely see.  He offered me a cappucino. He was much older than I’d thought and in the hallway I noticed a bunch of kids drawings proudly displayed.

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view of the kitchen from the window

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kitchen from the other side

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living room

K is American; he moved here about 9 years ago and has 2 kids, Lucy (pronounced Lootzy) and Leon and his girl friend N runs a company that rents rooms and apartments to students and travelers.  The kids are here with him every other week.  I would be taking the room across from the bathroom towards the front of the house, currently Ross was living there, another American who’s doing his masters here in German History. He was set to move to another place at the end of February, I would stay in K’s room until then, and K who was going to Italy in two days with N would be gone for a week anyways.

When I told my Sister and my friends, I kind of sort of didn’t mention the kids.

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book shelf in the living room

So I’m 24, I consider myself an independent lady, I’ve lived away from home in a number of places and situations.  When I imagined my life in Berlin, it was very chic and sophisticated, going to the great parties and dating and being in the know about all those things I’m supposed to be in the know about.  I’d throw dinner parties and have minimalist art work on my walls and start wearing heels more often.  I’ve met the realization that I’m not this person many times, and I honestly don’t even want to be that person.  I like my disheveled collection of post cards and my to do lists and big unflattering sweaters.  And even though it is a bit difficult for me to admit to myself and my independent friends: I really like the idea of living in a home that reminds me that there are things bigger than my take on the world.

dsc_0005my room (for now) the one I will be in is bigger and white.  I’ll post photos at a later date

For right now, that is seeing kids (although not being responsible for their care) and living with someone who will ask me how my day was and being reminded that not only am I not only a hot 20 something artist but that the rest of the world isn’t either.

So there you have it, my new home, feel free to send me letters and postcards!  (just email me and I’ll be happy to give you my address).

Sickinger Hof

When I arrived late Saturday night to the Haupbanhauf Station in Berlin it was almost as I had remembered it but that was why it wasn’t the same as the first time I came, I already met this place, albeit briefly.

I took a cab to my hotel since I hadn’t been feeling so great.  It could have been the Ritz and I wouldn’t have noticed all I cared, I was in such need of rest that I sleepwalked through the first impressions.  When I woke in the morning and went down for breakfast I pushed past it then too.  But after my jam and bread, coffee and orange juice, and out of place hard boiled egg I finally met the Sickinger Hof Hotel where I would be staying until I found an apartment.

A friend once told me he and his family had to live in a hotel for a while when he was a kid; he talked about it with this sort of unfinished face about it like even after all these years he still didn’t know how that had made him feel.  Seeing that face had made me instantly regret envying him.

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At the Sickinger Hof my room had three bed like pads, a window, a sink with a mirror, a tv above the sink, and a rather sad empty closet with nothing in it.   There was a bathroom down the hall as well as a public shower that was either scalding or freezing.  I didn’t see many people while I was there; a british couple that were always rolling their eyes and yelling at each other, a group of Germans, and an older Italian couple that I instantly felt obligated to help.  At breakfast a few other people were sitting solo but it’s harder to spy on people that are also spying on you.

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Most of my days were spent out, it felt like I visited all the train stations in Berlin.  Without knowing the city I ended up making appointments throughout the day in all different places and usually took the less than direct routes to get there.  Other than that it was coffee shops with wireless, keeping to myself, and calmly sipping while panicking about my future.*

I wonder when you stop being a tourist in a place?  With trying to find an apartment and a job being my main priorities I stopped seeing the city as the places I had to see before I left.  Now that I had no immediate plans of leaving I wondered in areas picturing myself walking home everyday.  Adopting landmarks instead of taking I was there photos.  It doesn’t surprise me that every person I know that was born and raised in new york has never been to the empire state building.

* it sounds bad but believe me if I have the time to write a blog post reflecting about it, I am certainly well enough.  I’m sorry if my previous posted caused concern (Mom).

Now What?

Parma was wonderful but I had nothing to do.  So I rested and tried to catch up on things.  I started emailing people about apartments in Berlin, laying out a map on the floor and reading about ex-Pats advice for getting a German Visa.  I started smoking again and knitting like a maniac.

Some highlights from my Parma trip:

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Snow storm the day after I arrived with huge puffy snowflakes that made my Sister and I say “this snow is crazy” a few more times than necessary.

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The view from my Sisters apartment window, which I know I’ve photographed before and will probably photograph again.  Something about those chimneys and the window that I love but can’t seem to capture quite right.

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This is the beer bar in Parma, Mastiff, where Christiana (the best bar tender ever) jokes with my Sister, Kate, and I.  We went there a few times during my stay and always ended up meeting new people.  I loved it here because I was able to have a beer, get comfortable, and speak Italian.  It was nice to talk to people, tell stories, learn new words, and stop over thinking it long enough to really speak.  We talked about religion, art, love, history, and of course food.

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I took a lot of long walks, catching up on This American Life, and generally going through the cycle of excitement, anxiety, cynicism, astonishment, and butterflies that comes with figuring out my life.dsc_0896 I had an offer from London thrown into the mix, to be an Au Pair for a little girl.  It paid really well, with health insurance, and a place to stay.  I felt like kind of a jerk.  Hadn’t I just felt so wonderful about starting a life in the art world in Berlin? The scent of cash and job security was really making me put all that on hold? Then again it was a great offer, Berlin would still be there in a year.

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In the midst of all this, Jennifer (my Sister’s room mate) found a kitten in the back courtyard of their apartment.  She was limping and cold and even though they aren’t supposed to have animals we took it in for the night.

and everything changed

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The next day I woke up and had a quick breakfast before jumping on the U Bahn to go to the East Side Gallery.  The introduction page of my guide book to Berlin says this is not a beautiful city this is a city that has been through so much that it seeps from each space.

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The East Side Gallery is a remaining part of the wall that’s been left for artists to use as a canvas.  I took about 298749874 photos:

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