Archive for the 'Work' Category

Meeting Up with AA in Amsterdam

My backpack was huge, I had a painting wrapped in some crumpled paper and a scarf, and I was ready to unpack.  When I arrived at the Ron Mandos Gallery in Amsterdam I was disoriented, not just from the early plane ride or only sleeping the night before but because this was the plan, the idea, the layout that we had been imagining for months.

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I walked through the forest room, noting how the trees had come together since they’d fallen apart on moving day.  The Cabaret Room wasn’t done yet and when I saw the worktable and the tools I knew, it was comforting.  Within a half hour I was back to working along side the other interns again, hearing all about the highs and lows of the weeks I’d miss.

“It must be completely different for you to see it, since you’ve been away.  You have kind of an outsiders perspective.”

It was different for me.  I had been so enveloped by my responsibilities as an intern but after Rome and non stop working when I got to Morocco my brain kind of put it aside to look at a bigger picture.  To be honest in my bigger picture, AA wasn’t nearly as important as I had made it during the work.

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I also felt quite guilty about abandoning the other interns, it was obvious they’d done a lot of hard work while I was gone.  When it’s 4am and you’ve been working since 10am, you share a kind of look with the person who’s been working along side you, I had lost the right to have this glance exchange and honestly I think it was that rather than the work that kept me going most of the time.

Check Out the Work

Although a few days later, on opening night, I think we all felt it.  We were proud and excited about finally getting to this moment we had worked towards for so long.  We enjoyed ourselves at the after party, complete with Dub step DJs and the crew from Fuck for Forest.

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Then it was time to part ways, Pedro on the train to Berlin, Serena, Winnie, and I in the car with the DJs, Sebastian stayed to visit some old friends, and Ford’s parents were meeting him to drive through France.  All of a sudden we were wearing clothes that weren’t covered in paint and baushaum and it was kind of weird.

Overwhelmed

So I have too many photos and not enough time to write the stories that go with them.  I had so much to tell about Morocco but ended up just throwing the photos up there since I had been back for over a month and have even more trips to blog about since then.  I also just arrived back in the states, so even more to tell.  I’m going to try to catch up but it may take a while.  Luckily I’ve been keeping up with putting things on Flickr so, check out what your missing there.

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290 x 290 x 500

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Four trucks at that size and one with an extra meter in length; all of them to be packed full with the contents of the installation we’d been working on for months.

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Moving days are always stressful and we knew some things would go wrong.  We had to be efficient with the space and make sure we weren’t forgetting anything.

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For all the elements and all the things that could’ve gone wrong, I think it went exceptionally well.  By the end we were all battered and bruised but it was satisfying to get the point we had talked about for so long.
Around 5am I caught the train home and took a shower in the light of dawn before grabbing my pack and heading back to HBF where I caught the train to Frankfurt.

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And here I want to mention a thank you to my Step Dad Andy.

Whenever we flew anywhere we had to get to the airport no later than two hours before our departure time and usually more like three.  I used to do a bit of eye rolling at this but nowadays I find myself doing the same.

In any case when I took the train from Berlin to Frankfurt Airport it’s a good thing I had that rule of leaving lots of extra time ingrained in my head.  As it turns out there are two Frankfurt airports and I needed to be at the very tiny one (Frankfurt Hahn) about a 45 minute bus ride from the one I anticipated leaving from (Frankfurt International Airport).  Thanks Andy!

Never Like This

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Hours of work had been getting longer and I’d been sleeping less, but after almost a month of agonizing over whether to go to Morocco with my Sister or Amsterdam with the studio I had finally come to a decision.

I would do both. Plus I would go to Rome.

Two of the other interns had been working on these columns for the Rome show and it was assumed one of them would attend one of the artists to set it up. Once I heard the show was happening in the beginning of April (Morocco and Amsterdam were both set to happen during the second and third week) I offered to go in exchange for missing the first weeks of set up in Amsterdam.

So there I was standing in the shower trying to remember how to conjugate Italian verbs and wondering if I needed to pack anything other than work clothes. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a special relationship with Italy. I studied and lived there, learned Italian, and planned to move there before a weekend trip to Berlin changed things. I knew it would be wonderful to be back in a place where I could understand the language and see a culture I admire but I was a bit nervous, like seeing an ex that knows you better than your current love.

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We ended up working the entire time we were there, no sleeping, and certainly no time for idle chat or reflection. I left Ed behind to continue working and only in the last moments en route to the airport did I start to realize how strange it felt to be returning home to Germany from Italy. While I was chatting with one of the women at the gallery I told her I had once planned on moving to Rome but changed my mind for Berlin. She paused and nodded her head, “you made the choice that was right.”

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I made my way back to Berlin alone, drifting between dream filled sleep and deep reflection.  It seemed so wrong to be returning home on a two hour flight away from Italy but, to be honest, it felt so good to go back home to Berlin.

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From the Future

I come to you from my hostel in Amsterdam, 5 flights and almost a month since my last post and with more things to write about than I can process right now.

So, I urge you to be patient and come back soon (week or three).  Thanks for reading!

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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.

Leibovitz Lecture

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Last week I had some amazing luck and ended up with a ticket to the sold out Annie Leibovitz lecture at the C|O Berlin where her retrospective is up, “A Photographer’s Life.”  The space was beautiful and walking past the giant line felt pretty great, turns out Germans love her; I saw a “Willkommen Annie” cover story on at least 3 big newspapers the day she arrived.

I know a lot of photographers don’t feel this way.  My room mate, for one, who was her first assistant for many years back in the 90’s.  Fortunately for me he didn’t really feel like going (apparently she can be more than rude on set) and thus I ended up with his ticket.  A lot of other photographers who have never actually worked with her, like me, kind of cringe about her because she’s become one of those names.  You know, like Ansel Adams or (more full on cringe here) Anne Geddes.   The type people who don’t know much about Photography mention whilst in awkward getting to know you conversations with a photographer.  I know I’ve had to surpress an eye roll on more than one occasion when people mention those names, it’s happened to the best of us.

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All that said when Leibovitz walked in, I stood on my tippy toes to see her and later on found myself taking as many photos as I could while she was nearby.  She’s a household name for a reason and although I still don’t get Anne Geddes I had a similar experience with Ansel Adams in which I went to a retrospective show and was floored by the beauty of his prints.  Sometimes there’s reason for the hype.

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Also, I just finished reading the late Susan Sontag’s journals “Reborn” and since Leibovitz and Sontag were partners I was interested to hear her talk about her.  When she did the audience went completely silent, more so as we watched this very powerful seemingly guarded woman grow a bit emotional as she referred to ‘loosing Susan.’

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“when we met she knew I could be better, I could’ve been a jerk or the work could’ve gotten better.  I never really could be the person she wanted me to be.  She had a high set of values.  I never felt like I could totally please her”

Apparently the “Women” book was Sontags idea, interesting fact.  I found the photos in the show of Sontag to be really beautiful.  I think it’s always telling to see the portraits the portrait photographer takes of their loved ones.  Leibovitz said that was the motivation for the show, after Sontag died she was looking through photographs of her believing in all their years together she’d failed to get any really great ones.

She went on to talk about the photograph of her Mother, from the Women book and how it has become so much more to her over the years.  Just before taking it her Mother had asked her not to make her look old and after when she showed her parents neither one liked it.

“We always had to smile for photos when I was younger, in the best and worst of times.  And my Mother always smiled in photos.  But, I began to distrust the smile, in my protraits you rarely see people smiling….later at the show someone came up to me and said ‘she looks as if she loves you in that picture'”

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It was nice to hear some of the anecdotes behind the photos I’ve referenced since I was 16.  And yes I have to admit I was a bit star struck; it’s hard not to be when you walk through the rooms of people she’s photographed.  I mean just to have met all those people is a pretty amazing feat.  I know I know, you can roll your eyes if you must.

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“as a photographer, my achilles heal: I like people to look good.”

Annie Leibovitz

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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