Tag Archives: berlin

Whatever happened to that trip you were taking?

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated and my apologies for that. I’m at a bit of a crossroads for Subism.com. I greatly want to revamp the site to add a store, but I also want to integrate a responsive web design layout. Unfortunately,  things require learning a lot and I’ve been pre-occupied.

As you may recall, or if you scroll down approximately two entries, late last year I was working on a social media travel experiment. The gist of it was that I was backpacking through Europe via train. Along the way I was taking people’s suggestions and recommendations via social media or where to go, what to do with the intention of reporting it here and sharing the total findings at this year’s SXSW interactive festival.

For a while I was posting daily, then it crept down to posting once per city and then finally I found out that the SXSW panel had been rejected. While that took a lot of the wind out of my sails I intended to keep going regardless. I kept collecting data and working on it daily just the same. I have a Moleskine notebook filled with notes, a ton of “starred” Tweets and gigabytes of photos to share. However, the issue that remains is what to do with it all. Without the panel as a destination, how the data would be presented requires a dramatic rethinking. I will compile it with conclusions at some point but right now, I’m unsure exactly what that will look like.

Aside from the SXSW rejection my trip was suddenly cut short. This was due to a variety of personal reasons including a death in my family. Despite my abrupt return to the states, I had still planned to head back out towards Asia and Oceania. However after a little while it became clear that it simply wasn’t the right time for me to do so.

All that said, I’ve been busy since my return. I’, working on a few different projects that I will hope to share sometime soon. I’ve also been spending a lot more time over on my Tumblr.

One of the things I will elaborate on very soon is something I’m calling The Impossible Year. Feel free to check it out ahead of time if you wish.

Cheers!

PS – The book is still on sale!

Photo on the Radio

This morning at 10:30 AM I did my first ever live media appearance for WGN 720 AM on ChicagoNow Radio. It was a real pleasure and I was way more comfortable than I expected I would be. I think there are probably two clear reasons for this:

One of the hosts was a friend of mine: Amy Guth. Amy is stellar and that made it a lot easier than talking to a complete stranger.

The classes I’ve been taking at IO have really done the trick! It’s already made me more comfortable in a performance atmosphere. Specifically helping me maintain my composure and gaining an ability to think on my feet.

We talked about my new blog on ChicagoNow: Focal Points. As well as my experiences in Berlin, and last weekend’s Journey to the End of the Night event. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Listen here!

Berlin Day 6 – A walk, a wall and Køpi

The Berlin Wall

I woke up at 1:30 today and realized I was supposed to meet Meli and Andres at 2 at Scharni. The plan was to visit abandoned buildings and a punk collective trailer park community for my photographic interests. That plan didn’t work out, Meli and Andres had to cancel last minute.

Instead I decided to venture out alone. I hopped a train to Alexanderplatz and then wandered around from there. I decided to go take some pictures of the Berlin wall and just kinda explored my way around. I walked around a big portion of Berlin using mostly the setting sun to guide me in my direction. Eventually I found “Checkpoint Charlie” the gate area from East to West Berlin run by US military. From there I walked along the wall.

Some time after that I decided to head back. I started hopping on random U-Bahn trains (subways) until I found a direction towards the Alexanderplatz from where I knew how to get “home.” On the way I stumbled into the museum district and a number of small parks eventually finding a gorgous fountain surrounded by grass where I decided to sit and relax. This was probably the most ideal way to end my stay. It was a beautiful sunny day, almost no humidity and not too hot.

When I finally made my return to 78 Mouse and Aki insisted that I needed to go out with them for a little bit. Mouse prepared a delicious dinner at Fischladen and from there they took me to Køpi.

Køpi is arguably the largest, most famous “punk” house in Europe, if not the world. It’s technically a squat but evicting it’s residents would be impossible. The place is built like a fort and surrounded by several other, smaller communities of the same type. It literally houses an army of punks and German leftists (not all of which are anarchist btw.) To clear out Køpi would literally require a military assault and I’m not sure it would be successfull. However the place isn’t harming anyone so there is no rational to remove it either as doing so would attract international press attention.

The place is amazing, the community that has been created here is astonishing. There was a punk/hardcore show going on in one part of the house. They had at least 4 different bars, a movie theater and way more. Mouse tells me they have in house plumbers, carpenters, electricians and more. It’s not a collective like 78 but everyone there has a role in life outside of the place and they contribute their skills towards making their home a better place.

We only stayed at Køpi a little while but I’m glad I got to go, the next time I head to Berlin I’m going to work to develop relationships there to allow me to photograph it, as it truely is something amazing that needs to be documented, but due to it’s legal status most would not have been comfortable with me doing so.

Unfortunately when we returned I still had to pack, and I had no time remaining to sleep. After packing up I head to the Airport and made my way to Paris for the next 26 hours…

More soon. For now: here are the day 6 photographs.

Berlin Day 5

Aki and friend.

Internet is down at 78 again. Although we can pick up an unsecured wireless in the big kitchen on the 2nd floor. Not sure when i’ll be able to post this.

Last night was interesting, we went to Fischladen and found the street to be swarming with Politzei. There were full riot vans filled with cops waiting for a reason to jump out. No one was quite sure as to why this was going on but as you can imagine it made things a bit tense. The cops came to the door of the bar on more than one occaision and then backed away. It’s like they were anticipating something that the community didn’t know was going to happen. Either way it ended peacefull with the cops eventually leaving as mysteriously as they had arrived.

Many members of the collective are hard at work here in the house. On Mouse’s floor alone they are installing a large kitchen and a bathroom. They both look to be the nicest in the house, I’m sad I won’t be here to see them. Downstairs they are building a bar into the front of the building. Mouse took us through it the other night, it looks to have a lot of potential as well. I’m not quite sure how or if this will compete with Fischladen which is just down the street. Mouse insists their community is large enough to sustain both.

Despite what I may have said in yesterday’s post regarding technology, this movement is strong and far from in danger of dying out anytime soon. They have built a place for themselves both figuratively and literally through hard work and dedication. There is definitely something there to be respected and admired.

Mouse is tending bar at Fischladen, we spent the afternoon lounging around there. He has mixed up Chocolate Martini’s for people with Hershey’s syrup that Aki brought back from the states for him. Apparently you can’t find that here at all.

Going to a cookout tonight at another house. Should be interesting. Tomorrow is my last day in Berlin and it looks like I have have picked up a last minute photo job as well. More details on that if it happens. That’s all for now.

oh yeah… pictures.

Berlin Day 4 – Technological Anarchism

Mouse, Vanesza and Aki.

Berlin is an interesting place. We spent all of last night at Fischladen where I left off last night. When we left it was morning. While Aki worked furiously on her work for Johnson Creek; Vanessa, Mouse and I discussed the merits of Wi-Fi, Twitter and technology in general in political movements, in particular the leftist “Anarchist” movement here in Berlin.

The German leftist movement has a fear and misunderstanding of technology. Wi-Fi in many places is not allowed and approached angrily. While 78 is legally owned and inhabited many individuals here are very much afraid of being identified for their political actions. Their fears, of course, are justified, many could and would be arrested if identified. However the group fails to mobilize and grow beyond it’s existing circles from what I can tell, most don’t even have cell phones either because they can’t afford them, or they believe them to be the tools of the establishment. Their numbers, while supported internationally are not as strong as they were right after the wall fell, and they likely won’t be again unless this group embraces technology. Aki and I cited examples of Mumbai and Iran to explain the values of it but the consensus is that it will fall on deaf ears.

Now please, do not interpret this as an endorsement of the actions of this movement or their beliefs, nor do I mean disrespect to their beliefs either. I am merely a guest here and these people are putting me up and treating me as one of their own. I believe that nearly any political movement has merits and from what I can tell, these are good people who want to life their lives free of political oppression and generally mind their own business, I cannot speak for all of their beliefs, only that I can say they feel very justified in them and truly believe themselves to be doing good to help society, as they see it. It’s sad to me to see their message and beliefs get lost or downed out because they refuse to adapt to modern technology.

An interesting side note, you’ll see that most of my photos from this trip do not contain people… weird seeing as I tend to focus on portraits quite often. This is because the men and women of “78” refuse to be photographed and the ones who don’t know me react angrily to me walking about with my camera at all. While I respect and understand this concern it saddens me as many of them are amazing, beautiful, interesting people who should have their voices heard and choose to hide their face so that they can fight another day, a concern that I’m not entirely sure how realistic it is.

New photos are up, check them out…

Until tomorrow.