Is this street art or the beginning of a cleanup effort? On Monday, I stopped halfway across Warschauer Brücke to investigate this tunnel cut through hundreds of old wallpaper-pasted posters, almost elbow deep.
The poster accumulations in Berlin-Friedrichshain can reach monumental proportions, especially the ones around lampposts, where a thick layer of posters means more surface area for new posters. Does anyone know how the sanitation department removes them — does it involve cutting a deep hole and letting the elements work at it until the posters are easier to remove? Or is this street art?
Books for free! What could be better? This relic of East Germany struck me as particularly poignant, not just the sweet composition of crayon-colored triangles typical of DDR graphic design, but the content — presented as a general language guide for tourists, it features just Bulgarian, Romanian, and Hungarian. Within the East Bloc, there weren’t all that many travel options.
Are there free books to be had in your neighborhood? Have you found any treasures?
Half repellent, half awesome. Sweet, sticky, sherbet-colored, summery, sloppily pasted and in-your face. What more could you want from a poster? How about double the fun?
I found these twin posters for a Sophiensaele event (translated title: Mixed Doubles, Dance Performance Summerhits!) at Kottbusser Tor in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The Sophiensaele are famous for their incredible graphics; the current designers are Grygoriew + Himmelspach.
Saw this sign in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, for a gallery. Pica pica is possibly my favorite scientific animal name, beating out mus musculus (house mouse) and Rattus rattus (black rat). As you can see from the sign, it’s the name of the European magpie.
I have a magpie couple as neighbors in a treetop near my apartment windows. And I also enjoy watching old East German children’s shows featuring the hand puppets Frau Elster (Ms. Magpie) and Herr Fuchs (Mr. Fox) on YouTube. Here, Frau Elster is in denial about her sunstroke and Herr Fuchs must explain that too much sun can be harmful for her health [in German].
Above is a Flash-based YouTube player. If you cannot see the video, please visit youtu.be/3G2GiR7Uam8.
I am happy that the Michelberger Hotel is around the corner from my studio. They are like a studio themselves, always thinking up something new. In the winter, the courtyard patio was stuffed full of Christmas trees like a dirtless forest; now a beer garden has appeared. They’ve launched their own coconut water brand. And their weekly seasonal lunch menu just might be the best thing you can get to eat around this neighborhood at noontime. And there’s always some new visual delight to feast the eyes upon. Like a wall full of colorful old-school mailboxes. I’ve never seen the rooms but the restaurant and the café make south-south Friedrichshain a nicer place to be. Cheers to you, Michelberger.
I like this poster a lot, and I’m not even sure why. It’s all over the streets and subway stations of Berlin right now, announcing the fiftieth anniversary edition of the Berliner Festspiele’s Berliner Theatertreffen, a forum for supporting and premiering new works from emerging playwrights.
The head designers for the Berliner Festspiele are Studio CRR in Zurich.
I bought this cookie, actually a package of six of these cookies, mostly for the packaging. And because I was only in Spain for a week, no time to hesitate! The blue lettering on the white waxy paper looks like it hasn’t been changed for decades. The cookie itself, powdery with confectioner’s sugar and crumbly with lard, would have been good had it not been for an artificial note of “lemon.” I think I would prefer the Christmas polvorones Anna described on her great Spanish food primer blog I love tortillas de patatas, or, if I felt like eating lard cookies again, I would make Anna’s mantecadas.
To photograph the blue and white packaging, I placed it on the yellow book I was reading, as the colors look smashing together. In fact, the bookmarker ribbon in the book is the same shade of blue. The book is Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf. The color is great. I’m still working on the book itself.
Just spent a couple crazy days in Hasselt, a little Belgian town that my friends Pablo and Manon (among others) have decided to put on the map with their own international design festival.
My personal highlights included experiencing giant printing by Letterproeftuin (made possible by a linoleum supplier’s stockpiled scraps and a rented steamroller) and finding out about the Risograph (a sort of copy machine that uses silkscreen technology) with the wonderfully nice people of Rosi…
…and hanging out with illustrator Ai Kohno (that’s her work above), in from Japan, and Tracy Widder (Brutal Knitting), from the greater Vancouver Island watery area.
I also got a kick out of seeing presentations from I Like Birds (from Hamburg) and Hattie Newman (from London) who both showed images which they created by building three-dimensional things to be photographed. I got to chat with them a bit too, cool people.
THANK YOU to all the artists and to the organizers for a great “creative festival/nightmare.”
Today I talked of spring with Yuki, whose little café — down the street from my studio — seems kind of like a studio itself. Whenever I go in there she has invented a new treat to bake, like Möbius-strip cookies, or found a new ingredient to put in her tea sandwiches, like pea shoots.
I gave her the bell I’d promised for her maneki-neko, as I had noticed he’d lost his. It was promptly attached with a new ribbon.
And there were sandwiches with Bärlauch, or bear’s garlic, one of my favorite signs of spring (more at my Urban Plant Research blog). Spring in Berlin will be short and quick this year, we agreed, since it’s starting so late, and we’ll have to hurry to catch the wild garlic, rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries and elderflowers as they blur by… Here’s to finally getting started!