Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Media And A So-Called European Identity"

Heated discussions in Berlin, about whether "European Identity" actually exists, or not. There are attempts to create a European public sphere... attempts, nothing more yet, as they do not reach most of the European citizen at all. The average German is not really interested in Europe. Newspaper articles about local concerns, then some national politics, and then let's move to sports and satire. People try to change that, try to give EU politics a legitimation, because if there is no European public, a European government wouldn't be democratic. I am very curious about how and when and if this development will progress.

Personally (and from about two seminar-texts and one Sunday morning of pondering over that issue) I think, you are just European if your life happens outside Europe... remembering moments of mutual understanding without words with people from Spain or Slovakia or Austria or England during my time in the States. Back in Europe, I am pretty sure I am not Spanish at all, and there are quite some differences between Germans and English people, too. Living in the UK, I felt pretty German at times.
Then again there is the still very dominant local life, your own town/ city/ village/ block. Then you are for example a South-Berliner or a Kreuzberger, and hell, no, not a Charlottenburger... northern block Friedrichshainer, not southern block Friedrichshainer, entirely different world there, isn't it?
So why bother about Bruxelles? Well, of course, EU right beats national right and a hell lot of taxes are on their way there now. And of course we are fighting pirates together in god-knows-where, aren't we? Minor details many just don't realize?

So Europe tries hard to be an identity issue. We want to be "American" again, in a sense that we understand ourselves as ONE nation/generation.. but how, if there's a totally different history? No mutual frontier myth, no mutual European Dream myth, no mutual civil war and Independence Day, no fighting for mutual freedom, no mutual dirrrrty past like slavery and exterminated Indian tribes. No, over here, every national state carries its very own cross. Well, several mutual enemies are there though.. and apparently also several mutual values to be shared and preserved? First step? Not sure about that one. And not sure whether a genuine Euro-Identity is necessary for peaceful living on this continent. Do I have to be European in order not to fight against the French?
And of course there are some great differences in the States as well... being from Texas or being from New Jersey can be the same difference as Earthling-Martian at times.

I very much like the idea of the book being THE European medium though. Good point that guy made.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Back From SAINTS AT WORK, ..."

... I decided to keep reading a paper on media regulation in the federal republic. But I am not going to write about this now.

So here are some random impressions from the gallery opening. Enjoy!

enter the blogger and her friend
- Indicators: two friends, nine artists, one city, one laptop, four rooms, a small bar, some hundred people, some hundred beck's beers, some hundred pairs of sneakers, some hundred cigarettes and approximately seven pairs of really ugly buddy holly style glasses.

The crowd.

"Overtime (Brotherly Love)"

"Job Cuts"

The guy who is responsible for overtime, brotherly love and job cuts.

Not enough yet?

begging doesn't help!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Einstuerzende Neubauten: Haus der Luege/ House of Lies"

Something I just found on youtube. It is recorded at the now torn down Palace of the Republic, a concert I've been working at as a photographer in 2004. I still love the irony implied by the title of the song. ;)

In my humble opinion and naiveté, it would've been better to keep the building and just change it's function, keep it as a free space and true venue of the people, for example, instead of tearing it down to rebuild just another "house of lies" whilst building the utter uglyness of a completely new concert arena sponsored by a huge mobile technology company a few meter's away.

"Bye, Bye, Palace of the Republic - Welcome, ???"

The tearing down of the former seat of the GDR parliament, "Erich's Lamp Shop" as the people called it, referring to the then incumbent Erich Honecker and his 1001 lamps hanging in the foyer, is almost finished by now. The scrap of the republic is being brought away bit by bit. Many people in Berlin, in fact the majority that, at times, has no weighty voice, wanted to keep the building as an important space of German history. Unfortunately this majority was not in the monetary position to take part in the process of decision making. So it is finally time to say goodbye to just another historical site in the middle of Berlin city ... .

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"21st Century Critical Art: Sasha Zivkovic's SAINTS AT WORK"

There is a new exhibition opening in Berlin-Wedding next week. Apart from several other artist, Sasha Zivkovic is presenting his "Saints at Work" project.

He uses the iconography of Gothic stained glass to deliver ironic commentaries on contemporary corporate life.

I am looking forward to see his work in a non-cmc-way. Anyone who shares my interest by now is welcome to his blog:

... or to the exhibition, of course: Koloniestr. 10 in Berlin, Wedding, Nov 13th-Nov 22nd.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"The Vote: Fuck, Texas, Sing For Us"

Well, that slogan has actually nothing to do with the vote as such, but is the soundtrack of my office during this lunchbreak ... .
Aside: New Model Army played in the states this year, and they release a new life album which I am going to review on soon.

However it suits the impression I got from reading some papers and following the voices in the void that circulate around the topic Obama '08. Everyone is oh so happy about the outcome of the vote in the States, it kind of belongs to urban politeness these days to be supportive for the president to come and rule over one of the most powerful nations on this planet. Main problem is, if you ask one or two more questions about why people support Obama, the answers are - well - meager, to say the least.

Which is no surprise at all. It is part of the strategy in campaigning to drop promises about change and making things better than the opponent. No one can be really specific on his politics beforehand. Concrete information of the public is not intended at all. All we can do is watch, listen to the noise, and see what will happen. I am not judging Obama today, I will judge him when his period of ruling is over.

Most interesting about this year's election and campaigning is the instrumentalization of social networking technology. No one was ever so popular in facebook and the likes. Strategies of viral marketing in political communication apparently worked well for Obama. Next to that, it is also interesting to read the German (educated mainstream blabla) papers and to follow their online appearances: poll here, poll there, livestreams, livestreams, livestreams, post your own opinion here, what do you expect of Obama there, is he the saviour of the world, is he just another puppet of "the system"? Nothing else seems important today, no other events seem to take place, there is NOTHING in this world but the vote. People are still debating about the power of the USA, however - obviously - they have the power to take over the public sphere for about a week or two in Germany.

Let's see what happens next. Eyes open!

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Funny Stuff From German Polit-Talk: On Privatising The German Rail"

Just watched a discussion (educated mainstream media polit-talk blabla) on privatising the German Rail. Main focus of the discussion is the wage of the top dogs of the to-be private company. Knowing the English rail system (private) and the French one (state), every traveller is confident that the latter provides better service for the customers. So why is Germany following the former? Gambling again?

I guess those guys will have to restrict internet access to keep their business models going anyways, as more and more people avoid trains - no matter if private or state regulated. Car-sharing, organized in online-forums like this one, gains more and more popularity. I am sure the ministry of the interior would love to get rid of our beloved communications and mobilizations tool anyways ... .


I guess the German Rail would be very grateful. Just wondering ... .