Wannsee Wharf, Berlin, Germany (22/05/13)
Foundlings: artificial cherry blossoms taken from a ripped apart invitation to a Turkish engagement party
Notes: Found on an extremely rainy day – taking a short break away from people – after observing once again the absurdity of social class differences and unspoken hopes and dreams spread out within the city. Crossing Berlin feels sometimes like crossing the whole world. Wannsee is a strange mixture of opposing historical events as well – some of which shaped the 20th century. In the downpour all memories are silent.
There is another slight absurdity to finding this artificial blossom. Real cherry trees are growing quite close by and the air is fragrant with their smell. This piece of paper and cloth in my hand only reeks of glue and wet dog. I’m thinking of Hanami and wether the trees or the paper flower will outlive me (memento mori, mono no aware).
See also: Wannsee & Borgeest, B. (1997), Ein Baum und sein Land. 24 Symbiosen. (roughly translated: A Tree and its country. 24 Symbioses. > a book that is nowadays quite hard to find)
Riefenbach, Bad Harzburg, Lower Saxony, Germany (01/06/13)
Foundlings: Remains of a bird’s nest
Notes: Walking the wildcat path next to a small broke, it felt especially sad to find the abandonded remains of a bird’s nest on the ground. A piece of art in itself, intricately woven detail using delicate material from the dark forest. A moment of awe to the birds.
The Cold Valley, Bad Harzburg, Lower Saxony, Germany (01/06/13)
Foundlings: Wood sorrels (Oxalis) & Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Notes: The taste of wood sorrels bears a strong memory of childhood. Then I was told that I could pick and eat the leaves when feeling thirsty. It is best collected from April to September but shouldn’t be eaten too often and never used dried but only fresh. As such it helps blood purification, alleviates heart burn as well as has diuretic properties.
Woodruff (Waldmeister) grows as a sea of white and green through out the whole forrest surrounding this town. It is most well known for its use in a rather strange drink called ‘Berliner Weiße’ (beer with woodruff or raspberry syrup) or as flavouring in ‘May punch’. Similar to wood sorrels it is said to purify blood, can be used as an anticonvulsant and to calm nervous reactions, etc.
Märchenwald, Bad Harzburg, Lower Saxony, Germany (01/06/13)
Foundlings: Wild flowers and leaves
Notes: The ‘Märchenwald’ (fairytale forest) deserved its name during this day – it was covered in thick fog, disguising paths, hikers and other forest creatures from view. The forest has its own life and we know so little about it. Some wild flowers and leaves, dried between diary pages, to reminisce moments of feeling very small and unknowing. I wish I would have had a ‘Botanisiertrommel’ (botanist’s container) with me, like the professional collectors from back in the day…
Winuwuk, Bad Harzburg, Lower Saxony, Germany (01/06/13)
Foundlings: Paper coaster
Notes: The Winuwuk (short for Weg im Norden und Wunder und Kunst – translates to Way in the North and marvel and art) lies embedded into a hill side on the outskirts of Bad Harzburg in a place called Elves’ corner (between Breitenberg – broad mountain – and Elfenstein – elven stone). Built in the early 1920ies by the sculptor/painter/architect Bernhard Hoetger for the artist couple Dore and Walter Degener it has been planned as a total work of art. It was conceived as a café, an exhibition & artist colony, a place to meet and ‘have one’s imagination fired’.
In 1939 it was partly dismantled after being classified as degenerated art, after WW II it had been used by occupying powers and only in the 1950ies renovation was started. While missing a lot of its original carved and sculpted interior it still has much of its original spirit.
Harzburger Hof, Bad Harzburg, Lower Saxony, Germany (02/06/13)
Foundlings: an old picture of the ‘Trink- und Wandelhalle’
Notes: This is the second visit to Bad Harzburg within half a year. While the streets were empty due to the cold half a year ago still in summer lots of places seem abandoned. One of them is Harzburger Hof, a once formidable hotel and spa that opened its doors in 1874 with much pomp and many notable attendees.
Recently – after years of dispute about ownership, finances, etc. it has become empty and derelict. Doors are broken open, windows smashed. Some of the rooms look like somebody has just gotten up and left, some are filled with debris and signs of recent inhabitation. In the entrance hall we meet some people aged around 60. They are shocked about its state and vividly recall how it has been to come here some twenty years ago.
I pick up a picture from one of the trash cans (who has put it there?). It shows an old view of the Trink- und Wandelhalle (roughly translated ‘the arcades of drinking and promenading about’) not so far from here. Peeling it off some crumbling card board it reveals to have been taken by photo reporter Herbert Ahrens who, in 50 years, has taken 500.000 (!) analog pictures of this region.
Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany (03/06/13)
Foundlings: Crown cap with hummingbird
Notes: Three days of learning about insurances, money issues and legal forms of being a professional artist – this beer cap felt like the prediction of a promising future full of freedom and meaningful practice. Funnily, I just recently came across the South American parable of the hummingbird, referenced by one of the contributors of the art activist book entitled A Guidebook of Alternative Nows by Amber Hickey. The hummingbird is a symbol of wisdom and courage, about small actions being more meaningful than doing nothing. Congenial to our philosophies. Thanks, hummingbird.