No Mail for Old Men – Or Why It’s Fun to Have Grandparents with Wifi

Grandfather's EyesWhen men worked all their life, it’s fair enough that they enjoy their late days on the terrace, in a sunny garden and with friends surrounding them. These days, it’s important that these terraces got WiFi and that the friends are on Skype and equipped with an email account at least…

“Did you know you get 87% less spam when your email address stats with a Q?”

Grandfather

My Dad asked me one day  years ago. It was the first step of him venturing out in to cyberspace, where he takes a break from cooking, baking, hiking, singing, laughing and gardening – which is what he usually spends his time with. Since this very day, I’m spoiled with forwarded mail he received. – Imagine 13-year-old boys at school. One is getting a really funny note, written on a dodgy paper, ripped out from an exercise book and crunched up more than folded. Wouldn’t you pass it on if it was funny, entertaining and leading your thoughts away from the dull day-to-day life around you?

Here’s the latest gem from my  collection “forwarded notes from my father’s friends to my father“. It’s about a girl, well: a Golden Girl. And about parties and boys. It’s almost Dadaism. Hugo BallKurt Schwitters by accident. Enjoy!

———- Forwarded Message ———-
From: Fritz Lachner <qphylloxera@live.com>
Date: 2013/6/20  11:32
Subject: dread
To: paul otto <qpotto@ymail.de>

Good Day, Paul,

in the case Dreadling.
The handling is indeed very time-consuming.
She sends me smile and smirk stories, I keep her entertained.
I’m not mailing you the jokes any more, because your PC capacities are too marginal.

For Uq I really enriched her celebration at the Lot’s place pleasantly. The Le was apparently also there, not the Pa. About his absence reportedly has been conjectured.

If O or not.???.

Overall it was supposedly good.
“Old” faces  seemingly are not involved any more.

The Pa is now also already 9y out of the office, and the Lot was surely not exactly his friend.
What would the Pa have done there. Sit next to enemies like Lot, Uq, Dr. Meyer, what else I happen to know…

The Hill is as talkative as a hill, Pa would have had nothing from that either.
Pa is not inside this business any more.
I (we) should not have to care.

Will we go again to BWh having a nice day?

All the best wishes to you
Fritz

Oh, yes, this is real.
And of course I did change the personal information, but tried to keep the original unintended and intended pun. As well as the feel of names and places and sometimes weird punctuation.

Isn’t it strange which style a language adapts, when you work for 40+ years in an office only ever writing demand notes and administration fines? I hope this feel of office burnt into a brain has not been lost in translation. It left me very touched.

(Read more Dadaist poetry found in the real world here: After Hours in Mongolia – Authentic Dadaist Thermos Poetry)

Street Art in Thessaloniki

I visited Greece. We get to read a lot about Greece and the crisis these days. I’ve been there for a film festival. These were the souvenirs I brought home to you { Shoplifting and OrangesGreece in the Rain }.

Here’s some street art I found in Thessaloniki:

street art greece thessaloniki - girlstreet art greece thessalonikistreet art greece thessaloniki - birdstreet art thessaloniki - tiger stencilOh and there was some amazing poster, that I could not resist. I’m in love:

poster art wall art street art thessaloniki greece - drag

 

 

 

Bilingual Breakfasts on Snowy Sundays

Frühstück Kaffee Sanne Kurz

Today I’ve been invited for breakfast by Components. It’s an international project about creative minds and social media.
On Sundays, Components are having a guest and I was flattered and proud when I’ve been asked to join!

We had the best conversation: We talked in-depth about my very own museum as well as the best breakfast-spots in Munich. We chatted about what inspires us and all the plans we got for the new year. I got a chance to book my – yes! – own curator and I had the best Sunday morning treat in a long time. Head over to read the interview and guest post on Components or see what other breakfast guests from all around the globe had to say in the past!

{The Breakfast with… / Frühstück mit… series is bilingual English/German.}

components02

 

 

A Place to Share and Explore Europe’s Cultural Heritage: Europeana

They could not resist to put “economic growth” in the end of this video. As if economic growth was the excuse we needed to create writing, images, sounds. As if painters, photographers, architects, poets, filmmakers, musicians and designers of all kind ever thought “Let’s do it! It will create economic growth!” As if we would not have started to guess already in the 70ies, that there must be something like  The Limits of Growth, as if we would not have realized and often felt in our very own lives, our very own families, that economic growth does not guarantee prosperity and personal progress. And: do we need progress at all?

Progress reminds me Tino Sehgal and his installation in the MoMa, where me and my beyond 80 and below 40 friend walked up the rotunda being engaged in an intense discourse about progress. The people guiding and debating with us were folks from age 6 to 90. Seghal had placed them carefully, so you did not know what was waiting for you. In the end, up at the top, we, as well as our senses and minds, were immersed in progress of all sorts, shapes, forms and philosophies. We looked back with wide open eyes at all the wanderers, walkers and chatters making their way up towards us. The talks formed a loud whisper and we lost track of who is part of the  installation and who is a visiting guest, just like us.

This is the amazing thing Europeana can do for all  of us:

Just like I did at the top of the MoMa, we can stand in a living, lively swirl of culture. History can rise, we can dive in to virtually anything that ever has been created in Europe. We can not only see, hear and access it, we can also tie knots between things and find links we did not even know existed. Most exciting about digitized cultural heritage is not the sheer facts however, most exciting are the stories behind each and everything it holds.

An endless picture book telling eventually the stories of the people behind the culture. People like you, like me, like all of us. A memory that can be explored like a gigantic attic, full of adventures and things to discover and learn. This is what makes Europeana strong, unique and a place to be.

It’s a logical step to reach out and collect things which did not make their way in to Europe’s museums and archives yet. People in the shadow of history, men and women on the street, long before street photography has been invented. Europeana 1914-1918 asked individuals and families to come and share their stories, show their memories and memorabilia from 1914-1918. A “World War One Family History Roadshow” to collect the voice and memory from the people on the street is travelling all across Europe.

Being German, I am tormented for good reasons with WWII history from kindergarten on. We know all about it, we’re all deeply sorry, we’re all at least vaguely interested. You’re German? – WWII history it is, you can not get out of it, you want a German passport? You got to learn about it in a course. So I’m sort fo a WWII expert by birth. – And I got still a profoundly different impression, when I travelled to find the owners of some old toy-set of china porcelain, which my family acquired in 1936 from a Jewish family leaving Mannheim. I spoke to a lot of women. Women mainly far beyond their 80th birthday. Many stories made me cry, some gave me hope, some made me belief in humanity. It was my very first own direct and personal encounter with the Holocaust, the pogrom night in Germany in 1938 and the people who used to live just down the road, 70 years back.

I admire Europeana’s will, effort and urge to digitize for Europeana 1914-1918 European family memory of World War One and shed light in to the shadows of history. Here, you can read some of the stories they collected so far.

My grandparents, the ones I knew, born in 1902 and 1916, both died of cancer when I was a teenager. The other two died when I was a toddler. I remember an image of my grandmother holding my father as a young baby. She must have been around 30-something. She looked very young and very much from today. This image felt very close to me and my life. I wish I could have a conversation with her over a cup of tea and listen to her stories.

As a cinematographer, I work often with people who are in need for original materials, archival footage or old images. Europeana is a search engine which makes it easy to access the cultural heritage of Europe. Europeana lists and links Europe’s archives, museums and collections. Europeana is available in all European languages, even Maltese and Catalan. A very powerful and efficient search form allows you to do a very specific research, for example search only materials under a creative commons licence. This is an incredible useful tool for documentary film makers as well as for researches for screen writing. You can find there

  • Images – paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
  • Texts – books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
  • Sounds – music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
  • Videos – films, newsreels and TV broadcasts
  • 3D models of architecture and historic sites

They are also running a lovely Blog, with stories from within all these collections. Hope you enjoy.

Movies vs. Gaming

Almost each meeting, each panel discussion, each chat over a coffee with friends from the motion picture industry comes to a point where someone calls for more involvement of us filmmakers in the games industry. “The gaming industry is such a big market.”  worried faces call out. “We must not miss this train before it’s leaving.” (eyes wide open) “They need stories and we know how to tell them.” – A convinced nodding follows.

Do they really need our stories? And do movie-stories even count or make up for what you can experience when gaming?

I’m personally not looking for thrill in the cinema. I want to feel something. Joy, fear, laughter, soothing, anger, relief, pain, sadness, happiness, sweetness and light. This is what makes me go to cinema. Oh, did I mention I’m not a gamer?

Some touching and emotional cross-media forms suggest that some artist do explore – coming from the film world – interactive forms. and some I’m loving! The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam  IDFA is running a DocLab to bring forward digital documentary story telling already since 2007. In IDFA’s  DocLab events people from Tate Modern to International Film Funding Boards work on and discuss about something new. Something about to start. But what? And is it not already there?
Last year, I loved most from the DocLabs competition program The Wilderness Downtown  by Chris Milk. It’s not there to play, it’s more made to use, look at, shape a bit and be touched by a light breeze. It’s a completely new form of dealing with reality now and memory than, and: I loved it. You can try it here. It takes less than 5 minutes and will take you back home as well as ahead of time.

My kids did hop already in alpha-stage on the Minecraft train. Minecraft is a thing – not sure if you can call it game at all – with no story,  no given rules, no explanation provided by the seller, no goal, no amazing visuals and: you got to pay for it as well! It’s been bought by almost 8 million people as by today. – “They need stories and we know how to tell them.” – Right, yeah. Here you go with your stories! The users were it, that made Minecraft a great place, a community with unlimited possibilities. You can play alone or with others, you can set your own rules from “kill each other” to “let’s start a great civilisation“. People can re-enact The Hunger Games, build real-estate and film it, make music videos inside the Minecraft world, paint Minecraft Bloc-Art (yes, even flying one), listen to music, meet, watch their own (and self-made)  TV on Youtube, write, build their own maps and – yep! – sell it online, fight or raise cattle, burn or grow food, chat and act. They want life, not stories. This life than contains the stories.

Believe it or not – 46 million clicks / half a million likes…

But do I wanna do Minecraft? Nope. I understand the fascination, but prefer my very lovely, very own real life.

The idea to connect life with virtual reality is also behind the  Lexis Numerique / Orange development Alt-Minds. Out since 5th of November and thus for three days already, it’s still with less than 100 Trailer views on Youtube and less than five Google-Plus shares on the Alt-Minds homepage. The take-off might be slower than the makers probably expected. Hyped as “most awaited augmented reality game” Alt-Minds tells the story of five young scientists from Alvinson-Foundation. They disappear in the Ukraine. No traces, only an amateur video-tape that shows a kidnapping. The investigators call the international Internet community for help. The game is running in English, German, French and Spanish, the first week is free, you get later down the track “real” text messages and “real” phone calls from characters of the game. Most likely one/several of the players will be a character of the story as well.

Hm…Sigh. – It would be a lot of fun creating and shooting Alt-Minds I reckon. Inventing all the hints, clues and traps, throwing out nets and thinking ahead. But running after determined traces – weeeeell… Not for me. I always found it more exciting to be the one laying out a paper chase rather the one running after it. – But perhaps it’s for you? This is the trailer:

 

Done. Now: Sleep.

Sun has set and night is falling in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Some of us are still stuck in the endless traffic jams paralyzing the city from dawn till dusk. Some were lucky to find into a deep calm and soothing ease…

And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now. Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives. Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrogered sea. […]

Mongolia indeed is lacking a navy.

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing. Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep. And you alone can hear the invisible starfall, the darkest-before-dawn minutely dewgrazed stir of the black, dab-filled sea where the Arethusa, the Curlew and the Skylark, Zanzibar, Rhiannon, the Rover, the Cormorant, and the Star of Wales tilt and ride.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets. […] Listen. It is night in the chill, squat chapel, hymning in bonnet and brooch and bombazine black, butterfly choker and bootlace bow, coughing like nannygoats, suckling mintoes, fortywinking hallelujah; night in the four-ale, quiet as a domino. […] It is to-night in Donkey Street, trotting silent, with seaweed on its hooves, along the cockled cobbles, past curtained fernpot, text and trinket, harmonium, holy dresser, watercolours done by hand, china dog and rosy tin teacaddy. It is night neddying among the snuggeries of babies.

Look. It is night, dumbly, royally winding though the Coronation cherry trees; going through the graveyard of Bethesda with winds gloved and folded, and dew doffed; tumbling by the Sailors Arms.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes. – Come closer now.

Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt and silent black, bandaged night. Only you can see in the blinded bedrooms, the combs and petticoats over the chairs, the jugs and basins, the glasses of teeth, Thou Shalt Not on the wall, and the yellowing, dickybird-watching pictures of the dead. Only you can hear and see, behind the eyes of the sleepers, the movements and countries and mazes and colours and dismays and rainbows and tunes and wishes and flight and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams.

From where you are, you can hear their dreams. […]

The queen bee is sleeping. And the French woman. Go and listen to their dreams:

Quoted text “Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices” by Dylan Thomas. US:  ISBN-10: 0811202097 / ISBN-13: 978-0811202091 by on amazon here. Europe:  ISBN-10: 3150092485 / ISBN-13: 978-3150092484 buy on amazon here.

Images by Hanna Mayser. For prints, lovely emails or job offers you can get in touch via hanna.mayser [ad] googlemail.com or simply give her a buzz: +49 179 108 6381.

 

Hand Made in Berlin

Travelling in Berlin earlier this year for Berlinale, Friedrichshain is as usually on my list. An old friend of mine introduced me to some secret gems, tiny shops often run by the artists who created the offered products.

Sentiment is such a gem. Sentiment is a gold smith and jewellery designer based in Berlin Friedrichshain. Classical German craftsmen mastership paired with the creative input from travel and journeyman years in Portugal and Spain culminating in a workshop.  In the cosy space you can see finished products and watch the artist Tintin create your ring, necklace, ear-ring, piercing jewellery or other piece you might like.

Why I’m writing this, when I usually do not take you on shopping tours?

Coz Tintin started to open her workshop and offers starting this summer to share her skills. Imagine making on a Europe trip your own little memory and learn how to create and design jewellery. Imagine living in Berlin and going to a creative workshop once a week after work. Imagine going with some colleagues to spend an evening not in a bar, but in a workshop. Imagine treating a friend with a birthday present: a voucher for a 1,2 hour or weekend course. – Imagine getting married and make your own wedding rings! – It’s such a truly amazing idea.

The jewellery making courses are incredibly flexible and individual: alone or in small groups of up to 3 people, minimum time 90 minutes, maximum time 6 weeks, minimum investment 15 Euros, maximum 120 Euros + material cost and off you go to own your very personal, self-made Hand Made in Berlin Sentiment.

I’m in love!
…and booking is possible here.

Pup Pok. @Components – Creative Minds and Social Media.

I have not seen her in a while. I forgot where she is, lives and works right now. I well remember her face. Components by  Munich based photographer Simone Naumann is such a lovely project, so light and easy, but yet with tightly woven structure, that I mailed it out to many many people. I lost track to whom. And than, I saw her again. The “digital image” as part of a “physical picture” is what Simone Naumann promises in her work. I’m not sure that she thought of a meta-physical as well.

Many people from all over the globe took part in components. And still take part. The image grows. You can stroll down the memory lane in Components, you can search by country or find writers or painters. No PR, no self-selling, no biographies. A one liner as simple as brief, a head shot, the occupation, place and date. And a link, to discover more about each and anyone who caught your eye.

My friend  Pup Pok sat right there. With her hat. And her long hair, brown or grey. Impossible to tell if she has a moustache. She said:

Im Wald begegne ich einemWolf,  in seinem Maul liegen alle meine geliebten Menschen. Ich klettere ins Maul des Wolfes und flüstere ihm zu: “Die Trennung von ihnen kann ich nicht rückgängig machen, ich kann sie nur für mich nutzen. Also richte ich mich auf und nehme ihn mit auf meinen Weg.

I’ll try to make that an English one – but some double meanings will be lost:

In the forest I encounter a wolf, in his mouth lying all my beloved people. I climb in the wolf’s mouth and whisper to him: “The separation from them I can not turn back. I can only use it for me.” So I straightened up and took him with me on my way.

How much I enjoy to browse briefly all new faces and thoughts and ideas of the fast growing crowd each evening! Will I meet people there I lost a long way back? If yes, I can straighten up and take the wolf with me on my way.

Components – Creative Minds and Social Media by Simone Naumann is a project open to each and every one. Wanna be part of it? This is how it works:

  1. Send a portrait of yourself to  components@simone-naumann.com
  2. Add a one liner / favourite quote / motto / inspiration
  3. Add your link you would like to promote / your profile on social media / website / blog
  4. Add place and country you are living in right now and/or call home

All images sent in will be part of a larger image. All content will be published on the Components blog which is a searchable public data base.
Read more about Simone Naumann’s Components here.
Find people from all over the globe who contributed already here.
Browse the crowd and watch the daily growing header image of Components here.

Oh and drop me a line when you got in! I’m super curious to see your contribution!

Image of Pup Pok ©Pup Pok. Components ©Simone Naumann.

Under Cover.

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Queen Elizabeth II is fond of it. Egyptian pharaohs wore it and called it Nemes. It’s just a piece of cloth and yet so important in any possible way for many people, pulling on both sides of it, trying to pull it on or off, wrap it up or on.

I myself felt the pulling when travelling in India and simply not feeling comfortable by being stared at all the time. I bought a thin veil. And – yep: modestified my shoulders and neck, sometimes my head. Unwillingly. but feeling better than before, when stared at and eaten by eyes. I live in Germany, a most tolerant society these days, where I am free to do and express what I want. Free to live the way I want. Where starers and touchers are told to stop and leave me alone rather than I am told to hide and tuck away ideally myself entirely. Each and everyone in my country can choose their own life style. Their own way of dressing herself or himself, their own way of privacy or public exposure. I feel strange when I see people who make different choices than I do. Defining myself as ‘norma’, perhaps what most people would do, makes all things severely different being slightly off. Embarassing to admit, but: Yes, I do find myself staring at women my age in high-heeled over knee boots, dressed much lighter than myself – and I find myself staring at women my age covered thoroughly.

And: I am very happy I live in a place, where I can lean back and stare at both worlds. Where people can live and make their own life choices.

German photographer Seren Basogul took a deeper look in to why and how looking at covered women leaves us behind in confusion in her graduation work in 2010. It’s worth looking at the metamorphosis of the strawberry blonde women she portrayed.

Really interesting as well yo click yourself through images, associated with ‘headscarf’ in the different language versions of Wikipedia. Some countries describe it more as a workplace safety cloth, to protect your hair from getting dirty of prevent hair falling in a clean environment, others draw instant references to religions, where Mary is almost always portrayed with headscarf, nuns, Muslim and some orthodox Jewish women wear it. The language tabs on Wikipedia are on the left side…go click! It’s an interesting journey through the writers minds.

Egyptian Blogger and art student Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, who draw a lot of attention earlier this year with her series of Nude Art, started a veil project, portraying women before and after wearing the hijab. Wanna be part of it? This is how it works:

Women who were veiled and took off the veil and women who are veiled and want to take off the veil,
Send me all or some of these items on aliaaa.elmahdy@hotmail.com if you agree to publish them:

  1. Full or first name
  2. Two photos one with hegab and one with no hegab
  3. Why you wear/wore hegab
  4. Why you took off hegab
  5. What were the responses when you took off hegab
  6. Why you want to take off hegab
  7. Why you didn’t take off hegab in spite of your desire to take it off
  8. What were the responses when you said you want to take off hegab
  9. The age when you started wearing hegab

Für Deutsche, die teilhaben möchten:

Frauen, die verschleiert waren und den Schleier abgelegt haben und Frauen, die verschleiert sind und den Schleier ablegen möchten, sendet Folgendes an aliaaa.elmahdy@hotmail.com, wenn Ihr einverstanden seid, es zu veröffentlichen:

(Google Translate sagt mir, dass das Arabische Original von “Mädchen” statt “Frauen” spricht, jedoch “Sie” verwendet… da Aliaa Elmahdy den Englischen Text ebenfalls selbst veröffentlicht hat, bitte ich die des Arabischen kundigen Leser des Originals zu entschuldigen und sich mit der Übersetzung des Englischen Textes zu begnügen.)

  1. Voller Name oder Vorname
  2. Zwei Fotos, eines mit, eines ohne Hijab
  3. Warum Du den Hijab trägst / trugst
  4. Warum Du den Hijab ablegtest
  5. Was die Reaktionen waren, als Du den Hijab ablegtest
  6. Warum Du den Hijab ablegen willst
  7. Warum Du den Hijab nicht ablegtest, obwohl du den Wunsch hast dies zu tun
  8. Was die Reaktionen waren, als Du sagtest, Du willst den Hijab ablegen
  9. Dein Alter, als Du anfingst, Hijab zu tragen

Stills Animation.

This week is for me, cinematographer by trade, a gigantic editing workshop. Yesterday, I discovered animations made of stills. I got a lot of free time shooting in Brussels WOW! Talk loops. What a WOW! Talk actually IS, you can find out here. How hard of a bit work it is, to get those people excited and how high the permanent noise pollution is, we are dealing with, you can see right here…yep, in an animation made of stills…