Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
For some reason the Letter `S came to mind as I titled this piece. Its a continuation of my paint swirl photographic explorations. The details are fantastic in the high resolution verison.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The story begins yesterday morning over breakfast here in Klein Machnow. Here, on the outskirts of Berlin, I am staying with Elizabeth and her family.
Aunt Edith has been visiting for the last few days.
How I wish I could share a photo of this kind old lady. My camera has died so words will have to do. In her nineties, she stands a little under 5 feet. Yet she is as spry as a 70 year old! She wears colourful 1970's blouses and horned rim glasses that remind me of my grandmother. Her hair, is as white as our breakfast plates and is pulled into a tight bun at the back of her head. There is a twinkle in her eye as she tries hard remembers the occasional English word.
I am a Canadian who grew up hearing much about the second world war- from my grandparents, novels, movies, in text books, in highschool, in university. A distinctly Canadian perspective of course. Its one thing to read about it, its another to hear it from the lips of those who actually lived it. Going through France, Belgium and Holland I have had the honour of meeting elderly people who shared their experiences of the 1940's. What an honour.
However, reflecting on this as I gazed at the allied monuments I have seen so much of on my journey, I have begun to sense a void in my understanding.
I have heard much about Heroes and Sacrifice and Great Battles and Daring Exploits. However, there are two sides to a war. The way our home country paints history is always partial. Details about the humanity of the other side always seem to be the first to be ommitted.
Caught in the midst of the war were mothers and families that experienced parralel destruction and tragedy. Here in Germany as in the allied countries. Not all Germans were SS officiers in grey uniforms. I have personally heard so little about the German regular folks. Just as there were unwitting allied families caught up in the war, so too were there German families and folks that would have been enormously happy if it had never happened.
Aunt Edith was one such person.
As we sat sipping our coffee, the conversation turned to moments that have been long buried. Terrible things were broadcast on loudspeakers to the city about the impending destruction. Her family's home was near Dresden. In 1945 she listened as a rain of bombs fell down upon the neighbouring city. Air raid sirens screamed and her family scuttled into the cellar. The next morning she watched from the balcony as the city burned.
The next morning, her father bicycled to work in what had once been Dresden. Charred bodies lay strewn across the street. The building where he worked was completely destroyed. He stood there and took in the scene.
There, high on a pile of the smouldering remains of his factory was his white vinelaub coffee pot-- a special product of a nearby porcelain maker. It glistened in the sun as the smoke curled around it. The chances it would have come to rest at the top of the demolished factory were so proposterous. He couldn't help but stare.
Its funny what we remember isn't it? It must have been one of those intensely vivid moments for Aunt Edith's father that melt into the surreal. Time slows to a standstill and we take in the most intricate of details. The significance of a coffee pot is on par with a corpse, a demolished building and a scorched city. The tragedy so thick that is overwhelming.
This is war.
The trials of Auth Edith's family is so similar to what I heared from the great-grandmother in Normandy, Alain telling me of his destroyed hometown of Caen, and the bombings of London. These similar stories are a profound reminder that were all connected.
Are there really two sides to a war?
Perhaps that's the problem right there.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Now I have a word for it!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
What happens when you get an artist do yard work?
Yesterday, I was helping Marion move stones around in her garten. Real Manly work. Its really good to be able to help out in return for the kindness of her hospitality. Of course, there's nothing like physical labour to get one thinking. As I lugged stones around an idea started to percolate.........
Borrowing ideas from all over, I threw this little movie together in the afternoon-- I quite literally threw it together-- as you will see! Its really quick conceptual experimental basically. My camera has died so it was all on my laptop's webcam. I even re-used Darragh's music from my Amsterdam movie.
Darragh, I will take you up on your offer of more music!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Some of you have been wondering about this strange place I have been referring to as the Castle.
Reinhart Zabka converted this old farm baron´s castle into a repository of his art going back to before the fall of the Berlin wall. Reinhart has converted all sorts of crazy things he has found in garbages and antique stores. When East German´s could finally buy western things in the 1980s apparently they threw lots of things out. Reinhart turned them into art. His castle is packed full of it!
It is an interesting place culturally, artistically and historically. His art is the opposite of my minimalistic style! He calls it maximalist! There is an overload of things to see. However, this makes for great photography. I put together this little experimental neandering film that pans broadly then zooms into the specific details of his crazy creations.