Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Berlin

Heart attack food.
That's what I always look forward to when I come to Berlin and that's what I got.
Pig knuckle, some sort of blood meat "loafy" thing and curry wurst.
Zantac had a workout.
I came across the mural above about a block from my office. Is it me or is it strange to find a homage to Brazilian football in the heart of Berlin?
I've made numerous posts about the wall and surviving bits of the wall on this blog so I won't go into it again. I took the pic because this surviving slab sat smack dab in front of my hotel.
That's tough to ignore and just begs to be snapped.
I had very little time for pictures this trip so I just brought the camera along as we walked to and from the office and the result is this random collection of bits and pieces as I went about my day.
Our office is in the old Jewish quarter of East Berlin.
Its a lively area of restaurants and shops during the day, but at night it changes to a strange world of street walkers, beggars and the debris of human desperation.
Just down the street is a building known as Kunsthaus Tacheles ( pictured above).
It was built in 1908 and has housed all manner of enterprises.
In 1936 it was taken over by the Nazi party and eventually became the headquarters of the SS.
During the battle of Berlin the street was the scene of intense fighting and the pock marked bullet holes in buildings all along the street ( my office included) give testimony to this.
As Russian soldiers advanced up the street, the SS flooded the cellars to slow infiltrators and it remains full of water to this day.
After the war the building was occupied by various government departments of the GDR.
Finally in 1980 the structure was scheduled for demolition and in 1980 part of the structure was knocked down but the process was never completed.
A second phase of demolition was scheduled for April 1990, but two months before it was scheduled to begin the building was occupied by a group of artists calling themselves the "K√ľnstlerinitative Tacheles".
Tacheles is a yiddish word meaning "plain speaking or straight talking".
Adopting the word seems to be related to the censorship central to life in the GDR when artists often had to conceal the real meaning of their work, but there seems to be disagreement on this point so I offer this as only one possible reason ( and the only comprehensible explanation to me anyway ) .
The artists succeeded in their bid for a "creative space" and demolition was cancelled.
Today Tacheles houses a nightclub and art center and fancies itself as a central hub of bohemian expression. The artists are very much the driving force and sculptures made from cast off iron seems to be "the thing" here.
It strikes me as a bit of fun and though the naivety of rebellious youth is central to the place and raises a smile, it's interesting in its own way.
The cathedral below has been the subject of my camera before.
It looks considerably different on a bright spring day.
The last time it had a more "contemplative" vibe.
That's it for today.
Eat, drink and be merry.
Love to all
T

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This art work's really good. (The home fries I had with K at a Hello Berlin joint were exceptionally good too.) L

Anonymous said...

Look out for engraved brass memorial cobbles: Stolpersteine.
TR-HW

Anonymous said...

Blutwurst: Blood, barley or buckwheat, god knows what indeed.
Kaszanka or kiszka in Poland.

Not my fave, lardy.

TR-HW