Uncertain journey(s)

Life is a journey, and it would be very fair to say that even if I am not travelling physically, the need for discovery leads me to trying out different things almost everyday. I mostly spent my summer in Berlin working, which was a great ride itself, with short getaways within Europe I had no time to describe but needed so badly to change air and perspective. Not to mention the quantity of gigs and showcases I’ve been able to see.

Now the summer is over and I am heading to a very distant destination.

Inspired by the title of the exhibition I saw 2 weeks ago at Blain Southern Gallery in Berlin I am ready to travel to the country I have long dreamt to visit: Japan. This mind-blowing installation created by Chiharu Shiota is open until the end of November, so if you have a chance to visit it, I truly recommend it. Full of hidden meanings and symbolics, it reflects very well the fragile nature of emotional bounds related to travel.

I love the feeling of the unknown waiting for me, this time multiplicated by the fact that none of the languages I speak may become handy, but rather the open mind and empathy. Exactly a year ago, a good friend of mine boarded the plane to Japan to travel for a couple of months in Asia. I was happy to trace herself  while she was discovering beautiful places, spaces and faces. Now I find myself in this amazing state of mind, ready for the new adventures, albeit for much more limited period of time.

The hunger for travel is a state of mind. And so is Berlin – very often I start missing this city the moment I board the plane. I will be back soon and will focus on seeking for novelty in my everyday life. Till I book another trip…

Between East and West

It is hard to forget about the division between East and West, especially around 9th November, when Berliners celebrate the opening of the borders and, respectively, the Fall of the Wall in 1989.

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Berlin Wall became the physical symbol of the Iron Curtain and even if nowadays the idea of the Cold War division within one city sounds so abstract, it was a painful reality for many Berliners for over 28 years.

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Today the Wall can be seen from many perspectives: you can learn interesting facts and stories visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial (free admission!), Topographie des Terrors, Checkpoint Charlie, or East Side Gallery – where all the featured photos were taken.

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East Side Gallery, the longest remaining fragment of the wall, today sets the border between the multicultural neighbourhoods of Friedrichshein and Kreuzberg. East Side Galler hosts some great graffitis, mostly related to politics and history. It reminds us there are still many walls on this planet to be tear down…

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Another interesting perspective on the history of the Berlin Wall was presented in a Polish documentary film called “Rabbit a la Berlin”, telling the story of the division and “no man’s land” or “Death stripe” from rabbits’ perspective. It is based on real happenings, as during years, rabbits found a perfect place to live in between the Berlin Wall.

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Nowadays the Wall is long gone, but according to the latest HR research on salaries, Berlin still stands out as the poorest city in Germany. Salaries in Berlin can be up to 25% lower than in other cities. Interesting, as it’s been long enough as well to give Berlin the unofficial name of ‘Silicon Allee’ – innovative IT start ups’ capital.

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‘Poor but sexy’ is no longer an excuse, as the cost of living grows unproportionally to the abovementioned salaries. We can see then, how much time it takes for a city to recover after such terrifying events and decisions.

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However, as this year Germany celebrated 25 years from the unification, I hope this is a good moment for everyone to contemplate the history and its outcomes. I am proud to be living in Berlin, a capital which is maybe still very imperfect, but giving room for people with different backgrounds and ideas. Otherwise, it would still be so grey.

Le Sacre du Printemps

Das Frühlingsopfer – this the German title of Igor Stavinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, a masterpiece which pictures best by far the uncertainty and drama of the current season. Spring as a process within human minds and the slow rebirth of the nature can be painfully difficult. It is a struggle when sometimes there is no energy left to overcome the drastic changes. There are no better words and sound notes to illustrate this moment in my life, so I’d love to dedicate this post to my dear friend I suddenly lost few days ago in tragic circumstances.

Thinking about the loss as a process of life can be helpful till certain extend to accept its dark shades and harsh moments. I give myself time to think about the value of pain, grief and irreversible flow of time and space. I question the things I take for granted. I keep the moments I happily lived with him and think about the values he appreciated the most. In search for the answers and gathering the thoughts, I find it Stravinsky’s music especially close to the state of mind I am in. Not without sense, Le Sacre du Printemps is a musical journey through the idea of the sacrifice, the reinventing the seasons and yet, the usual process that takes place each and every year.

Knowing that my friend loved theatre, art and whole range of earthly pleasures and beauty so much, I would love to dedicate him Das Frühlingsopfer in this revolutionary Berliner Philharmoniker version directed by the living legend of the Kammermusik, Sir Simon Rattle. He didn’t make it to pay me a visit in my new city and I did not show him my favourite places that I promised him in my last e-mail. There is nothing else left now than appreciating the beauty of life while we are here and now in this amazing universe.

Smell the flowers while you can.