Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flohmarkt am Mauerpark

Today Karla, Raul, Marisol and I went to the the flea market. Actually I ended up going to three; which kind of tires me out on the topic. Something's changed for me in the past year, I'm not as interested in buying random junk or even looking at random junk. Aversion to junking is probably not going to harm me in the future. But for today, it was a lot of fun. Here are some photos: One of a massive dishes seller - A lot of the sellers are Turkish - and one of a spices seller (I bought "Arabisch Gewürtz" and cardamom from him) - and one of a hat seller who may have also been the hat designer - and one of a general junk seller who happened to have doll parts in great number. I'd considered buying some of them (random junk) but then decided only to take a photo, for which she chased me for a block and chewed me out. I pretended I didn't speak German. Weenie me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Artx and Pentagram Visits

Yesterday morning we hopped the Strassenbahn in front of the hotel and took a ride to Prenzlauerberg, where we were invited to visit a small web design company called Artx. The owner, Folker Silge, gave us the tour around his new offices and spoke about the Artx business model. You can see from their website that theirs is a volume business, providing inexpensive and fixed-priced services to customers who find them on the internet (first photo). Great office space with neat tiles.

After the tour we walked back to the train past the old L-4 (our school) which used to be in a multi-colored Art Nouveau building (I think there's a photo in the 2007 part of this blog).

After a lunch at 12 Apostles at Sevignyplatz and a wander through a fantastic art book store, we proceeded to Pentagram, close by in Charlottenberg. (On the way I took photo #2 of some students: Ruth, Karla, Kat, and Nathan, in front of Kaisers)

Justus Oehler, a partner at Pentagram and the head of the Berlin office, gave us a fascinating and opinionated talk about the importance of design and the puzzling indifference of - well everyone except designers I guess, to graphic design issues particularly and to a critical vocabulary and public discourse about those issues. (last photos. that's me with Justus). It was the second time I'd been to Pentagram with an Ai Study Abroad group, and truly a privilege to be hosted by Justus, who is a charismatic and compelling speaker.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Everyone's Celebrating

I don't have photos yet but tonight I watched (teary-eyed) as Barak Obama was inaugurated - translated to German, at an Italian restaurant, in Berlin. Birgit and I joined the restaurant employees in marking this historic, joyful moment... good for the world we hope...

Under the Weather But...

There are 12 students in the Berlin program this time, all lovely people and I mean it: 10 of them and I have come down with the most awful colds. Perhaps I should say cold, because it's the same lung and throat and blech for everyone. Yesterday I went to the Apotheke downstairs and enumerated to the pharmacist my symptoms: Kopfschmerz (headache) Halsschmerz (throat ache) Ohrschmerz (earache) and Husten (cough). She gave me Lutschen (like cough drops only they are anesthetic, at least they make me feel better) and some cough medicine the active ingredient of which is - Thyme juice. I can't claim it doesn't work.

Tonight we'll all be watching as our new President is sworn in... I'm meeting Birgit Heitfeld to witness the event at a Tapas place near Hackescher Markt. I remember in 1985(?) Ronald Reagan's inauguration (the second) when Stuart and I lived in DC. Though we were a mile or so from the White House, we were near the Omni Shoreham where there was at least one Ball. The limos, the glamour...traffic jam in front of our apartment. So now Reagan's reign will come to an end...

I did take some video, I will try to upload it again. THis one's of the Warschauer Strasse Station near the hotel, where what, 7 train lines converge:

Friday, January 16, 2009


As far as visuals go, the neighborhood where we are living is covered with graffiti and placards for bands and other performance-related activities. There is in front of the building a Strassenbahn (street train) and a block away are what, 7 train lines or something. So here are some more visuals of the neighborhood:

Some pictures of the neighborhood

It seems as if every moment of the day is taken up with some amazing activity. Or eating and drinking. Yesterday I took my camera around the neighborhood. First, I'll show something of the building where we're staying and the view out my window:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dateline Berlin, January 2009

Here I am your foreign correspondent back in Berlin for another tour... well of course it's far from a military gig, I'm here with a group of lovely students who are studying graphic design, media design, and film for the quarter. This quarter many classes are being taught by europeans - for example, one can enroll in German Culture and Civilization, or Aesthetics, or World War II Europe... even the Graphic Design courses are taught this quarter by a Berliner who runs her own design company here. The photo is of our group, at the Berliner Philharmoniker.

My Special Projects class has a Berlin client - Axel Springer TV Guide - and we will be doing a website redesign for them. Our German Art Director is very coincidentally a graduate of Ai Ft Lauderdale ('99). Small world. Here is a photo of Jason in front of Checkpoint Charlie

My room overlooks a courtyard and across that there is another old building with verdegris copper framing the withdows, and a red tile roof. I'm near the top floor so it's very sunny, with giant windows. Here is a shot of Jose, Eleanor and Teesha in front of the Antike Museum.

It's very cold here, with one of the nights breaking record low temperatures. Still, we have managed to do all of our walking tours. Even the students from California are responding in good humor. Today I went early to the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark (a giant flea market). Unlike in the US, Berliners see no reason at all to make these seasonal, shutting down for the winter. I was expecting an abbreviated version, but no, everyone was there, with - car parts, measuring tape, their mother's china, handknit everything, hot corn on the cob, glühwein, coffee, crepes, all kinds of Turkish food I don't know about, old photos, old boots, new boots, new photos, kids and babies, music... students were too wiped out to go with me but there'll be another time. I bought thread, scarves, and later at the train station I bought green tea (you can buy anything in the train station too. Great place). Here is The Berliner Dom, taken from the Antike Museum