Die Bärliner - The Bard College Berlin Student Blog

► Monday: Fighting the Far-Right Surge – Women’s Rights Now!

Although far-right politicians persistently violate and attack women’s rights, a new wave of feminism that takes an intersectional approach is growing internationally. The fight has been undertaken against female rights violations and conflicts of all types – from autonomy to reproductive rights, the wage gap, freedom of movement, classism and racism. Join The Coalition’s panel talk as feminist activists from Ireland, Poland, Hungary and Germany discuss the struggles currently ongoing in their countries as well as the experience of women of colour in Europe.

  • When: 18:30 – 20:00
  • Where: Köpenicker Str. 30, 10179
  • Admission: free
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a womaN with a BouQuet of wild floweRs foR a head oN my left thiGh”. (Credit: Alona Cohen)

a womaN with a BouQuet of wild floweRs foR a head oN my left thiGh. (Credit: Alona Cohen)

I thiNk of love More than aNythiNg else.

My skin always Bruised very Easily

It is the oNly Physical RepReseNtatioN of How My MiNd experieNces life.

My soul TurNs Black aNd Blue as easily as My skin Does.

From the smallest Bumps, EvEn a Good thinG

If pRessed too lonG, too strongly.

The iNk emBedded iN my skin is the other side of life, the hiGh.

WheN I Got my last tattoo, a womaN with a BouQuet of wild floweRs foR a head oN my left thiGh, the skiN Bruised.

She was Blue, theN Yellow.

It took heR as lonG to Get heR coloR RiGht

As it does me to Get used to life EveRy time.      

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Die Glühbirne: the lightbulb, literally the “glowpear”

Die Glühbirne: the lightbulb, literally the “glowpear”

After about four months of classes and 5 months in Germany,  I find myself in German A2, well aware that German — with its random articles and various cases, not to mention the seemingly impossible sound that lingers in the gap between ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ — is a difficult language to learn. But there is good to be found in the language learning process. German relies heavily on compound words, which anyone can invent and use whenever they so desire, while still remaining grammatically correct. This allows for amazing specificity and has resulted in many odd, whimsical sounding names for various objects and ideas.

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► Monday: Populism, Politics & Propaganda 

This debate and panel talk questions the role of media and press in today’s rise of right-wing populism. On the one hand, the trend of “fake news” or alternative facts undermines the reliability of the media, especially in Trump’s America. On the other hand, journalists who want to uncover the truth face public threats and even arrests, like those in Turkey. In the face of all those challenges, who can uncover the truth? Who checks the facts?

  • When: 20:00 – 22:00
  • Where: Bar Jeder Vernunft – Schaperstr. 24, 10719
  • Admission: free
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New No’s” Poster (Credit: Paul Chan and Badlands Unlimited)

New No’s” Poster (Credit: Paul Chan and Badlands Unlimited)

I left New York City for Berlin on the 24th of January. The days before my departure were saturated with a dissociative pain that stemmed from their proximity to the inauguration of President Trump, which took place on January 20th. Mostly I was aware of a void-like sadness. This void enveloped my singular self, everyone I loved, communities experiencing oppressions that I as a cis white woman will never be subject to, and communities that I belong to as a queer person and survivor of sexual violence. The effect was tangible in the city, between and across neighborhoods, a dull reverberation. The fact that this collective mourning was distributed unequally due to the diverse lived experiences and levels of social privilege of those affected complicated the act of articulation. I found myself and my peers falling into spells of isolation, or, conversely, dispersing articles, posts, and personal rants at a frantic pace via the constantly replenishing outlets of social media. Neither of these tactics left me with any feeling of agency or productivity: The nature of voids is that they swallow and calcify anything dynamic, leaving their subjects in a state of vertigo.

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Calvin echoes my sentiments on school. (Credit: Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes comics)

“So what’s the plan after this?”

Whoever you are and wherever you are: If you’re a breathing, barely surviving student, you’ve been asked this question before. I don’t know about you, but every time I start to think about what I want to do post graduation, my heart begins to palpitate at an unusually fast pace, and somehow I end up under my covers, scrolling through Instagram — even though I swear I don’t remember any of that

It’s tough. Life as a student is confusing and disorienting: You spend half your time wondering what the heck you did with that pencil you had in your hand a minute ago, and the other half worrying about who is going to hire you and pay you real money for your services.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to study such a variety of courses, but I often wonder what’s next. Will I be a writer? Maybe I’ll be a teacher. Prime Minister of Djibouti? Art Historian?

I DON’T KNOW! I find myself under my covers and scrolling through Instagram again.

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► Monday: One Year Home

Initially intended as a short-term project, the intensity of the encounters and photographs shot for ‘One Day as a Refugee’ resulted in a long-term collaboration between the photographer Lorenz Kienzle and the Syrian filmmaker Omar Akahare. Using photographs and film representations, the two arists document and explore the daily lives of refugees in Guben and Lietzen.

  • When: 11:00-18:00
  • Where: Käthe Kollwitz Museum  – Fasanenstraße 24, 10719
  • Admission: 4
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Two girls nap on a sleeper train in Railway Sleepers Credit: World Film Festival of Bangkok

Two girls nap on a sleeper train in Railway Sleepers. (Credit: World Film Festival of Bangkok)

I only went to see two films at the Berlinale International film festival, and I only stayed awake for one and a half of them. Despite the negative review my nap seems to suggest, the effort with which I attempted to keep my eyes open tells a different story. Both films, Centaur and Railway Sleepers, were wonderful — beautifully shot with subtle but imaginative narratives. The festival lived up to my expectations twofold, and my expectations were far from low.

Founded in West Berlin in 1951, the Berlinale was originally conceived by an American film officer of the US Army as a propaganda tool during the Cold War.  It was meant to be a showcase of the so-called “free world.” Hitchcock’s Rebecca was the very first film to be shown, and, for the first years, the festival was dominated by American and British works. It wasn’t until 1955 that a German film won the top prize. Originally, East Berliners were also able to see films for lower prices at specific screenings. These screenings ended in 1961, but the propaganda continued as the wall went up, with 500 movie posters hung to be visible to East Berliners. The festival grew from there, eventually shedding the US influence. Now it is one of the most highly attended and well-reputed international film festivals in the world, as well as one of the most influential. After two films watched and 10 euros spent, I understand why.

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