Credit: Charlotte Boccone.
One of the first things that the two women, a burlesque dancer and a party organizer, mentioned to me was how hard it is to be a woman in their businesses here in Brazil. I was interviewing them for an anthropological project on sadomasochism. In the room below us, a man was lying face up on the floor while a woman in a pink dress and four-inch stilettos was dancing on top of him. Another woman watched with a beer in her hand, sitting on the back of a man on his hands and knees. They were playing The Smiths very loudly when a man asked to worship my feet, but I informed him that I was just a researcher, thanks.
This video was made in the context of Paul Festa’s Documentary Filmmaking class. The assignment was to capture an act of artistic creation, so I decided to film selections of a workshop given by Laura Kuhn, who introduced us to John Cage’s chance drawings. In ‘Art by Chance’ I have tried to explore the way chance and control can interact with each other when creating art. The music you hear in the second part is composed by John Cage using the principle of chance here as well.
3 Days, 3 Hours at Vineta
U Vinetastrasse, where this film was shot over the course of 3 days and 3 hours, was meant to reflect on the impression I had on my part, of the station being one that was somehow more noticeably cold, lonely, stark and quiet. I was taken in by that one constant presence of the bronze sculpture at the station, while everything around it was fluid, taken in, gathered and released by time. It is around that dialogue and conflict between constancy and temporality that this movie was shot, highlighting everyday moments and experiences that signify to the subjects something that is part of a complete, complex construct, something that is lived, lived through, and comes about through having lived already.
The film was made for Paul Festa’s class on documentary film making.
Seen By The Blind
First year, first steps and most importantly a whole new phase in life. This short animation is a process within itself. Even though it is only 1 minute and 55 seconds long, I never thought it would be given any importance or there would be someone who appreciated this blink-of-an-eye experience of my first work. There is an idea, there is a thought and definitely an effort, yet I would prefer it to be open and always in the process of growing. It’s all about different phases after all.
This video was made for Claire Lehman’s Conceptual Art class and will be screened at the Boddinale film festival in Berlin on Saturday, February 14th, 2016, 5-11 pm.
Students discussing matters of grave importance (credit: Inasa Bibic)
it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new semester for all of us and we at Die Bärliner feel more than just good about accompanying you also on the next episode of Bard College Berlin life. We hope you’ll savor on our pages its distinctive blend of effervescent craziness, deep conversations, playful idleness, and homely conviviality. Welcome, and welcome back!
The last semester concluded with debates and reflection on the diversity and lack thereof on our syllabi and the new semester, too, promises many occasions to continue thinking through what we are doing. Michael Weinman called for discussions on Public Seminar and a lively debate has ensued. Soon we will publish a longer article by Tamar Maare based on a series of interviews with BCB graduates in which they reflect on liberal education and the job market, continuing also our long-standing commitment to featuring alumni and alumnae on the blog. Two upcoming events will offer further occasion to discuss the liberal arts in the contemporary world: the upcoming Berlin Weekend will feature a discussion session dedicated to this topic and a public panel discussion with BCB students and faculty is set for February 12th. More details to follow; save the dates!
Another focus for us this term will be student art. We want to continue publishing poetry regularly, and also aim to include accompanying audio recordings with it. Additionally, we look forward to sharing more visual and especially video art. To start us off we have a series of student short films forthcoming over the first weeks, and you will also find video recordings of guest lectures on the blog in the future (there are already quite a few on our YouTube channel!).
Creative content in all forms will come from our blog team – you can still apply! – but we also would like to use the occasion to call for contributions from everyone. Whether it is a poem for the Slam Poetry Club, a photo series of the neighborhood, or an installation for a practicing arts class, please consider submitting it to the blog. There is a small budget available to compensate your efforts.
“Convergence” by Jackson Pollock, 1952 (credit: WikiArt.)
Just an Expression
I wish I could draw:
Give form to my thoughts
Relinquish all the chaos of my imagination
onto a page
for another’s to make sense of
I wish I could tap that
The fount of liquid fireworks inside my head
Let drip their colours into
paintings or sketches
Order the obstinate mercury into expression
Winter impression of Oberbaumbrücke in Berlin. (Credit: Jackson.)
Rumours of a fast-approaching and fickel Berlin winter are making their way around the BCB campus. These rumours are not unfounded. With the rotation of the earth and Science, days are growing shorter and colder; light is growing less and dimmer as the sun is shrouded behind unknowably dense, grey clouds. The happy symphony of autumn has fallen to a barely audible whisper. Only occasionally does one hear the murmur of dry leaves as they skitter across the grey pavement, or the rustling of yet unfallen points of colour as the ominous wind whistles past. If we want to be optimistic, we could say the greyness is making way for the possibility of the cleansing white of snowfall, and that the silence is in respect of the oncoming holiday cheer.
But what if we don’t want to be optimistic? What if, with the draining of life and light from the earth and the bleaching of its colours, one begins to feel more than a little blue? [Read on to find out what then…] If you’ve endured such a drastic seasonal change before, you likely know what I’m talking about. If you come from somewhere where seasons are less inspired variations of one another, as they are in countries closer to the equator, you’ve probably already guessed that people might be crankier than usual in the upcoming months. Of course, most of us will get by just fine, and we will all have days when we’re just not feeling so great. But what if you begin to feel not so great more than occasionally? What if you get… SAD?
Benjamin Sivo and Muhammad Osman Ali Chaudhry (left to right, both BA 2017).
Muhammad Osman Ali Chaudhry is a third year BA student at BCB. I meet him after a rehearsal in the factory to discuss the play he has written, is directing, and will be acting in. The plot is simple, the dialogue dense. It tells of the love story between two young women whose relationship seems doomed from the start. The play brings us into their internal turmoil as communication breaks down and they become increasingly isolated from one another. There is little set decoration but intensely cinematic lighting which fades in and out throughout the play. Osman plays the narrator. A character who remains in the background though he is brought into dialogue with the protagonists in a dreamy surreal manner throughout the play.
Alexandria Sisson (BA 2019), founder of the Slam Poetry Club. Credit: Bard College Berlin
Every Sunday evening at 8pm, when a hush has stolen itself over most of the BCB campus as students scramble to prepare for the week ahead, a motley crew of outspoken and observant personalities congregates in the W16 common room for an hour (or more) of poetry. If, on such a Sunday, you were to stand outside the walls between which the Slam Poetry Club takes place, you would hear more than the familiar scratch of pens against paper or the voices of tender and seasoned poets bravely sharing their naked words: you would hear unexpected laughter, shed and swallowed tears, hesitation and uncertainty, immediate acceptance, reciprocated kindness, and power reclaimed. If you were to listen extra closely, you might recognise amidst all these sounds that of the borders between people crumbling — and, if you were to want to walk in, you would be more than welcome to join.