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The writer and Bard College Berlin student Osman Ali Chaudhry gives an interview on his work and artistic process in this video by Benjamin Sivo.

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From left to right: Inasa Bibic (BA 2016), Norman Manea, David Kretz (BA 2016). Credit: Gaia Bethel-Birch (AY 2016)

On the evening of Friday, September 18th, in a residential neighbourhood on the fringe of one of the world’s most vibrant cities, something odd occurred at Bard College Berlin. This is a time when one might expect the students of BCB to be out and about the city, or simply doing their best not to think too deeply for a while. And, indeed, most of the classrooms were empty: doors locked, lights off, lying in wait of Monday morning. Curiously, though, on this night, light and sound filled the school’s lecture hall. 

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Pespektive. Photo by the author

Photo by the author

I have always dreamt of having a blog and writing about my experiences regularly, so I was very happy to be able to write for the Bard College Berlin Student Blog. But soon I realized that blogging is not as easy as I thought: there is a variety of people who want not only to be entertained, but also to read about something they have not heard of before. Additionally, my predecessors set high standards. First I was overwhelmed and could not think of a topic to write about regularly. I spent a lot of time walking through the streets of Pankow after my classes were over, waiting to be inspired with the perfect idea, but to no avail.

After one of these walks, I went as usual to our lovely cafeteria to have dinner. The food was, as always, delicious. Instead of drinking coffee (what every college student seems to do at nearly every hour of the day, I included), I decided to drink the “Women’s Balance YogiTea.” Normally just looking at the packaging disturbs my balance. The tea bags are wrapped in pink paper, which I consider very sexist. And also, why should only women drink this tea to be in balance? Amazingly I really felt more balanced after drinking it. Moreover, a little note written on the tea bag gave me a nice surprise. Since these notes are written in German, not all students of Bard College Berlin can appreciate them. My little note that day told me: “To be happy, we have to change our perspective.”

Flavia in Potsdamer Platz

Flavia in Potsdamer Platz

This is why I decided to start a column with the title: “Say Yes to Berlin!”. I want to change my perspective by doing things that I normally would not do. It is my aim to say “yes” to every challenge that is suggested to me by the readers. The only rule is: it has to be connected to studying at Bard College Berlin or to the beautiful city of Berlin. Every two weeks I will post an article. For suggestions, questions or new challenges, I am reachable via e-mail: f.tienes@berlin.bard.edu. Thanks for your help and I look forward to accepting some challenges!

scraps heaven

Note: This author profile was written at the request of the online magazine “artaktivist,” for their issue on refugees and migration. It will be published online in both Russian and English.

If modernity is to be characterised by the theme of exile and the achievements of émigrés, as Edward Said claimed in Reflections on Exile, then the Melbourne writer Arnold Zable is modernity’s most recent chronicler.  His writing exists between geographical places one can pinpoint on a map and memories that so persist over time, and have become so imprinted on the mind’s eye, that they seem to be timeless. His characters, often refugees, survivors, or other persons displaced by conflict must tell him their stories, sometimes several times over in variegated repetition, because while their lives have moved on from the experiences they were exiled from, their recollections have not. Zable’s talent as a writer lies in his ability to minimise his narrative presence so that his stories flow effortlessly from these characters, which creates the sense that these recollections are being spontaneously shared directly with the reader. We feel as if we are there as well, perhaps sitting in a cramped apartment overlooking Pott’s Point in Sydney, hearing the story of a survivor from fin de siècle Vienna.

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