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► Monday, September 19th: Berenice Abbott – Photographs

“Photography doesn’t teach you how to express your emotions. It teaches you how to see.” – Berenice Abbott

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Having spent 60 years of her life photographing Paris in the 1920s and later New York, Abbott is regarded as one of the most influential photographers  of the 20th century. She commenced her photography career in Paris by making portraits of artists and authors in the Parisian avant-grande. She returned to New York – during a period of rapid urban transformation and innovation – Abbott set out to document this radical metamorphosis. Her photography explored such themes as the juxtaposition of decaying, demolished architecture with modern skyscrapers, the role advertisements played in the modern city, and poverty in the modern age. The exhibition features 80 of her most iconic works, including a selection of the Changing New York series and Parisian portraits.
  • When: 10:00-19:00
  • Where: Martin-Gropius-Bau – Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin
  • Admission: 5€ for students
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Romeo Castellucci - Four Seasons

Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage (WikiSpectacle)

“Please, don’t forget to take earplugs”—the girl with a tray of small blue things made me feel nervous even before Four Seasons by Romeo Castellucci started. However, the aural risk didn’t scare off Berliners and tourists alike – the show was entirely sold out.

Castellucci is originally from Italy but has created most of his performances in Avignon, France. As a result, he has been well-known and widely discussed for more than 10 years in these regions. As a follower of Antonin Artaud and his “Theatre of Cruelty,” Castellucci produces an eclectic mix of Greek dramatic plots, contemporary visual arts, technical installations, and revolting naturalism.

His Four Seasons is an homage to American artist Mark Rothko, who withdrew his paintings (totaling a surface of 600 square feet) that were originally meant to decorate the fashionable Four Seasons restaurant in 1958. Rothko returned the money to the Four Seasons and let the paintings live a solitary life until they were later exhibited in the Tate Modern Gallery.

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HegelThe American Academy in Berlin is situated in Wannsee. It was established in 1994 in order to promote better understanding between the people of Germany and United States. Scholars and fellows are invited every year to the Hans Arnhold Centre of the American Academy to study, learn and give lectures on various issues that concern both countries. The building of the Academy faces a beautiful lake and, in being away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it provides the necessary peace of mind for intellectual activities.

On November 15th, the second-year BA students visited the American Academy for a seminar on Hegel. As part of the core course on Property, we dealt with excerpts from Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Students from ECLA of Bard were invited to attend a seminar led by the Associate Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, Dean Moyar. The seminar discussion was based on Dean Moyar’s work on Hegel called Realizing Morality in Hegel’s Unified Account of Practical Rationality

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Photo: Blaga Atanassova

Have you ever been lost? Really lost, that is, in a space such as a maze or labyrinth? No matter whether you have or haven’t, the Jewish Museum in Berlin might be the perfect place to get lost in. Earlier this month, the students in Laura Scuriatti’s class on Museums, Collections, and Literature – a class which focuses on the development of the modern museum through history and on the organization and meaning of collections – had the chance to visit this unique museum. For me, a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this was also a unique comparative experience.

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When venturing to the Ethnologisches Museum on October 20th, many of the students in Laura Scuriatti’s Museums, Literature and Collections class were in the midst of writing midterm papers due that evening. As the group was waiting for the tour to start and the stragglers to join the rest, you could find students sleeping on benches, leaning against postcard displays, and aimlessly flipping through picture books in the gift shop.

That all changed when they took a trip to the South Seas. Free-lance tour guide Dr. Regina Knapp was a visiting anthropologist who focused on Papua New Guinea culture. Having spent her childhood growing up in Papua New Guinea (her parents were both teachers there), she has a deep care and concern for their culture. In fact, she had only just returned home from a research project in Papua New Guinea the day before. She began with giving the group some of her own context in relation to the museum and the cultures of the South Seas.

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Photo: Blaga Atanassova

On the morning of 13th of October, a small group of ECLA students gathered at the Platanenstrasse tram station, the majority of which preparing to go on a trip for their classes – Introduction to Human Rights with Prof. Kerry Bystrom, and Berlin: An Experiment in Modernity with Prof. Florian Becker. The destination: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. This former concentration camp is located in the small town of Oranienburg, approximately 35 kilometers north of Berlin. The trip takes a total of forty minutes to an hour at most, and can be reached by S-Bahn (Berlin’s subway).

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Photo: Irina Stelea

Each year ECLA of Bard introduces its students to the city’s dynamic past and present, in an exciting and diverse 3-day programme led by faculty, staff, and alumni. This year’s large selection of walking tours presented new and returning students alike with the cumbersome task of making their choices. The programme featured a poetry night, a culinary walk, a stroll through the heart of Berlin, several gallery and museum tours, walks along historical sites and through Berlin’s parks and manifold neighbourhoods.

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Spring has finally arrived after a seemingly interminable winter, and people are out and about enjoying the sun and the sights of Berlin. Different parts of the city offer their respective attractions like the tour favourite Museuminsel, or Prenzlauer Berg with its hip, bohemian atmosphere.

Dahlem – the district that is home to Freie Universität, the Berlin Botanical Gardens and the Ethnological Museum – is not often mentioned in students’ plans to go around the city, and with good reason. From Pankow, it takes more than an hour to reach Dahlem via transit railways, but the freedom of spring break allowed a couple of ECLA students to make the trip to the district’s group of museums.

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