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► Monday: Transmediale – Alien Matter

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The theme of this special exhibition is neo-cybernetic connections between humans, creatures and technology. The featured artists tackle questions arising in today’s neo-cybernetic environment: Is the world gradually becoming “alien matter” due to a proliferation of artificially intelligent technologies, creating a tension between human and non-human forces?

  • When: 10:00-19:00
  • Where:  John Foster Dulles Allee 10, 10557 Berlin
  • Admission: 3€
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► Monday: Kreuzberg – Amerika

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As a part of the collaborative project Werkstatt für Photographie 1976 – 1986, this exhibition traces the history and influences of the Berlin based photography institute to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The renown of this institute is a result of its innovative approach towards photography as an independent form of art and a means of cultural expression. Over 250 photographs, both iconic and lesser known, are featured in this exhibition. They include works from 70s and 80s West Berlin as well as the United States.

  • When: 11:00 – 20:00
  • Where:  Amerika Haus – Hardenbergstraße 22–24, 10623 Berlin
  • Admission: 6€
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► Monday: Interfilm Festival Opening

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Start your week on a positive note by attending the Opening Night Gala of one of Europe’s most important short film festivals: the Interfilm. The opening ceremony of the week-long film festival will not only host international guests and Berlin celebrities, but will also show a selection of films and live music! Make sure to check out the daily program for the festival and make your pick.

  • When: 21:00
  • Where: Volksbühne –  Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 10178 Berlin
  • Admission: 8€
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bjorn braun

Still of a video installation by artist Björn Braun exhibited at the Meyer Riegger Gallery in Berlin (Credit: artatberlin)

This last Thursday I had the pleasure of being toured around several art exhibition openings by the artist Shila Khatami, who I am interning for as a part of Bard College Berlin’s Internship Seminar. After a long bike ride through the suburban haze of Pankow, I finally reached Kreuzberg. I met with Shila at a café  across from her studio on Oranienstr. We had a coffee before entering into her studio, located behind a Turkish mosque and two clubs.

The first show we went to was Achim Riethmann’s opening at the Gallerie Russi on Luckauer Str. The small gallery was filled with both young gallery-goers and older, seasoned patrons. Most people were congregated on the street in front of the gallery.

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Watercolor by Amelia Walsh

Watercolor by Amelia Walsh

Living in Berlin for the past four months has given me the unusual perspective of someone who is not from the city, but has had far more time than any tourist to explore and discover its interworking. During my studies, I have had many guests come and stay with me, everyone cherishing their excuse to visit one of Europe’s coolest cities. As a result, I have put together this useful guide for a quick visit to Berlin.

The virtual tour starts at Eberswalder Straße, a street full of shops and cafes, and one of the stops along the U2 U-Bahn line, and tram M1 and M10. From here, you are within walking distance of many treasures. If you wish to enjoy a cheap and tasty pizza, go to the San Marco restaurant at Schӧnhauser Allee 102, where you can get an entire pizza, toppings and all, along with a cocktail, for under €5. I recommend exploring the area and looking into all the little shops. Tourists tend to be particularly interested in a bar called Druide, at Schönhauser Allee 42.

If you walk southwest down Kastanienallee, one of the intersecting streets at the Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn stop, you will come across a pretty boulevard called Oderberger Straße. If you take a right on this street, you will pass many nice restaurants, as well as a delicious ice cream and waffle parlor, which is much larger than one would expect at first glance, called Kauf Dich Glücklich, located at Oderberger Straße 44. Just beyond this place, the street comes to an end and turns into Mauerpark. This park is always packed with people on Sundays, as it holds a large flea market, where you can shop for just about anything, from clothing to silverware and to food. For those interested in Berlin’s history, you may be surprised to learn that this park used to sit along the line between East and West Germany.

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Lazy August Afternoon

One sunny August afternoon on the ECLA of Bard campus…

I still vividly remember August 26, 2012 – my first time in Berlin and at ECLA of Bard. A lot of expectations blended into the abstract colors of the unknown. Another start anew, characterized mostly by the “pull-and-push” mechanism between anxiety and excitement. The interesting thing about being a student is that you have a different perspective on new beginnings than most adults do. The time when we revise our past, decide upon new callings, dream bigger and with new enthusiasm is not the start of the calendar year, but rather that of another academic year. I felt it last year. In fact, I feel it now, too. So does the new generation of ECLA of Bard students that arrived to our tiny, yet fairytale-like campus in early August this year…

Seeing the new students confusingly wander around campus in their first days gave me a “déjà vu” of my past experience, but also made me feel slightly envious. It is funny, this phenomenon we call “time” – it goes by so unnoticed and fast, and before you even realize it, something in you has already changed. The thought of going back in time and experiencing all the ‘firsts’ in Berlin and at ECLA of Bard suddenly becomes so luring and inviting: re-living experiences, such as going to the East Side Gallery or the Club of the Visionaries for the first time, and yet again, having that rush feeling of doing something in a new place and time. This novelty sometimes incites you to discover a part of yourself you did not even know existed; maybe yet again get excited about something like the (omnipresent) Berlin street graffiti or a 2,500 year old mummy from the ancient Egyptian period on the Museum Island, depending on your sphere of interests.

Read more to experience the beginning of the new academic year at ECLA of Bard

Berlin Turkish Market

I have been fascinated with the concept of bazaars since my childhood. Growing up in Pakistan, my mother used to go to the Sunday market – otherwise known as the farmer’s market – and buy loads of fresh vegetables and fruits. Our house was known for the variety of fruits and food items that my parents very lovingly picked out. We never ate out, and thus we were those fast- food -deprived children who always wondered when other people talked about a new restaurant.

The source of this dietary routine was the farmer’s market. Half of me loathed these markets and the other half loved them, with the people standing in rows behind tables full of food, yelling to attract the customers. These markets reminded me of the bazaars from the Thousand and One Nights, a narrative that filled a large part of my childhood. From Sinbad the Sailor to Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, bazaars retain a very special place in the action of the stories. Intricate plots and the role which bazaars played in those stories made me further romanticize the notion of these markets. And to date, whenever I visit a different country, I look for a bazaar as a place to connect back with my childhood days.

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Busy and Crowded – Just as it is Supposed to Be

Bergmannstrasse was flooded with visitors during the festival. The white tents on both sides of the street are all a part of the festival program – either as market stalls or food stations.

Kreuzberg’s Bergmannstrasse, a main thoroughfare in one of Berlin’s diverse and historic neighborhoods, is home to the annual Bergmannstrassenfest, a jazz and music festival which animates the area for three days each summer. A rich program attracts fans to the street, where picturesque sights and sounds can be seen, heard and enjoyed. This year, the festival took place from June 28 to 30. Over forty bands performing on four stages entertained the numerous visitors during the last days of June. The jazz festival is known throughout Berlin and even beyond the city borders, transforming the lively Bergmannstrasse area of Kreuzberg into a place of astonishing music performances and great multicultural cuisine.

Kreuzberg jazzt! is one of the highlights of Berlin summer and can pride itself with quite a long history. The festival has cherished the idea of peaceful coexistence between generations and cultures since its inauguration in 1994. The partaking bands perform on three stages each year: Mehringdamm, Upper Nostitzstrasse and Zossener Strasse. The fourth stage is theatrical and features performances for both adults and children. All of this, accompanied by excellent street food and an open market with various goods available for browsing in between the stages, makes the Bergmannstrassenfest an ideal weekend getaway for Berliners of all ages, tastes and backgrounds.

Read more and relive the spirited atmosphere of the festival