Die Bärliner - The Bard College Berlin Student Blog
Tag "History"
on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

Students in the Summer Language German Intensive Program visit the Hamburger Bahnhof. (Credit: Irina Stelea)

The BCB Summer Language German Intensive Program came to a close earlier this month. From the 10th June to the 10th July, a handful of students from various universities immersed themselves in the German language and took part in cultural events across Berlin. This podcast includes snippets of conversations with some of the participants on their experiences at BCB and in Berlin.

Featured songs, in order of appearance:

“Komm Doch” by Die Caufner Schwestern (1978)

“Sonnenallee” by Rio Reiser (1990)

Essay by Mark Twain, source here.


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Smolny Campus. (Credit: Smolny Student Conference Organizing Committee)

Two weeks ago, I attended the annual Smolny student conference. Five days I frolicked about and ate lots and lots of pierogies. Not a single dull moment was lived. This article is a reflection on my experience of the city:

I boarded at midnight. The experience was positively surreal. I had run across Riga airport to catch my connection — a process significantly slowed down by the immigration police’s diligence in checking my passport and visa. When I ultimately reached the gate, steadying my heart rate, I saw my flight there was a tiny jetplane. The plane was crowded with a peculiar mix of people: businesswomen and football fans sat side by side. Its odor was a combination of garlic and sweaty old person. Everywhere I looked I saw  babies with the potential to spark total mayhem. The plane shook and puffed and finally got us there in one piece. All the while in front of me, a girl calmly edited her selfie for the duration of the 40 min flight, nudging the brightness back and forth to reach perfection — which of course took a while, because of the shaking and all. But there’s no questioning her determination. I had to remind myself I wasn’t on a bus to a rural town; I was flying to St.Petersburg, the country’s former capital. She greeted me with snow. Welcome to Russia!

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► 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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"Sequelitis" chart (credit: Hollywood Reporter)

Hollywood Reporter has affectionately dubbed this new phenomenon”Sequelitis” (credit: Hollywood Reporter)

2016 has been a historically awful year for Hollywood. Cinemas have not sold this few tickets per person in the US since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, sequels have become Hollywood’s new addiction.The number of sequels among the top-grossing Hollywood movies has doubled in the past 10 years. At the same time, we see that several sequels failed at the box office this year while Marvel movies are still living up to their usual numbers.

Could this signal the decline of the long-standing sequel strategy?

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►Monday: Olympia 


Belgian artist David Claerbout’s multi-layered installation work reflects on time and its dimensions. Through video installations, historical photographs, reconstructed images and film footages, this exhibition traces the disintegration of the Berlin Olympic Stadium over a thousand years. While making the flow of time of a whole century become almost tangible to the audience, the exhibition also illuminates the ‘Thousand-Year Reich’ and Albert Speer’s architectural ideas and theories.

  • When: 12:00-18:00
  • Where: KINDL – Am Sudhaus 2, 12053 Berlin
  • Admission: free
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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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Watercolor by Amelia Walsh

Watercolor by Amelia Walsh

Mila Rosenthal sat in the kitchen of her apartment a week before the first air raid of her city: Berlin. Her son, Peter, was still asleep in his room. Mila set the kettle on the stove top and walked around aimlessly, humming to herself. As the water began to boil, she watched the steam rise. It was beautiful. The vapor twisted and turned, dancing in the air before disappearing altogether. Mila was so mesmerized by the steam that she failed to recognize the kettle shrieking at her that the water was ready. The thing that tipped her off was the sound of Peter yelling from his room to “Make it stop!” Mila quickly dimmed the flame and made herself a cup of tea. She added some of the hot water to powdered milk for Peter. He emerged from his room sleepy-eyed and sat down at the breakfast table. He began sipping his warm milk. Mila stared at her beautiful boy with the unconditional love only a mother can know. Peter was six years old and would be starting kindergarten at the end of the summer. The year was 1940 and it was mid-August. Mila told her son to get ready for his trip to his Aunt Petra’s house.

Petra was the sister of Mila’s late husband, Aaron Rosenthal. He died in a car crash in late 1938. At the time, Peter was four years old. The other driver survived the crash and claimed that Aaron caused the crash intentionally, as if he wanted to die. Mila tried to ignore that idea. Aaron’s death alone was devastating to her. She channeled all of her love, which was once distributed evenly between Aaron and Peter, into her son. Motherhood consumed her life. It was the perfect distraction for Mila, who did not care to focus on the state of her country or the death of her husband. Instead, she packed lunches, patched clothes, and planned outings. 

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Room of Silence

Pariser Platz, the site where one can find the renowned Brandenburg Tor, is one of the most crowded spaces in Berlin. How many times have you found yourself wandering across it, trying to avoid the massive groups of tourists (especially in spring and summer) admiring the Gate or taking pictures in front of it? And how often did you mindlessly, as an inhabitant of this city, passed by the Brandenburg Gate – thinking there is nothing new to see or interesting to experience there anymore?

I know I have had those thoughts – too many times. We often visit and see the places we know with our “old eyes”, unaware of their hidden gems and peculiarities that sometimes open up to us only on second look, second reading, second experience of an already seen part of this city. Only then we can notice the tiny jewels on an already impressive crown – or in this case, the island of peace in the sea of loudness and crowdedness that is Pariser Platz. That peace island is just a room really, yet it represents a precious accessory to Berlin’s most famous landmark. This “room of peace” is perhaps more commonly known as the “Room of Silence.”

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