Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts from the ‘Culture’ category

“Science is an integral part of culture. It’s not this foreign thing, done by an arcane priesthood. It’s one of the glories of the human intellectual tradition.” – S.J. Gould.

My Berlin: Alicja Kwade, bridging art and science

Above/featured: Alicja Kwade exhibition, at the Berlinische Galerie. HL:X70.

In October 2021, I watched DW Culture’s Arts.21 feature on Polish-German artist Alicja Kwade. I knew I had to see her work and exhibition in person, but would it be even possible? My answer arrived six weeks later with a quick jump home to Berlin.

All of Kwade’s sculptural pieces in her exhibition, “In Abwesenheit” (In Absence)”, are “self-portraits.” But none of them show her face; the pieces aren’t necessarily simple, nor are they “selfies” characterized by the present vernacular. She is not physically present, and yet, every piece provides the visitor a glimpse into her mindset including questions she raises about the volatility of the human condition and about where we fit within a very large universe.

As former research scientist, I’m recognizing and I’m loving the influences on her art. She is clearly very interested in mathematics, physics, astrophysics, biology, genetics; but she’d be the first to admit she’d need multiple lives to completely fulfill all of her interests. The deconstruction of “self” into precise scientific elements is another way of expressing those (dreaded) “selfies” or self-portraits. I admire the clever play: it’s the breakdown into those elements that tell us what she is, and it’s the measured synthesis of those elements into the broad strokes of her sculptures that tell us who she is.

We’re all playing this game. Everyday things seem so important. But then you zoom out and realize that you’re standing with another billion [people] on a spinning sphere. With that perspective, you’re reminded to just be glad you’re here at all.

– 16 April 2019, Artnet News about her rooftop commission at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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My Berlin: Chinese-Canadian Commonwealth War Grave

Above/featured: Cemetery view facing west, from the shelter building to the Stone of Remembrance, Cross of Sacrifice, and Terrace in the distance (WCL-X70: 14/21mm).

There’s a presence from western Canada buried in eastern Germany.

In Vancouver, Canada, the H.Y. Louie family has long been a part of the Chinese-Canadian community and the overall merchant community. Their current business holdings include the London Drugs chain of stores and the IGA grocery-store chain; both are recognized and known throughout greater Vancouver.

One member of the family is resting permanently 8000 kilometres away in Berlin, Germany. After learning about this, an important goal in a return to the German capital city is to visit the cemetery where Q.J. Louie is buried and pay respects at his grave. It has never been a matter of if, but when I return to Berlin.

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S-Bahn Berlin, S-Bahn, Savignyplatz, S5, Berlin, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Berlin fall, two

(Autumn in Berlin, 2 of 4.)

I’m at Savignyplatz watching the skies in fading afternoon light. I’m fascinated by the changing silhouettes of passing trains against the fixed silhouettes of the surrounding railway infrastructure. The elevated tracks of the east-west Stadtbahn (city rail link) are prominent here as several S-Bahn rail lines go through the area. In this image, the right-hand track is for westbound trains, as an S5 train heads outbound to Spandau*.

* As of posting (2021), the S3 and S9 S-Bahn lines traverse the Stadtbahn with their western terminus station at Spandau.

I made the photo above on 13 Oct 2017 with a Canon EOS6D mark1 and the following settings: 1/320-sec, f/8, ISO4000, and 45mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-lt4.

tango, Tangoloft Berlin, Wedding, Gesundbrunnen, Berlin, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Berlin fall, one

(Autumn in Berlin, 1 of 4.)

I follow my friends, M and S, to the Tangoloft. Their time living in South America has allowed them to pursue their love of tango dancing. Having moved their family to Berlin, M and S are now able to “tango” more regularly; Berlin is host to one of the world’s largest tango communities outside Buenos Aires.

I tag along, but I can’t dance worth shit. But ideas flit through my mind; I’m fortunate I can sit back and capture what I see in various ways. The photograph above has an ethereal ghost-like quality I really like: here one moment, and gone the next. I can almost “feel” the eyes staring at me and into the camera.

In the summer of 2020, the Tangoloft location in Wedding/Gesundbrunnen closed because of the pandemic, and their inventory was sold off.

As follow-up to “colours of fall”, I made the photo above on 8 Oct 2017 with a Canon EOS6D mark1 and the following settings: 0.5-sec, f/4, ISO2000, and 24mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-lsT.

Maplewood Flats, Burrard Inlet, Burnaby Mountain, North Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Coast Salish place names, five

Civilization, before colonization

In the District of North Vancouver, Maplewood Flats is a wildlife conservation area including lush green space and a set of mudflats (off-limits to humans). In this image facing east are the following place names, courtesy of the SFU Bill Reid Centre:

•   Stitsma – fishing spot for the Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) people, an area once abundant in salmon, trout, and crab.

•   Lhuḵw’lhuḵw’áyten – Squamish for “arbutus from which bark is removed in spring”; Barnet Marine Park, formerly Barnet Mill. Now includes all of Burnaby Mountain and Simon Fraser University (SFU).

•   səl̓ilw̓ət – hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word meaning “waters of Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm”; root word for səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ – “Tsleil-Waututh” place/residence/village in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, meaning “People of the Inlet.” Land remnant today is Burrard Inlet Reserve No. 3.

I’m grateful to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples on whose lands I was born as guest. I made the photo above on 16 Jun 2021 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime with the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 18.5mm (28mm) focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-lfy.

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