Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts from the ‘Europe’ category

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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21 for 21: Foto(ein)s for 2021

Above/featured: U2 train departing Berlin’s Zoologischer Garten station – 28 November 2021.

I look back at an eventful 2021 year with 21 images with personal questions about how impending- and actual-loss affect how life proceeds beyond death, and how feelings of real belonging are different from feelings of a proper home.


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Berlin: a quick 8000-km jaunt home during the pandemic

Above/featured: S-Bahn station Messe Nord/ICC – 27 Nov 2021 (X70).

I’m going home to Berlin, for the 1st time in 4 years.

To travel at all, and to go international, is a big privilege; I’m grateful for the window of opportunity.

After a long gruelling emotional 2020 year taking care of an elderly parent at home with cancer and accompanying them safely to their final days, I’m desperate to get outta Vancouver for a break. But another 9 months pass before the largest roadblock to travel is dissolved. At the end of October 2021, the Canadian government releases a digital vaccination certificate suitable for domestic and international travel. Within a week, I have a set itinerary using credits from a cancelled trip.

The following describes plans and unconventional sights for Berlin, Germany over 11 days in the 2nd-half of November 2021. As case counts change and situations evolve at both ends, travellers must remain vigilant with extra preparation and adapt to changing policies, protocols, and requirements by different countries for visitors, ensuring safe and smooth travel, out and back. I go over all guidelines supplied by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and the city state of Berlin.

I’m not going to lug my DSLR camera and extra glass for this quick trip. Instead, I’ll only use my 340-gram (12-ounce) compact fixed-lens camera. In all respects, it’s a big weight off my shoulders.


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Grillplatz, Tempelhofer Feld, Flughafen Tempelhof, THF, Tempelhof, Berlin, Hauptstadt, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Berlin fall, four

(Autumn in Berlin, 4 of 4.)

After the Soviet Union had closed and cut off all ground-based supply routes in 1948 to West Berlin, Tempelhof Airport (THF) became the focal point for providing a lifeline between West Germany and West Berlin during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949. Tempelhof continued operating as an airport until 2008.

The former airfield is now well-used by Berliners as a beloved green space in the “middle of the city.” A part of the vast flat grassy areas includes a large area for grilling; I had imagined bumper-to-bumper grills with little battery-operated fans blowing out wafts to tempt passers-by.

I made the photo above on 19 Oct 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and the following settings: 1/400-sec, f/4.5, ISO200, and 29mm focal length (46mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-ltm.

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