For a capital city Berlin has a lot of open spaces. These images are looking at the public parks and spaces that are used by Berliners.
Exploring the change & transformation of a city expressed through abstract formations within the structure of surrounding buildings and materials involved. Consisting of open ended formations, in which the viewer can only imagine where the rest of the picture leads to. This continual development and transformation of a city will be presented in the form of an editable publication, allowing the viewer to make the decision for them self.
With a passion for photography and street art, visiting what is known as the Street Art Capital of Europe with my course was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. The initial preparation and research we carried out before visiting Berlin played a vital part for me as I had never been before and didn’t fully know what to expect. Throughout the research it was still a struggle to really grasp an understanding for the culture, and nail down what it was I wanted to document whist we were there but from the moment we arrived it was clear to me that I had to document everything!
In the same way that graffiti artists have used every part of Berlin from the bins to the bridges to make their mark, I wanted to capture every part of the city to produce a body of work that could be viewed by people like myself, who had never visited Berlin and I wanted them to be able to understand and almost feel as though they were there themselves.
Below is a selection of photographs that I’ve chosen to represent Berlin from my point of view. They capture the architecture and construction of the ever-growing city, and document how the space is used and occupied by the people of Berlin through a series of landscape and portrait images.
There are more images and a separate project at www.karlchild.com which looks at a single street corner and the people that pass by over a short period of time, taken from an observational vantage point.
The Refugees Revolution demonstration of 23.03.2013 with over 5000 participants was the subject matter for my group project with journalists Faye Grima and Terri-Ann Williams. They interviewed individuals and recorded the event while I used black and white 35mm film to photograph the protest. As I have a growing interest in portrait photography, these are my chosen portrait images of participants from the event that stood out to me; these photographs shows the diversity of Germans who come together to fight for what they believe in.
Artists from all over the world have been attracted to Berlin, tempted by both the open spaces and low rent prices, causing an influx of alternative culture which Berlin is known for. It can be seen that the street art and the art squats of Berlin are wounded by war and feel in a very temporary state, however this is part of the charm of Berlin.
As Berlin itself continues to develop, its art squats are gradually gentrifying; resulting in many being closed down. Consequently, squatting artists are responding by means of creating art work exploring the history and future of Berlin, adding to its name “the street art capital of Europe”.
My book “How Soon is Now?” aims to document a group of artists who are actively working to remain in the grounds of the world famous art squat “Tacheles” which brought in 300,000 visiting tourists a year, but was closed and sold in 2012.
My work focuses on one artist in particular, who lives and works in the gardens of Tacheles, attempting to buy back land one square millimetre at a time. This book aims to highlight that it is the hope of many, that Berlin’s alternative art culture does not fade.
Dark tourism has become an ever-growing area across the world as many visit the macabre historical landmarks that have helped shape our current political economy. Berlin is arguably the home of many of these compelling sites. Whilst in Berlin, I focused on such historical landmarks and their importance to modern day culture. It is brutally evident when walking through Berlin that such dark tourism sites have had a huge affect on the city: both in terms of its economic touristic growth and its socio-political identity. I visited the Stasi Prison, The Holocaust Memorial Site and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where I uncovered the reasons behind I felt they were still relevant today.
Around 15 students visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in order to further understand the notorious political history of Berlin. The trip proved an interesting experience for both students and visitors.
It is acknowledged as one of the most dehumanizing enterprises in human history: Sachsenhausen Concentration camp provides a sobering and sombre remembrance of Berlin’s past. One of the largest camps of the Reich between 1936 and 1945, around 200,000 people were forced into slave labour by the Nazi regime; many of whom were hung, exterminated, shot, and used for exploitative medical experiments.
As you enter under the clock tower where the Nazis would shamelessly overlook the Jews, the unsettling words entrenched within the gate still read “Arbeit Macht Frei” [work will set you free]; a harsh reminder that the majority of those sent to the camp were “set free” through death. The guide recalled one Jewish man who was tormented by the Nazis into running into a barbed fence where he was told he would be freed.
May 29 1942 marked the beginning of some of the worst scenes at Sachsenhausen: the SS invited high ranked Nazi officials to witness a new installation at the camp and 96 Jews were killed by shooting to show the visitors the camps efficiency. This became known as Station Z – which in March 1943 was turned into a gas chamber which was used until the end of the war.
But despite offering a disturbing outlook of German history, for many, Sachsenhausen remains an important place for people visiting Berlin.
Noach Flug from the International Auswitz Committee said: “The world has learned too little from our history. Remembrance and commemoration must remain the equal task of both citizens and states”.
A visitor on the day also added: “As a German-born 22-year-old from Hamburg, I cannot say I like to come here. It is hard to accept that this happened but it is important to remember that it did” [Sebastian Statistik].
Has tourism gone too far?
Although Sachsenhausen is undoubtedly an important place to commemorate those exposed by the Nazi regime, it was interesting to see how visitors behaved.
As I look around the concentration camp on a snowy day in March, I am startled by many on the grounds of a memorial site throwing snowballs and carelessly messing around.
Second year students Hannah MacInnes and Danielle Griffiths who visited the camp alongside other UCLan students said they were “confused by the behaviour of many at the camp”.
“It’s very important to visit here to understand what happened in Germany to avoid it happening again, but it is also important to treat it with respect, not like many have today”.
Danielle Griffiths added: “I am unsure as to whether the camp should still be here: I think tourism has gone too far”.
On the very grounds of where thousands of innocent people were killed today lies a snowman and a group of teenagers laughing whilst having a snowball fight.
Has tourism gone too far? Whether Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is a portrayal of tourism going too far or a commemoration of survivors and those who lost their life remains an open question.
Berlin has developed a huge transport infrastructure over the years and will take you almost anywhere you wish to go. With an unlimited travel ticket around the city for a week Claire Cooper kept a record of various different railways she used during the trip. Its a very complex system for sure but with quite a few trains and trams caught during the time spent there it became a lot easier.
In the Jewish Museum a multitude of lost citizens and their personal items and letters are displayed in a purpose-built underground building. The exhibition is laid out on a system of three axis – Continuity, Emigration and Holocaust. The items displayed in each section are relevant to whether the Jews emigrated or were taken into concentration camps, the axis of continuity displaying Berlin’s history with the other two axis branching off.
These images are of letters and personal belongings of Jews that have been donated to the Jewish museum, a very personal look into what each person considered important.
Before I even got to berlin I had a real interest in the history. We all know about the conflict and some of the things which happen, but to actually go and visit these places such as the concentration camps is not something many of us will ever get the opportunity to do. So when I got the chance to see what it would of been like I took it. I wanted my images to somehow show what the place was like and even some of the things that have been left behind.
The Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection in Berlin has a range of antiquities which rivals that of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
This year the museum is holding a special exhibition: “In light of Amarna,100 years discovery of Nefertiti”. As Cairo continue to claim the bust of Nefrititi is rightfully theirs, a spokesperson for the Berlin Museum says that ‘the bust is too fragile to travel’.
In the past tensions have been high between the Museum in Berlin and Cairo. The bust of Nefertiti is one of the main exhibitions at the museum in Berlin, and is one of the most prized pieces in it’s collection.
Over 100 years ago an excavation was funded by Berlin born philanthropist James Simon, this excavation was carried out in Amarnaby German archaeologist, Ludwig Borchardt, in December 1912. It’s believed the bust of Nefertiti was made around 1350BC.
The bust has been displayed to the public for over 100 years and the German Government are defiant that the piece still belongs to them.
“I think Nefertiti is the best ambassador of Egypt. She is accepted here, although she is still unique and different. She must stay in Germany,” said Dr Wildung, the curator of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin.
In my opinion the exhibition is beautiful and the museum itself is a credit the archaeologists who have come from Germany and discovered such wonders. However the Cairo museum also holds a huge range of artifacts and antiques that are in no doubt the best source for Egyptologists and people interested in the history of Egypt.
The bust of Nefertiti is priceless and should be kept well preserved for people all over the world to see. Her rightful place of course is her home land Egypt, but if transporting her there means harming the bust then she should stay in Berlin.