Archive for July, 2010

SLU students at Hatch – Kat’s post

During the CIIS 2010 trip to Berlin this spring, I asked (“asked”) the students to each write a blog post to add to Stickerkitty.  This one from Kat Dwyer tells about our trip to Hatch Kingdom.

“Traveling to Berlin gave us the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with Hatch Kingdom – the first and only sticker museum in the world.  Over the past couple of years, Cathy befriended Oli and Nada, two artists with a mutual passion for sticker art.  The three of us students—me, Charlie, and Bridget—were honored to meet such creative and generous people.

We ventured to Friedrichshain, a neighborhood in east Berlin, to see Oli and Nada’s unique sticker gallery for ourselves.  Considering there are probably millions of stickers in the world, I was surprised (and impressed) with the layout of their gallery.  It was fresh and unique, loaded with creative, chic, sophisticated, mind-boggling and bold stickers.  However, it wasn’t overwhelming as I assumed it would be.  There was just enough material to look at, but it was very well organized and easy on the eyes.  The stickers reflect culture and creativity, and, surprisingly, political messages are completely absent at Hatch Kingdom.  Considering Germany’s history, political and militant messages are everywhere and are especially displayed in street art, so it was nice to see that Oli and Nada were less concerned with politics than with the simple beauty that sticker art demonstrates.

Oli’s sticker zeal goes back to when he, as he explained, was a “skater kiddie.”  So, from an early age, stickers struck a certain fondness with him.  Twenty-five years later, he expresses his passion in collecting these stickers from all around the world and presenting them in Berlin.

In the fall, Oli and Nada will be joining us on OUR turf at St. Lawrence University to share their creative outlook on something people may feel are very simple … stickers.  But we will learn that, in fact, stickers are much more complex.”

Here is a great pic of Oli during the World Cup.

At the time, he writes:

Highly respected friends of the round leather ball and a big portion stickers in addition, now they are over, four weeks of wuwuzela symphony with a little bit of football beside!  It was already a very nice time, saw good friends a little bit more again and not so well known people got closer.

Also in my secondary job as a football specialist I could properly shine and have at the two on-line tip communities at which I participated, great, front placements reached!

Enough self-praised and directly to which live makes worth living….


The SLU students are going to love having Oli and Nada on campus this fall, October 17-23.


On the street and on FB.

“a healthy opposition to ideologies” (I miss my Dad today)

A link from Infoshop leads to a Web site called Little Black Cart, which is a combination blog and shopping cart for books, mags, ‘zines, etc.  Reading topics include: anarchism, communism, culture, green anarchy, situationist, insurrection, anarchy, autonomism, and surrealism.  Here is what they write about Situationists.

The Situationists (or Sits) were artists from various countries who formed a group in the 1950s called The Situationist Internationale. They critiqued modern society in its various economic, social, and political aspects. They wanted to bring Marxism up to date, to construct a theory of what was going on in society that was preventing people from being able to live fully and act freely. The result was a critique that centered around everyday life, rather than on abstract economic forces. The idea of the “Spectacle” (the empty roles and values and passive rituals that modern life both perpetuates and relies upon) was at the heart of this.

The Situationists were characterized by a healthy opposition to ideologies (if you think of ideologies as sets of ideas that people pledge allegiance to, stop thinking critically about, and only defend). As part of that opposition the Sits denied that there was such a thing as Situationism, doing their best to fight off the stultifying, paralyzing effects of dogma and the party line.

I think I got “a healthy opposition to ideologies” from my Dad, a Congregational minister who left the church to become a professor at a community college and a maximum security prison.  I remember him talking about why he left the church, in that he felt the church as an institution in general was heading in the wrong direction.  This was in the early 1970s during the height of the Vietnam War and civil rights movements.  He said that he felt he would be a better minister working with those from a disadvantaged working class and others who deserve equal opportunities in life.

Shepard Fairey, a RISD grad, quotes the Situationists as an influence in his own work as a street and sticker artist.  His Obey Giant campaign “manufactures quality dissent since 1989.”

I have come across a number of German stickers in the past five years that reflect Situationist perspectives, which will be the subject of one of my text panels for the upcoming exhibition at SLU, “Contemporary Street Art in Berlin as Cultural Expression and Political Protest.”  Quiet mornings are helping me formulate the exhibition in my mind, and I realized today that the subject headings in my sticker database will form a perfect framework for these text panels.

In the context of German street art, I’d say that anarchy is not about lawless chaos.  Rather, according the Oxford English Dictionary (via Wikipedia), it refers to “A social state in which there is no governing person or group of people, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder.)  But is bound by a social code.”

2010 World Cup

In the last week, der Spiegel has featured a couple of articles regarding the multicultural diversity represented in the German football team as it moves into the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup.  Eleven of the 23 team members are of immigrant descent.  The Turkish-born German Mesut Özil scored a winning goal in the recent match against Ghana, which is said to have caused a great deal of controversy for many in Germany.

Immigrants Defend the Flag while Left-Wing Germans Tear it Down (June 29)

An Inspiring New Face for Germany’s National Team (July 2)

Neo-Nazis Spurn Germany’s Diverse New National Team (July 2)

During my last two trips to Berlin, I’ve seen scores of stickers related to football ultras, i.e., hardcore fan clubs that express strong political stances left and right.  I’ve also included below a shot of handwritten graffiti “Freedom for Ultras” and “A.C.A.B.” (all cops are bastards).  Apparently A.C.A.B. is a popular punk chant at some football matches.  More reading for SK.


Do I want the right to be self governed?  Or do I want the diamond ring?  Or the girl?  Too many choices….

Wait a minute….  Who is in charge here?


Having recently watched the 2008 film The Baader-Meinhof Complex, I may be starting to get a better understanding of the historical context and meaning of antifa stickers that I’ve found in Berlin during the last five years.  There is so much I don’t know (so much!) that I wouldn’t dream of trying to write anything in depth about it now.  Christopher Hitchens reviews the film here in his August 17, 2009 article in Vanity Fair (Stickerkitty’s birthday #51).

I’ve also been reading Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone, which tells the true story of a couple who distributed postcards advocating civil disobedience in various public places in Nazi-controlled Berlin during World War II.  Much of the story takes place in the neighborhood in Prenzlauer Berg where I stay when I go there – Greifswalder Strasse, Jablonski Strasse, etc., all a block or two away from the Hotel Greifswald.  I’ve figured that Otto and Anna Quangel were in some ways the first “sticker artists” in that part of the world.  The story reveals, however, that the postcards had little effect, since most were handed over to authorities upon their discovery.  Not so with stickers of today!

To cap it all off, in doing a little research on the film, I learned about something called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon that describes how people find patterns of synchronicity in their everyday worlds.  The Best of Wikipedia puts it like this:

“The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon occurs when a person, after having learned some (usually obscure) fact, word, phrase, or other item for the first time, encounters that item again, perhaps several times, shortly after having learned it.”

I can go back to sleep now.



Flickr Photos

July 2010