Archive for May, 2011

New Hatch Kingdom HQ

The Hatch Stickermuseum can now be found in Mitte at Brunnenstrasse 196.  On my last day in Berlin, I went over to say g’bye to Oli and Nada.  Nice shirt, Oli.  🙂

Two young guys from Israel stopped in just as Hatch was closing, but Oli let them in.  “Aren’t we the lucky bastards,” said one.  They were part of a crew I can’t name, and they gave some of their artwork to Hatch for Oli to sell.  Unfortunately, they asked me to take down their picture for privacy’s sake….  That’s okay, I get it.  Here is this one instead.

La La La Human Steps

Couldn’t make it tonight to the La La La Human Steps dance performance at the NAC in Ottawa, which is so disappointing.  I signed up for the NAC series this past year esp. to see La La La Human Steps.  Edouard Lock and Mark Morris are my two favorite choreographers, and La La La’s Human Sex is one of the most riveting videos I’ve come across.  (I’ve never seen the piece performed live, unfortunately).  I was able to attend a performance at the NAC by Louise Lacavalier last fall, though – Locke’s principle dancer.  Phenomenal.

When I worked at the Artists Foundation in Boston, we showed Human Sex along with a work by Eiko and Koma, among others.  I’ll find their video.  It was a beautiful underwater piece.

Berlin bike

Love the pink basket.  The guy at the bike shop had a good laugh, as did I.  At least it made it easier to spot among all the other bikes in town!

Hmm, nope, sorry, sweetie.

Kitty is pretty darned tired and parched after riding around Berlin on a rented bicycle for the past couple of days.  At the end of each day, I say to myself, “This is the last sticker!  Keep riding!”

And then on my way back to the hotel yesterday, I rode past a sticker that said “Unverschämtheit!  Nazizombies auf den Straßen?  Tote haben nicht zu laufen.”

Screetch!  Pull over.

My fancy high-end Mac F12 translator (ha, kidding) indicates that it means “Insolence!  Nazizombies on the roads?  Dead do not have to run.”

Hard to pass by that one.  This happens all day long.  “I’m done,” I declare.  And the stickers respond, “Hmm, nope, sorry, sweetie.”

I went back to the anarchy bookstore (as I call it) in Kreuzberg yesterday afternoon.  It’s one of the strangest places I’ve ever been to.  Not overly scary.  Just out there.  My Dad would not be happy to read this.  I’ve done worse, tho, Dad, so don’t worry.

The walls inside at the anarchy bookstore are crawling with black hoodies, T-shirts, and ninja masks.  That’s the best way to describe it.  Very dark and claustrophobic.  Punk teenagers go there to buy stuff for the antifa protests, I guess, based on the few young boys who came in while I was there, and seeing what they bought.  Punks here in Berlin these days are unlike U.S. punks, and regardless, with my light green skort and J-41 sport shoes, I was certainly unlike anything they’ve seen there before.  Cultures, collide!

As I entered the store, the owner/manager said something to me in German, and I said, “stickers, aufkleber,” and he let me inside.  In one corner crammed full of stuff, there were boxes of antifa stickers.  I worked my way in and thought, “There is not a single human being who knows where I am right now.”  Sometimes, that’s alarming.  Sometimes, it’s comforting.

The person who runs the shop is handicapped, I believe, possibly from an accident.  He was outside in a wheelchair when I got there and then all of a sudden appeared next to me inside trying to get up to a scrap of rug where he sits and runs everything.  “Ten cents a sticker,” he said.

I selected about 40 or so, with a few dupes for friends.  At the time, the man was talking to one of the young punks and then started singing as loudly as he could, making up sounds and words that made no apparent sense.  He was trying to get my attention.  I kept my face buried in the box of antifa stickers.  I finally went to pay for the stickers and must have said something in French, b/c the guy then started speaking in fluent French.  When I asked, he said he knew five different languages (and probably more, given what I had witnessed).  It was surreal.  I give the guy a lot of credit, though.  I also gave him my business card.

I’ve been to this anarchy bookstore three times, and each time, it reminds me of the scene in “Apocalypse Now,” in which Marlon Brando sits in a dark pool of water, affected yet disaffected by what is going on around him.

More to follow tomorrow.  Kit Kat is off to sleep.

6th International Conference on the Arts in Society 2011

I give my paper tomorrow at 3:55 at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, where in the spring of 2003 I sat in the plaza at the entrance of the building and began my sticker journey.  I didn’t know then it would become a journey!  I only realized it today when I arrived at the conference that I’ve come full circle back to same spot.  A similar crystal clear blue sky.  So much has happened between then and now.

Look out, little aufklebers

Look out, little aufklebers.  Your days are numbered.  Stickerkitty is heading to Berlin tomorrow.  Best news I had today was that Hatch Kingdom, the world’s only sticker museum, is re-opening in a new HK HQ this Saturday in Mitte.  This after being closed since last November.  Purrfect timing!

The other good news is that today is Pete Seeger’s 92nd birthday.  Very nice.  I think Pete would like stickers.

A beautiful spring day…

… and I spent a good portion of it working on my sticker database.  After weeks of a few sporadic hours here and there to pull everything together, I can now account for about 2,700 individual digital image files for stickers scanned thus far.  The most difficult part in this whole process is finding where the files are located across too many different folders on different servers at SLU.  My fault.  I also have a bad habit of assigning “Final” to whatever documents/projects I’m working on, and if they get revised, I put “FinalFinal.”  Or “FinalFinal-Use this one.”  And “Final-old” on the original finals.  And so on.

To keep all of that straight, I have a running meta-metadata Excel spreadsheet so I know the status and location of image file folders.  Some images are scanned but not loaded into the ContentDM database software.  Some are in iPhoto.  Many stickers still need to be scanned.  And today, as I was driving home from school, I thought, “I wonder if Flickr would be the most effective way to make these stickers available online?”  The Library of Congress uses Flickr, e.g., among many other institutions worldwide.

I also made screen shots of my iPhoto albums and put the .pngs in Dropbox.

I kind of miss the shoebox approach.

Despite the tedium associated with this work, the best part is looking closely at all of the images.  Very closely.  There are endless ways of drawing connections among stickers, some that are obvious and others more poetic.

It’s all good.  Stay tuned.


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