Archive for the 'Berlin' Category



Kreuzberg stickers – tagging geo-tagged images with words

For my new geo-tagging project, I’m trying to come up with a manageable number of consistent subject terms to describe what a sticker is about, i.e., what people in library and information science call creating an authority control or set of keywords (index terms).  One can go a little crazy in this endeavor, because there are so many comprehensive guides to refer to, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings, the Getty Research Institute Art & Architecture Thesaurus, various ARTstor Subject Guides, and plain old common sense.  My goal is to narrow it down to about 20 keywords, and here is what I have so far (22): Animal Rights; Authority; Capitalism; Conflict/War; Demonstration/Protest; Economy; Education; Environment; Gender; Globalization; Government/Politics; Identity; Immigration; Labor; Music; Nationalism; Race/Ethnicity; Religion; Sports; Surveillance; Technology; and Urban Development (includes Anti-Tourism, Gentrification, Reclaim the Streets).  Or to keep it simple, in most cases I could just put Power/Control.

There are also other terms that I want to include that describe how a sticker functions and/or what rhetorical strategy was used to create it.  This list is much shorter and still needs work: Advertising/Publicity; Adbusting/Appropriation/Culture Jamming; Creative Expression; D-I-Y; Humor/Irony/Satire; Postal/Hello-My-Name-Is; and Tagging.

Here below, for example, is one sticker that I’ve tagged.  The title of the sticker, “Weissagung der Mieter” means “The Tenants’ Prophecy,” and the text reads “Erst wenn der letzte Mieter verdrängt, der letzte Stadtteil gentrifiziert, das letzte Stück Berlins verkauft ist, werdet ihr merken, dass man Stadt nicht ohne uns machen kann,” or roughly, “Only when the last tenants are displaced, the last quarter is gentrified, the last piece of Berlin is sold, you will realize that you can not do without our city.”  My initial tags included: Capitalism; Economy; and Urban Development (includes Anti-Tourism, Gentrification, Reclaim the Streets).  Since the sticker has a Web site listed on it, www.kottico.net, I also included Advertising/Publicity.

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When I went to the Web site, I learned that there is a group called “Kotti & Co” that was formed in May 2012 in the working class Kottbusser Tor district in Berlin-Kreuzberg, an area populated largely by residents from Turkey.  In fact, Berlin is the largest city of Turks outside of Turkey, according to Eva Spirova in an article entitled The Multicultural Kreuzberg on the blog Berlin: A Divided City.  Germany developed an official Turkish recruitment agreement in 1961, which has since brought in millions of guest workers.  The project has been “an unnecessary social, economic and political catastrophe” however, for the workers’ children and grandchildren who can’t find jobs and are often socially marginalized, according to Klaus Bade of the German Foundations on Integration and Migration.  For more information, see At Home In a Foreign Country: German Turks Struggle to Find Their Identity in Der Spiegel (November 2, 2011).

As a result of this research, I’ll now add these tags: Demonstration/Protest; Government/Politics; Identity; Immigration; Labor; Nationalism; Race/Ethnicity; and Religion.  This happens all the time – finding what at first glance appear to be modest little stickers with such powerful and far-reaching commentary!  It can be somewhat daunting….  I hope, though, that I’ll be able to assign stickers into various groups and the work will go a little faster.  Like these:

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As a side note, another article, Graffiti and Street Art, on the blog above states that “…stickers and adhesives are not considered graffiti.”!

Blockupy Frankfurt stickers

Stickers and street posters for Blockupy Frankfurt and Blockupy Deportation Airport (also in Frankfurt) now blanket Berlin.

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What I find interesting, though, is the contrast between these in 2013 (above) compared to these in 2012 (below).

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Shouts and whispers

Some stickers shout.  Others whisper.  With 7,269 pipes and 113 registers, the organ at the Berliner Dom really belts it out.

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Cute little paste-ups

Found these cute little paste-ups near Neurotitan Gallery, but it was too shady for the camera’s GPS geo-tagging setting to be turned on.  Paste-up directions can be found on the Activist’s ToolKit Wiki.

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Bicycling around Berlin…

… is superb.

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Berlin’s revolutionary past

I’ve read in a few different places about someone who gives walking tours in Berlin that focus on the city’s historical revolutionary past.  You can read Walk don’t burn: Revolutionary walking tours from the Exberliner and May Day Tourism in Berlin: Anti-Capitalist Tour Guide Offers Riot Sightseeing from Spiegel Online International, but also check out the actual Revolutionary Berlin Web site where they outline German Revolution and May Day Riots tours.  Here is the description for the German Revolution tour.

  • How Berlin workers toppled the Kaiser and ended the war in 1918
  • The workers’ movement and the First World War
  • Karl Liebknecht and the resistance against the war
  • The uprising in Berlin that toppled the Kaiser
  • Rosa Luxemburg and the foundation of the Communist Party
  • The January fighting and the murder of the Communists

I’ve asked if they could do a German Revolution tour, but we need to find another three or four people to sign up.  The charge for a three-hour tour is 10 Euros, so if you’re interested, the date is Sunday, June 9, at 3:00 p.m.  You can email revolutionaryberlin at gmail dot com for reservations, so please go for it!

This city is amazing….

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Barbie’s Not-So-Dream House

A new 50,000 square-foot “Barbie Dream House” theme park opened in Berlin last week near Alexanderplatz, though it’s actually a huge pink tent made out of canvas and plastic.  The 15 Euros price tag for admission made it too pricey for me to go in (but I did have a Skipper doll when I was a kid).  I rode by, though, to check it out.

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At the opening, a women’s rights group, Femen, protested the Dreamhouse as sexist propaganda, which you can read about at Protesting Pink: Barbie Dreamhouse Gets Fiery Welcome in Der Spiegel (May 17, 2013) and at Occupy Barbie-Dreamhouse on Facebook.  A group called Junge Linke created a sticker that is now plastered all over Berlin.

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