August 17, 2011

Museum der Dinge‏ (Museum of the Thing)

After walking around Berlin and getting lost or detoured for hours, once we found this mecca for objets, there was much loud mooing and cooing in the otherwise staid aisles.

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Displaying things simply and not didactically, the Museum der Dinge‏ features collections of everything from the mundane to the sublime: Braun home appliances from the Sputnik era, portrait busts in wood, plastic and metal, Mona Lisas in doll and puzzle format, portable fans of all eras, items that happen to be only black and yellow, illustrated biscuit tins, the Olivetti Valentine.

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Walking the vast loft gallery in boustrophedon to see every last dinge, they ask you to ask yourself, “Ist das kitsch or ist das schoen?”

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August 16, 2011

Berlin Palimpsests

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The city is encrusted with layers of memory, walls, history, schlag, foam, streusel, graffiti, and these found collages:

imageKreuzberg, Oranienstraße


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imageBernauer Straße, near Mauerpark


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imageRosenthaler Straße, Mitte


August 15, 2011

Die Schpunkies

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There must be a name in German for a phenomenon I observed in Berlin earlier this month.  About 50% of the parked cars on the streets contained cute little stuffed animals—I called them “die schpunkies” (since The German word for Smurfs I learned is Die Schlümpfe)—hanging above windshields or lying on dashboards. Perhaps die schpunkies are merely the German version of fuzzy dice, little trees or those poor plushies bound to the grilles of trucks, but they stood out in the otherwise austere clean cars.

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