From Berlin With Love

“A network of friends, as vast and widespread as it may be, will not be able to prevent a war. But it can show the world what it could be.”

photo 4While recently in London I started a friendly art attack on Regent’s Park. With Sophie, an incredible artist herself and a friend of mine, I scattered 20 trash bags all over the park. The bags each were adorned with a painting of something, which I connect with Great Britain and admire.

Regent’s Park was a start to another project in the framework of Nothing New in the West, my WWI based project on our idea of man. London felt like the right place to start because of my personal connection to this war and the next. All of my great-grandfathers fought in WWI for Germany. My maternal great-grandfathers had the questionable honor to be drafted for both world wars. In the second they were later discharged in dishonor because they refused to divorce their Jewish wives. But my paternal grandfather was a convinced soldier of a special Wehrmacht unit guarding and operating a train bound rocket launcher aiming at Great Britain. Choosing the motives I did was to show my respect and love for the people and culture in contrast to, well throwing bombs.

Why trash bags?

The consent after the horrors of WWI became clear was that art like humankind had failed and needed a radical new approach. One of the most influential artist of the 20th century, Duchamp, spearheaded this development. He despised retinal art as oppose to cerebral art. The idea, like most ideas that become popular, was simplified into ‘Painting is dead’. If painting would really be dead, why not trash it immediately. It is even simpler when you paint directly on a trash bag. (This is a bit tongue in cheek because honestly I think painting can be even more cerebral than a lot of installations or events.)

Why the guerilla style?

It’s not just because who asks a lot gets a lot of answers and many of them are most likely not favorable. This art project is war based. In a war attacks come without announcement, many questions or warnings. The bombs my grandfather fired on the UK took whoever was unfortunately near by by surprise. The attacks I want to bring are intended to be the opposite; they are intended to provide an experience between friends by doing something unpredictable in its outcome and to provide moments of fun and magic for those fortunate to be present at that moment. The bags with their flying colors are like flags with the difference that they unite and not distinguish.

Why do I intend to spread this out around the globe, but not necessary only to big cities?

We are talking world wars and think capitols and governments, but they affected all communities. The warriors were recruited everywhere and thus the wars spread into every home. But there is another angle to this as well. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. It’s only because of this event that I can even think of doing something like this – of having friends everywhere and include them into a common project. Friendships start where we don’t look for differences and stress them, but where we discover common ground and dare to trust. In everyday life it is so easy to forget that and that everything could be totally different. When in London I stopped every now and then thinking how lucky I am. While I can’t travel to all of the people I loved to, I can send them these bags and ask them to share ideas worth pondering.

Just like a miracle many said yes. While the world is not as it ought to be – it’s harsh and cruel – we show it what it could be. Just you wait and see – the news report on German TV about it:

From Berlin With Love – TV report from September 23 (with English transcript)

– the Photos:

London – From Berlin With Love
Tel Aviv – From Berlin With Love
Purcellville, VA – From Berlin With Love
Kaohsiung, Taiwan – From Berlin With Love
Forth Worth, TX – From Berlin With Love
Istanbul, Turkey – From Berlin With Love
Melbourne, Australia – From Berlin With Love
Rome, Italy – From Berlin With Love
Windsor, Canada – From Berlin With Love
Queertet 2014 by the Grin Theater Company in Liverpool, UK – From Berlin With Love
Delaware, OH – From Berlin With Love
Paris, France – From Berlin With Love
Belo Horizonte, Brazil – From Berlin With Love
San Antonio, TX – From Berlin With Love
Nantwich, UK – From Berlin With Love
Berlin, Germany – From Berlin With Love
Potsdam, Germany – From Berlin With Love
Brooklyn, NY – From Berlin With Love

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