June 2, 2014 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan:
When I asked my friend Lin about the possibility of scattering the bags at her hometown she thankfully agreed. And then she told me about a democratic crises in her country and how they try to bring change with civil disobedience. Now, From Berlin with Love has an overall theme based on the centenary of the beginning of WWI. That doesn’t mean however that my bags will totally ignore the present. Remembering the past shouldn’t mean cherishing the ashes, but handing on the fire, the light, the ideas, the knowledge gained.
To keep things short, I had a few ideas that came together in these bags:
– Taiwan, at the time of WWI, was part of Japan. Japan again was in an alliance with the Entente powers and played an important role in keeping the sea lanes in their region open. Hence, we are talking pledges allegiance that brought them into the war.
– Simplifying things, the Great War was about power, influence and colonies. It was taken as a given by about all major participants that the Western culture and Western ideas were superior and hence should be seen and taken as a gift of God by the people in the colonies. Today we might not have colonies anymore, but globalization of politics and economy pretty much confronts us with the same wide field of questions.
– Last but not least: allegiance vs. freedom, the power of the group vs. being, who you are…
And then there is the image with Tigger (which I forgot to take a photo of while still on my desk, of course!) – the perfect blend of traditional Asian art and Western icons. But that I chose Tigger had another reason: Both author and illustrator of Whinny the Poo were active combatants in WWI. We could have lost them and with them their stories, like it was possible in so many other cases, like it might have actual happened in so many cases. But this is a story to be told in another set of bags, at the other end of this planet. Look out, Brazil 😉
Thank you, Lin for finding the perfect spots and delivering these beautiful photos.