ARTBASE FESTIVAL 2019 – MURALS IN RURAL RUINS

Artbase is a festival of urban art moving in a vivid kaleidoscope between painting and party on deserted grounds. The first issue took place in 2011 at the former pulmonary hospital Grabowsee. During the last weekend of August 2019 it was realized again in the former and now abandoned lunatic asylum Domjüch close to Neustrelitz (80 kms north of Berlin). Nearly 150 international urban artists transformed these ruins into a wild, romantic and very alive place.

 

A smooth wind blows through the long abandoned houses‘ empty corridors, while a warm and friendly summer sun gleams through the ailing cracks. Inside the ruins, a conglomeration of fading colors and amazing street art works decorate the walls.

A place where nature has slowly recaptured the old walls. Deserted, long hallways, abandoned rooms with only faint memories.

 

But suddenly a soft hissing of a spray can sounds. Someone presses a button. Suddenly sounds are coming through the empty rooms. Loud voices echo through the old walls and the place awakens.

After WW II the buildings were used for military purposes by the Soviet Red Army which left the site in 1993, the start of a long and deep slumber which was interrupted abruptly now by all kinds of colors, visions and phantastic dreams painted on the crumbling walls of this remote place.

And last but not least on the premises you will find also the namegiver of the site, a beautiful forest lake called Domjüchsee.

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

 

WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE REALLY MEANS

When I see the news in TV it embarasses me that the true effects of climate change in my country are only seldomky to be seen. Weather reports indicate again nice and dry weather although the lands would just require 2 or 3 weeks of continuous rain. This effectively means that the drought which commenced in April 2018 continues in large areas of Germany. The featured photo above of a lake looks seemingly nice, but something is wrong because the reeds are not standing in water anymore as usual, instead you see a new created sandy beach due to missing rain.

Desertificating bank of Bernsteinsee / Amberlake near Prenden, Brandenburg

Now also ecological borderland – view on German Frankfurt/Oder from Polish Slubice

On the last photo you should see normally the river Oder being the borderline of Germany and Poland here. But instead we just observe a predominant huge sandbank which made the river simply vanishing to nearly nothing optically on this not modified picture. Well, the river is still there behind the sandbank but with much less water than normally. Now, I can imagine why deserts are growing worldwide.

All photos here just actual messengers of the ongoing climate change shot in Eastern-Germany, August 2019.

 

 

URBAN ART HALL, BERLIN (2)

Unfortunately the project URBAN ART HALL does exist no longer here in Berlin, the former postal distribution hall will now be demolished and some new building erected soon. These here are some of the last impressions inside and outside the crazy and creative hall captured by mid of July 2019. Again it was very difficult to make a photo selection due to the many stunning works and mindful creations.

Additional information in German language here:

https://www.urbanarthall.de/about

 

A PROMENADE THROUGH OLD BEESKOW, GERMANY

An unplanned road trip to somewhere else finally led me to an old charming small city named Beeskow in Brandenburg (approx. 50 km South-Eastern of Berlin) which was founded in the 13th century. Fortunately great parts of the medieval city wall with now open gates and the usual guarding towers do still exist and really deliver a vivid and direct impression of times passed by.

Northern city gate leading to Storkow

View on St. Mary’s Church, 15th century, red brick Gothic style

Nice walk along the city wall

Urban scenery near the market-place

Stork Tower, 14th century

The beekeeper’s store in town

Description of the town from 17th century in ancient German:

“Besekau / An der Spree / 5. Meilen von der Chur-Brandeburgischen Vestung Beytzen / der Peyze und 3. Meilen von Fürstenwald gelegen / ein Städtlein / so albereit zur Nideren Laußnitz in der Land-Tafel gezogen wird; aber noch Brandeburgisch gestalt auch alhie ein Churfürstlich Hauß und Ampt ist. Es ligen herumb Storkaw / Mulrose / nahend Franckfurt / Schlaube / Mertensdorff / zur Fehre / Ledeleben / etc. so alle für etwas sonderbares gezeichnet werden; wir aber davon fast nichts zu berichten finden.”   (Topographia Electoratus Brandenburgici et Ducatus Pomeraniae, Merian, Frankfurt am Main, 1652, p. 30)

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P. S. The medieval author of 17th century was really looking here for something extraordinary but could not find it however in the small and charming city.
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A BIRD AND THE MEAD OF POETRY

The red-necked phalarope is an extraordinary bird and a real wanderer between the worlds and above the sea of fog although it is not really big (length of 19 cms). The photo above shows the outlook during breeding, in autumn and winter the plumage will change to a simple white/grey. Quite exceptionally in nature the gender roles of these birds are completely different than normally while the male birds are breeding the eggs and also guiding afterwards the young birds while the female birds perform the courtship displays in order to attract the male birds and will as well protect the breeding site against external enemies.


Red-necked phalarope (Odinshühnchen) in breeding plumage,
photograph by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

The birds are breeding from May until July all over the Northern arctic and subarctic hemisphere including Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Norway. During the rest of the year the birds are staying scattered over the tropical and subtropical oceans but also at the coastal side of Patagonia and the Southern part of Japan. The German name is a bit unusual Odinshühnchen (meaning literally Odin chicken) such making reference to the Northern & Scandinavian mythology – one of its glamorous homelands in the circle of the year.

Odin steals the Mead of Poetry while being chased by Suttungr,
illustration by Ólafur Brynjúlfsson, 18th century

In the old European mythology ‘Edda’ the divinity Odin (German: Wodan) steals the Mead of Poetry in the shape of an eagle out of Suttungr’s cave. The Poetic Mead is a real magic beverage and, whoever drinks it, soon thereafter can recite any information and solve any question. While being chased by Suttungr, Odin spits the Mead of Poetry into several vessels. But the chase was so fierce, that some spits dropped backwards. Hence, anybody could now drink this part, and subsequently poetry was finally gifted to mankind by a single bird.


Birdwatching excursion led by ornithologist Derk Ehlert
on Poel Peninsula/Baltic Sea in August 2016

In Central Europe the red-necked phalarope can only be discovered rarely during their passage to the South in August when making a rest in the German coastal region, sometimes as well in Austria at Lake Neusiedl. So in August 2016 I was really lucky to see an Odinshühnchen during an ornithological trip to Poel Peninsula/Baltic sea in large distance to the shore on an inland-pond which is one of their preferred sites. Then you need of course a very good binoculars / spotting scope for such purpose and without an experienced guide who knows where to look you will never have such a seldom chance. During such trips sometimes you can only hear the multiple birds, so we must also listen to their polyphonic concert starting early in the morning because birds can tell a lot of stories of their global wanderings around our world.

Postcard by artistampex, Canada, 1984

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #49: Favorite Things

 

EXPLORING THE ISLAND OF USEDOM / BALTIC SEA

In early June 2019 we spent again some days on the varied and ancient island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea which is connected by two shorter bridges with the German mainland being separated from the island only by the river Peene and huge coastal backwaters.

Anklam Gate in the old Hanseatic City of Usedom

Rural countryside near Mellenthin Castle

Usedom lies in Western-Pomerania (Vorpommern) and on the European Route of Brick Gothic architecture. In German there exists an old lullaby featuring Pomerania and sounding in fact more like a nightmare: “Maikäfer flieg, der Vater ist im Krieg, die Mutter ist im Pommernland, Pommernland ist abgebrannt.”  The besetting content most probably goes back to the Seven-Years-War (1756-1763) when the Swedish army devastated great parts of Pomerania. Why this dramatical song is used for making children sleep, likely remains a secret for me.

Abandoned barn near Grüssow

Hiking on the coastal path from Grüssow to Warthe

Today however, the island of Usedom means just a real nice and peaceful place at the wild shores of the Baltic Sea. In hot summers it is usually much cooler than on the mainland. You will find there long white beaches and spas, big forests with inland lakes, dreamy villages, old castles and beautiful natural reserves.

The medieval church of Rankwitz

Wildness at the natural reserve Lieper Winkel

We did some hiking on bikes which allows very well to reach the remote and original sites of this island. Some of these amazing and stunning places are featured here on a few photos which require to return sometime in the very future.

Ancient blue fisher house with a thatched roof at Warthe

Bathing area of Dewichow with view on the backwaters

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Ancient

OBSCURE MENHIR EVENT

You may have heard of the mythical menhirs (i. e. standing stones) in connection with the comic Asterix and Obelix but in fact they may be discovered in many countries of Europe, not only in Brittany. So when I learned that one example of megalithic culture can be found just 150 kms from my home at Langeneichstädt near the city of Halle in Germany, I had to go and see this place.

The menhir of Langeneichstädt (ca. 3,600 – 2,700 BC)

When visiting the neolithic site of Langeneichstädt comprising an ancient menhir and a stone cist grave in 2017 on 3 November (i. e. shortly after All Saints Day), former visitors had left fresh flowers at the place ritually to my real great surprise – hence I did hesitate instinctively moving forward for a while.

Carving on the menhir said to symbolize the dolmin goddess

Such places at times imply special energies and dynamics because a little bit later I heard a clear, mysterious and yelling voice out of nowhere although nobody else could be seen somewhere except me.  May be it was only the wind, you might certainly argue, but the incident made me shivering immediately while not finally falling into absolute delusive panic like people in the dark novels of H. P.  Lovecraft.

Cover-stones of the stone cist grave (ca. 3,600 – 2,700 BC)

A however deep and ice-cold irritation made me leaving this primeval location much faster than planned with the clear agenda not to return so soon again. A baffling and surreal message from the past must have passed my way at this very moment.

View inside the pristine burial place of Langeneichstädt