When I first moved to Berlin I was convinced that I was going to learn German solely from the Internet. “Who needs IRL,” I thought to myself, “when there’s great language learning tools all over the internet? I’ll just be one of those self-taught geniuses I’m always hearing about.”
I really only like learning things for myself. If I could choose, I would be able to osmosis proficiency at everything in life without ever having to learn another person’s way of explaining things. What’s the point? It’s too slow, too easy, too NORMAL.
So I decided to try free website Duolingo. This turned out to be an amazing choice. Not because it was the most effective way of learning (although it was a great grounding, and certainly started me off so that I could begin to speak/understand what was going on around me), but because of the incredible choice of phrases it considered useful for me to practice with. How they relate to my life in Berlin is… ahem… interesting.
Here’s my selection of favourites:
What? I am!
Yeah, this is how I felt after a few weeks of Duolingo.
Oh USEFUL - always needed to be able to say that.
FYI all - i am totally FINE with wine with breakfast, as long as it’s sparkling.
Ohgodohgod please let me never have to say this.
Some days, I say this to myself. I mean, at least then, I’m practising my German, so that’s productive, right?
Duolingo is great for nihilists/whiny teenagers.
…I gave you my heart, and the very next day, you gave it away.”
natürlich - of course, naturally, certainly. Sounds about right.
I mean, it’s a vielleicht, not a natürlich.
This month has been all about the return of Janelle.
Also, come on, has anyone stopped playing Get Lucky yet? You should check out the Daughter cover of it, because it’s the kind of thing where you can’t believe you didn’t make it before they did it’s such a no brainer. Think Marnie on Girls singing Harder Better Faster Stronger, but not completely cringe-worthily awful.
Listen up below:
I interviewed artist Jen Ray at her gorgeous Prenzlauerberg flat. We talked for ages and ages about feminism and the art world and what we (or anyone) can do about it.
I talked to Joey Hansom on Expatriarch radio about the politics surrounding the new Knife album. FUN! Listen below. (Ps. Princess Superstar is back…!!!)
Oooooops. I was really busy in March so I forgot I never posted my February playlist. You know what’s great though? I’m posting two at once now, so you can get double the listening pleasure.
Also in print in Die Welt Kompakt today!
So, this happened yesterday.
I wrote about a new exhibition of male nudes at Galerie Tanja Wagner for 125 magazine. All images courtesy of the gallery.
Why is society so afraid of looking at the male body? That’s what a new exbihition in Berlin’s trendy Schöneberg district is asking.
Gallerist Tanja Wagner noticed that recent shows on this theme failed to really address the female view of the male nude and their sexual appetites. Focusing on male homosexual desires and self portraits, Wagner decided to find out just if female artists have this problem in their sights. We can talk about femininity and masculinity and what those things conventionally mean, but women in general are still not expected to express their sexuality via the external object: the male body.
Jen Davis - Steve and I
The starting point for the exhibition was Lina Scheynius, who began to document her relationship through photos as a romantic, not artistic, project. The intimacy contained in her fragmented and accessible shots nod to the tenderness of her feelings and push the softer edge of female sexuality. She lets us into the secret world of lovers where every moment is precious but fleeting, ephemeral, but there for the taking. The male nude is significant, and what is important is its specificity - we’re looking at her own love for him and his body.
Installation view of Lina Scheynius’s work
This starkly contrasts with two of the other artists in the exhibit, who went out of their way to make the men featured anonymous and unmeaningful. Paula Winkler solicited men on the internet (one of her emails to a potential model is printed on the wall as part of the exhibit) who would pose nude for her in a hotel room. Similarly, artist Jen Davies looked for a random man who would allow himself to be directed into positions for her webcam, which is shown alongside her own webcam view, where she is watching him. Interestingly, in Davies’s works, as in Scheynius’s, the presence of the male nude also brings with it the artist’s, female, nudity: not something we necessarily associate with male artists’ work regarding the female nude.
Paula Winkler - Encounter #3
Just so, Nina Hoffmann makes a very personal appearance in her own work, projecting her body on top of classical sculptures, harking back to the story of Pygmalion, an artist who tried to create his ideal woman out of clay, who was then brought to life by the gods. Hoffmann idealises and fetishises these idols for their physical properties. By projecting the bodies onto a wall, creating movement, she attempts to animate them for her own purposes, just as the sculptor wished for his work to be brought to life.
Nina Hoffman - Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit
It’s opening night, and the artists are being asked about their thoughts on the male nude. There’s a resounding confusion about why this subject matter had been largely untouched by women until now. Why should it be such a “male” thing to be photographing someone you have a sexual attraction to? Meanwhile, viewer responses to the artworks range from squirming to fascination; from adoration to disgust. The responses are strong because it’s an unusual sight. But why should it be? After all, ladies like leering too…
Male Nudes - Female Desires
with photographs by Jen Davis, Nina Hoffmann, Lina Scheynius and Paula Winkler
January 25 - March 2, 2013
T +49 (0)30 86 43 01 20
“Better late than never, but never late is better”, to quote Drizzy Drake. (Yeah, I may have had Fancy on repeat a lil bit this month, what of it?)
I’ve spent a lot of time replaying old Boiler Room sessions, on Soundcloud not Youtube, though. This is because a) GEMA has now banned 60% of the most popular videos on Youtube #possiblecopyrightinfringements and b) it’s really sad watching people dancing to music that you’re sitting alone at your laptop typing to.
The other stuff I’ve listened to can be found below as per. Enjoy, meine Freunde!
Read my piece for Sleek about the recent f******* symposium “New perspectives” at n.b.k. and exhibition at Espace Surplus.
I really enjoyed writing and researching this as I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and reading about gender and don’t often get to write about it.
I’ve been attempting to make my way through all of the teen/youth films of the 80s and 90s recently. Basically I just wanted a specialism for pub quizzes and this was the only thing I felt I had any kind of head start on.
Sooooo, let’s talk about Risky Business - oh my god. How did this film get made??
Tom Cruise (and yeah, I can now see why people think he was hot when he was young and pre-crazy) gets left in his psychopathically trusting parents’ house for the weekend where he proceeds to have what I can only describe as “dream sequence sex” with a prostitute (who was recommended to him by another, transvestite, prostitute, he ordered by mistake because “lol”, or something). Second prostitute turns out to be a) a babe and b) a thief. He rescues her from her pimp. He then becomes her pimp, and a pimp for all the rest of her friends who are sick of the previous pimp’s annoying ways. All the teen boys lose their virginity at his house, paying them/him money to do so.
Part of this deal is that babe-thief prostitute gets to be his girlfriend.
She also fucks him on a train, for no particular reason. Oh ps. while he’s being a pimp, he also has a college interview (does this really happen in America? How? Why? What is wrong with normal interviews, that don’t take place in youth brothels?). Interviewer gets laid so lets him into top college, making his dad super proud. Tom Cruise ends up with prostitute. The end.
Moral of the story…what? Being a pimp is cool/dangerous/makes you rich/gets you into college? Sleeping with a prostitute means they might end up as your girlfriend? Also, can i just direct your attention for a moment now to the teen girls of this small town, like, for example, the faceless nameless babysitter that Tom Cruise originally wanted to sleep with (which he can’t because I don’t know but it doesn’t really matter as long as you have sex with someone). What, they just wake up one day and all the boys have had sex? CAN YOU IMAGINE?
In the film’s world, only teen boys and prostitutes (a characterless blonde mass) exist as real sexual prospects.
Simplicity and unexamined morals - two terrible ingredients for an 80s teen film.
I started a new tumblr about living the Berlin life and all its stereotypes. Go follow! (or better yet, submit!)
Read my interview with Sasha Kanevski for Sleek magazine.