I’ve come to realize that my photo-essays here on Birds Before The Storm don’t have much text on them, or captions or anything. I guess the essay is told in photos rather than accompanied by photos. Ah well. Suits me okay.
Regardless, I stayed a couple weeks this summer in Mainz, Germany, which is the birthplace of Gutenberg, the guy who invented the movable-type printing press. Well, several hundred years after China did. And also he did it with a friend but then they like sued each other or something and the other guy lost, so Gutenberg is famous as hell and the other guy is just some dead guy. But the museum is awesome, filled with old printing presses throughout the ages and also with a large section devoted to non-western printing as well. Unfortunately, after the first room of presses, someone noticed me taking photos and made me stop. But here’s some printing-press porn for those into such things:
Continue reading The Gutenberg Museum
Alright! I just figured out how to automatically post entire sets from my Flickr to this page. This should make posting photos less of a headache in the future. I step boldly into the 21st century and all of that.
These photos are of a Reclaim The City demonstration that was held here in Mainz, Germany this last weekend. There were thousands of revelers and protesters, three sound trucks playing all sorts of underground techno, drum and bass, punk, hip-hop, anything that can be danced to. We snaked through the city for hours, the crowd getting drunk and dancing, shouting along to anti-fascist music, listening to DJs who worked turntables in front of circle-A banners. The point of the demonstration was to declare that the city needs more autonomous spaces, social centers, etc. and less gentrification, and that they would take the city back for themselves if need be.
It’s an interesting contrast with Queens Day, which is similar drunken revelry in Amsterdam but with an entirely status quo outlook: celebrating the one day of freedom that the queen grants. Both are street parties, but I think that it’s important that Reclaim The City (or Streets) is one that we throw ourselves, by and for “the people,” not something given to us from up on high. Something that says that culture isn’t something that is handed down to us from the almighty radio, but is something that we create ourselves, that we participate in.
The photos trace our walk from the Wagenplatz down to the central station where the march started, then continued throughout the night.
Continue reading Photos – Reclaim the City demonstration in Mainz, Germany
Okay, sorry about how last-minute everything has suddenly become. I’m speaking tonight in Frankfurt at a place called Raumstation Rödelheim, on anarchism in fiction, joined by my friend who writes Click Clack Gorilla. Then I’ll be speaking about anarchism in the USA here at Haus Mainusch in Mainz on the 31st, essentially opening for my friends in From The Depths.
I’ll also be speaking in Berlin, I believe on the 2nd.
tonight was the last night of Wave Gotik Treffen. certainly, like nothing i’ve seen before. rather than holding the festival on a single fairground, they turn the entire city of leipzig into the festival. goths wander everywhere, their armbands being a free ticket for the city’s public transit. in fact, they set up an extra tram line, number 31, just to accommodate our late night habits.
easily the finest thing for me was to see Jarboe, of Swans, perform. punks sing angrily about what we’re doing to the earth, hippies sing love songs to the earth. goths sing mournful songs about what we’ve done, the seeds we’ve sewn. definitely more my style. and then William Faith, of faith and the muse, joined her on stage and they played Swans songs. imagine me swooning. only instead of swooning i was looking all surly and cool or something.
tonight i went to a rowhome owned or squatted, it’s hard to tell which, and there i witnessed the finest gothic party i could imagine, full of costumed people dancing, torches and candles, but all set in a house that is entirely diy. extravagant needs to be tempered with decay, if you ask me.
and the most frustrating thing of all is that i can’t post the stupid pictures because i shoot in RAW and need to process my images with a computer, a computer that i left in the states.
This weekend I’ll be headed to Leipzig Germany, not to do any talks about anarchism, but to go to a goth festival called Wave Gotik Treffen. I’m working (so far, in my head) on a photo series related to guttergoth/crudgoth, and I’m hoping to meet folks there. And to listen to Legendary Pink Dots, see Faith & The Muse again, and finally be somewhere where I can dance.
Anyhow, I’m also going alone because all my friends are stupid punks who don’t go to giant goth festivals in Germany. So if anyone out there in internets land is also going to WGT, please let me know!
I’ll be speaking in Mainz at Haus Mainusch at 20:00 on May 18th, 2010. There’s a myspace event thingy for it if you can imagine that.