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Sultans Trail goes ITB

Die ITB wirft auch für mich ihre Schatten voraus, in 2 Wochen ist es wieder soweit!! Zum zweiten Mal bin ich von der Botschaft der Republik Türkei, genauer deren Kulturabteilung in Berlin eingeladen, das Projekt Sultanstrail vorzustellen. Dieses Jahr haben wir zum ersten Mal einen eigenen Stand gemeinsam mit den Kulturrouten Türkei (E), [Weiterlesen]

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Wie findet man eine Unterkunft am Wanderweg?

Oft werden wir gefragt, wo man am Sultans Trail übernachten kann. Die Übernachtung ist für den Wanderer wichtig bei der Tourenplanung, schließlich will man am Abend nicht ohne Dach über dem Kopf dastehen. Es ist Typ-abhängig, ob man alles akribisch vorplant und die Unterkünfte schon gebucht hat oder ob man erst vor Ort sucht.[Weiterlesen]

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Es lebe Taschen und das Kunstbuch!

Ich gebe zu, dass ich es zum Einkaufen zum Kudamm eher selten schaffe. Jetzt lockte mich jedoch die Neueröffnung des Taschen-Stores in der Schlüterstrasse genau dorthin…

Das Kunstbuch ist ja schon immer ein Luxusprodukt gewesen und der Name Taschen steht wie kein anderer für dieses begehrenswerte Produkt. Das Internet mit seiner Bilderflut hat dem Markt in den letzten Jahren aber schwer gemacht und Kunstbuchverlage kämpfen im wahrsten Sinne ums überleben. Ich denke es ist nicht zu weit hergeholt, die Wiedereröffnung eines Taschen-Stores in Berlin als kleines Revival des Kunstbuchs zu feiern.

Bis vor circa zwei Jahren befand sich auf der Friedrichstrasse auf Höhe der U-Bahn-Station Stadtmitte ein kleiner Laden des Taschen-Verlags. Der Laden war wirklich klitzeklein, hatte gerade mal die Größe meiner 30qm -Wohnung und präsentierte die neueste Auswahl des Verlagsprogramms. Letztes Weihnachten wollte ich dort mal wieder stöbern und vielleicht auch ein Geschenk dort abgreifen, umso enttäuschter war ich, als der Store nicht mehr da war. Wenn Taschen in Berlin zu macht, ist das schon ein Zeichen für das Sterben der Kunstbuchbranche. Man könnte es natürlich auch so auslegen, dass Berliner einfach zu arm sind, sich schöne aber zugegebenermaßen manchmal auch recht nutzlose Bücher zu kaufen. Ohne Zweifel sind Kunstbücher ein Luxusprodukt und auf den mittlerweile gestochen scharfen riesigen Computerdisplays sehe Fotos und Bilder nun mal ziemlich gut aus.

Seit ich in der Schulzeit anfing, Kunstbücher zu lesen, habe ich eine Schwäche für die Reihen und die ungewöhnlichen Buchformate von Taschen. Ich hatte damals natürlich eher selten das Budget mir die Bücher zu kaufen, stöberte aber umso lieber in Buchhandlungen oder Bibliotheken darin. Irgendwann las ich dann mal einen Artikel in der ZEIT über Benedikt und Angelika Taschen. Die Erfolgsgeschichte des angesehenen Verlegerpaares und ihr ausschweifendes Leben in Köln und in Los Angeles faszinierten mich. Das Foto ihres Chemosphere Hauses, einer Perle der modernen Architektur, über den Dächern von L.A. hat sich mir eingeprägt. Bei meinem Praktikum im Feierabend Kunstbuchverlag 2012 hörte ich den letzten Tratsch aus der Verlegerwelt und Taschen ist da immer ganz mit vorne dabei. Auf Details gehe ich hier mal nicht weiter ein, es kann ja jeder auch googeln…

Der neue Store ist jedenfalls einen Besuch wert, denn es handelt sich nicht nur um einen Laden sondern um ein völlig neues Store-Konzept mit Namen „Pop-Up-Store“. Zur Eröffnung wurde das Geschäft innen und außen mit großformatigen Illustrationen von Fritz Kahn überzogen. In der Weimarer Republik publizierte der Berliner Autor, der im Schlüterkietz wohnte, seine Werke über den Menschen als Maschine. Kahns Bildwerk gilt als eine Pionierleistung des modernen Informationsdesigns. Ab April soll ein neuer Künstler vorgestellt werden, ich bin gespannt, ob der Verlag dann wieder einen verstorbenen Künstler ehrt oder sich einem Zeitgenossen widmet. In jedem Fall wird es einen Bezug zum Verlagsprogramm geben. Ich finde die Idee jedenfalls Klasse, und auch aus Marketingsicht natürlich 1A, denn so werden Besucher immer mal wieder vorbeischauen. Außerdem habe ich mir vorgenommen auch mal die anderen 12 Taschen-Stores zu besuchen, die es weltweit gibt. Einer, nämlich der in Hamburg, ist ja gar nicht weit weg.

Ich finde es toll dass das Verlagsgeschäft auch im Kunstbuchbereich noch lebt und ein Verlag in diesen Zeiten weiterhin neue Stores eröffnet. Derzeit steht es mit meinem Buchbudget nicht so gut, aber gerade zu Anlässen wie Weihnachten, werde ich dem Laden wieder einen Besuch abstatten!

Habt ihr auch eine Schwäche für Kunstbücher und welcher Taschen ist euer Liebling?

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New West Berlin – new artists in old buildings

What makes an exhibition good for me? As I am not an art-expert an exhibition often lives from side-effects that make the visit valueable like the direct contact to artists, interesting public or the location. Last weekend I went to an exhibition opening of an artist collective that showed their work in the building they used over the summer. The hole thing was close to my workplace in Kreuzberg and I got the invitation from a colleague.

When i arrived in the street I was not sure if I found the right place. Between the houses there was an field and in the back you could see old brick buildings. There are still some similar grounds left especially in the area close to Spree. The buildings were used by the industry and after the fall of the wall they didn’t get maintained. 15 years ago this old “ruines” started to attract artists and creative folks to use it as ateliers, studios, exhibition space.

The areal of buildings in Melchiorstrasse were used as … Inside the buildings you can still see some remains of the old use: space in the floor for the wheels, some floorparts that you could turn around. If you enter the main building you see many big doors that you could open to drive the big busses in and out. The main building has 6 floors. The ground floor is a big hall with two stairhouses on each small side. In the two upper floors that you could visit for the exhibition there are smaller rooms that they made in the last two month of getting of from a big corridor. I guess there must have been the administration, rest rooms and cloak rooms.

When I arrived there on friday night everyone seemed busy. There were only a few people in front of the building and in the main hall. The first strange fact I recognized that there was no light so you couldn’t see most of the art. The artists or organizers run around and could answer brievly my questions or welcomed me by passing by. One girl showed me the staircase and recommended me to have a look upstairs. In the staircase a photografer was busy choosing a selection of his pictures. His pictures showed self-portraits in different locations in Berlin: in a boat in the middle of a lake, at Brandenburg Gate and in the location itself. I made the effort to go their again during the daylight to take the pictures you see here; and also to visit the spots the photographer Julien from Marseille used for his shooting. His idea was to always show himself with a ton of colourful air balloons knotted to his long rasta-hair.

In the art areal he jumped from a junk car and you could imagine that the balloons carry him towards the ceiling where there was a hole in the roof. The artist played with the holes and unperfectness of the location. The pictures are also just funny and nice to look at.

On the next day I had the chance to talk to Julien briefly. He said that it was an old idea he realized in this series. For sure the location gave him inspiration too.

In the small rooms besides the coridor the artists occupied each a room for their individual work presentations. It was not the best art I have seen but still the individual design of each roomwas interesting to look at. I remember one more room where the artist expressed his ideas both with an animation and a story recorded on tape.

Some rooms were completly empty but you saw the grey walls where the colour surface peels off in a way that you see new interesting shapes and formations. One grey wall where the colours comes off reminds me on a big painted picture.

In another room you see inside a chaotic atelier scenery with lots of bits and pieces. Artists in all epochs liked to paint their own environment and show it to the public.

One more room I remember: an atelier scenery again but this time with odd “models” sitting on chairs: puppets, teddy bears. For what do they wait? The portraits on the wall show children but not in a way that they looked too serious. They looked like pictures of anchestors in non-colour white, black, grey. On the photographs I already described you see the vegetation around the building. When I went there the next day I was impressed by the vegetation around the buildings. The light green bushes reminded me on dshungeltrees. There is also a house called elephanthouse. In relation to its former use someone painted a big elephant on a gate.

For the party they used the small rooms where the officers looked out in the main hall. In the winter balconys they styled bars with piano and bar.

The future of the buildings is uncertain.

On the opening I could talk to the cultural manager of the project. One aim is to keep the building as long as possible for community use. The city is not the owner of the areal therefor the risc is high that it will removed like many old buildings before.

When I made pictures out of the window I could see one of the last occupied houses called “Köpie” just opposite and next to it luxury living houses. Instead of keeping the old structure, investors often decide to remove the hole venue and built new.

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Ausschilderung in Saslibozna
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Kirklareli rüstet sich für Wanderer

In der Provinz Kiklareli (Ostthrakien) rüstet man sich für die kommenden Jahren und hat 35.000 Euro für die Infrastruktur am Sultanstrail über eine Entwicklungsorganisation akquiriert. Nachdem man gute Erfahrung mit Wanderern gemacht hat, die sich in den Orten aufhalten, hat sich die Stadt entschlossen die Verbesserung des Weges in die eigene Hand zu nehmen.[Weiterlesen]

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Let’s go Hitchhiking!

Me and my friends went on an exciting weekend-trip to Krakow, we called it hitchhiking competition.

Our final destination, Krakow is around 250 km south of Warschau, from Berlin its around 600 km away. The city is known for its middleage buildings like the castle and the city wall and has kept its cultural heritage. The city is also interesting because of its jewish heritage and the many synagogues that are concentrated in one central area (like you see it in Prague).

Krakow is also the cultural capital of Poland and a city for artists. I met a lot of people in Berlin that where excited about Krakow and compared it with Berlin in earlier times when the creative scene started to grow and develop.

What was our plan? We wanted to hitchhike in pairs to Krakow and meet there in a hostel. We wanted to start on Friday after work and arrive in Krakow in the night to have to full Saturday for exploration. On Sunday we had to go back to Berlin on the road again. The winner of the competition is the one who arrives the earliest in Krakow.

I was already a few times in the situation that I hitchhiked, sometimes to save money but mostly for the adventure. This trip was about the adventure. I was also excited about the reactions of our drivers when we would explain our hitchhiking story.

My partner in the competition is Marek from Poland. Now I can say that I was lucky to go with him because with his language skills and technical equipment (Iphone, Ipad with internet and maps) and especially his polite and patient personality he was the perfect partner!

It went very well!

On the way to Krakow we had to take only 4 cars. The first car brought us from Schönefeld Airport to a fuel station near Cottbus which is already very close to the boarder. The hitchwiki (useful addresses in the end) helped us to find a good spot directly on the highway to Cottbus. The cars only went in one direction so we just needed to be lucky and stop a car. As we were both dressed in dark colours I had the idea to put off my black jacket to be more visible in my green Jumper. It took us quite a while until a business guy in an Audi stopped for me. I hold my thumb out directly after the lights while Marek stood 100 Meter further up on the ramp to the highway. I told him that we are two people and he made space in his car. He asked me out a lot about my job and I told him that we are on a competition trip. It can be interesting to think about the motives of people who stop for hitchhikers. I can say that almost all of our drivers on that weekend looked for conversation and community in the car. They were apart from a couple all alone on the road and they liked the idea to let the taste of adventure and being young (Marek is only 26) for a moment into their regulated lives.

On the fuel station near Cottbus it was Mareks turn to talk up cars with polish number plate. And there were quite a few of them. But unfortunately they were all packed up or only went a few kilometers further to the boarder which didn’t help us and we decided to keep on asking. It took one hour until Marek found our driver who brought us 4 hours further to Katovice. It was again a business man who came from a meeting in Germany and went back to his hometown. We had nice talks also in English and he seemed happy about our company. He dropped us off on a fuel station. It was raining and got quite late. We were both tired and looked forward to arrive. Exactly at midnight we were lucky and Marek talked to an older guy with a furniture pick-up. He took us to the outskirts of Krakow and from there we found again after a few minutes three Slovakian guys who brought us to the city. It was 2 am and we took a cab to the hostel which was 24 hours open. In total we needed extactly 8 hours which is a very good result!

For our competitors things didn’t went so weel as they had to spend the night in Łódź, they couldn’t go the direct way and went the hightway to warsaw due to a lack of cars on their first waiting spots. It proofed that its important to pick good spots which don’t give too many destination possibilities for cars. Anyway we were happy to meet them in the city the next day and spend a day together. Lucky they made it too!

The sunny day we used to explore the city, rest in the sun and went for lunch in a typical polish restaurant (you should try Pierogi, a national dish) and were invited to a house party.

The next day we returned and me and Marek again proofed our luck and of course also being a good team as this time we only needed 3 cars.

If you like adventures a hitchhiking trip is definitely worth to do. Go with good friends and share the thrill and fun.

Useful adresses for your adventure

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Der Norden Serbiens ist jetzt markiert!

Der Sultans Trail verläuft von Nord nach Süd durch ganz Serbien auf über 600 Kilometern. Nun hat ein Team mit Hilfe vieler Partner in Serbien begonnen den Weg im Norden (Vojvodina) zu markieren. Im April 2013 ist der Weg durch die Orte Backi Breg, Sombor, Apatin, Novi Sad, Sremksi Karlovci bis Belgrad markiert![Weiterlesen]

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Sultansweg in Österreich

Gerhard Kowař hat sich im Jahr 2012 und 2013 intensiv mit der Geschichte des Sultanswegs in Österreich beschäftigt und hat den folgenden Gastartikel zu seinen Forschungen und der Begehung des Weges verfasst. Er ist außerdem Redakteur des deutschen Wanderführers zum Sultans Trail in der Türkei. Wer den Weg laufen will, sollte unbedingt Kontakt zu ihm aufnehmen (siehe Ende des Artikels).[Weiterlesen]

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