#BerlinMemoirs: Comparing Abuja to Berlin

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While in Berlin, i saw so many things, people and activities that reminded me of Abuja, Nigeria. It seems to me that both cities have a lot in common . from the  street names (streets in Berlin were named after heroes ad activist during the Berlin war, the streets of Abuja were named after all those who in a way fought for Nigeria’s independence). Berlin is a city filled with people from various countries and cultures though originally for the Germans. Abuja is mostly occupied by people of different ethnic groups around Nigeria while the initial land owners Gbagyi’s  moved to small communities.anguages in Berlin are German,Dutch and English. Languages spoken in Abuja are English,Hausa and Pidgin.Languages in Berlin are German,Dutch and English. Languages spoken in Abuja are English,Hausa and Pidgin.

I watched as this lady entertained her audience who were compelled to stop at the traffic light. I gazed at her smile and body language that showed she enjoyed dancing to her less than a one-minute audience. I watched how she entertained all cars that had to stop at the light with so much joy and professionalism just to be given less than a Euro after every grande performance.

Her performance reminded me of a  traffic officer in Abuja,Nigeria who usually dances on the road while controlling traffic. Sergent Audu as he is fondly called was later given a national award for his diligence to work. But would she?

The Occupy movement started in Berlin and moved to other countries. Nigeria is one of the countries that supported the occupy movement. The movement in Berlin has  not been effective for a while, but OCCUPY NIGERIA has gained momentum especially with the economic and unemployment issues that affect the country.

I do not know how to theorise this or if there is a reason behind the similarities I discovered but I believe I shall understand by and by.

PS: Did I mention they  both have gates?

#BerlinMemoirs: wir lieben Straßenkunst

From Art critic Emilie Trice who calls it ‘the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world’ [though her statement is contested by other art critics], to UNESCO referring to it as the city of Design,then to various tourist admitting it is the most ‘bombed’ city in the whole of Europe. The city of Berlin cannot be mentioned without speaking of her street art.

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For the tourist who visit Berlin on a regular, most of the questions they ponder on are: Are the street arts legal and do they still represent expressionist movement/art?

Before diving into the questions, it is pertinent to understand how the street art came about.

Two decades after World War II gave Germany a hard blow, they found it daunting to regain all  that the war had taken from them.it took  years after the war for  Turkish and French migrants to occupy places that were destroyed by the war. For them to remember history and comment on the situation in Germany and the political world at the time, the migrants took to carving words on concrete and making temporary paintings on the  famous wall and on buildings. Overtime, it became a muse for other artists like XOOOOX, Mein Lieber Prost and Alias who turned places the military had occupied to a playground of  street art.

To answer the above question, it  is difficult for most Berliners to answer if street art is legal because the streets are filled with these art forms, but the artists are arrested if found painting on the walls. Though it seems illegal but tourist get mesmerised by these graffiti’s and as you know, tourists help to strengthen the economy.

In an interview with one of Germany’s ‘THE LOCAL’ newspaper, head of German Police anti-graffiti team Marko Moritz maintains that the Police regard graffiti as a criminal activity.According to Moritz, his team’s job is to arrest members whose paintings are not exactly rooted in the art but in what he terms as Gang Culture which he described as unscrupulous youths bombing buildings, trains and sidewalks with their signature and all shade of colours wich he expresses as a cruel way to deface public property.

While in Berlin, my teammates and I focused on Appiah’s theory of Cosmopolitanism as it relates to Baudrillard’s theory of the glass reflection. Our aim was to understand how and why cosmopolitans view these graffiti without expressing any form of feeling or aura. which brought about our use of a reflective glasses.

Details of those pictures are on http://www.mediaresearchmethods.wordpress.com or if you are in Coventry in July, visit us at the Glass box in the 11th-17th for the exhibition.

To answer the second question, I ask- do you consider the art you have viewed above expressionist?

I am of the opinion that all forms of art like Benjamin Walter express how the artist sees and understand his/her society. Some of the street art did not mean much to me but for the fact that the artist used a blend of interesting colours, i as every other cosmopolitan and tourist in Berlin had to click on our cameras shutter for memories.

 

 

#BerlinMemoirs

*In Ariana Grande’s Voice* We are going on a summer holiday….. Err… I wish that were  the case. My team and I are taking a  research trip to Hitlers city.

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Yep! Berlin here we come!

Our purpose of travelling is to relate various theories we have learnt in class to the history, culture and space in Berlin. As you might know, Berlin was one major city in Germany that experienced the student movement war popularly called’68 and  also the cold war. This great city has witnessed  development through artists and architects who have/had been victims of the war by creating expressionist art through buildings (architectural designs) and street art.

My team and I Hope to understand some part of the Berlin space through the theory of Cosmopolitanism. According to Kwame Appiah (2005), cosmopolitanism is not “Comme des Garcons-clad sophisticated with a platinum frequent-flyer card regarding, with kindly condescension, a ruddy-faced farmer in workman’s overalls.” However, it is the  ideal that expects us to be at ‘home in the world’, a situation where we temper respect for difference with respect for humanity. Cosmopolitanism should not only preach tolerance but also generate an obligation of hospitality and openness towards strangers (Appiah 2005). That been said, most of us undertaking this trip are international students and Novice to Berlin. we plan to take visual representations of  our emotions as cosmopolitans in a German space and how we take in the things that citizens usually take for granted. One of such is the architecture in Berlin. We hope to find out how/if the Dusseldorf students idea of new objectivity is still relevant in today’s society in Berlin. Another thing we hope to find out is the yearly event that happens in Berlin called: Fete de la Musique. Introduced into Berlin by the French in 1995.

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By the end of 1989 and beginning of 1990, Germany was entering into a state of reunification between east and west bloc. However, the country faced severe economic stagnation in the 80s. Due to the recession, the country open her doors to other countries like France to help with building the economy. One way France strengthened the German economy was through music.Fete de la Musique holds every 21st of June.

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we as researchers would like to understand:

  1. what makes citizens of other countries asides the German, French and Turkey*  visit every year?
  2. How can other international visitors partake in this event that showcases some form of ‘popular culture’ or consumer culture?
  3. How does the idea of ‘ free concerts’ made by the German Government help the influx of people for the festival?
  4. What has made the Berlinians continue with the festival since it was introduced to them by the French?
  5. Does the festival in any way celebrate the French culture in Paris or the Berlin culture in Germany?
  6. How has this event affected the way tourist view Berlinians/ What does this festival mean for the locals vis a vis the cosmopolitan?
  7. Does the festival have an emotional (aura) attachment to it? That represents Berlin and her history

And on that note… Sehen Sie in Berlin!

Are You Still Maligning Millennials? Stop — Forbes Real Time

Shutterstock Two recent events motivated me to write this blog. Event 1 – I attended a conference where a presentation speaker was talking about how millennials are so different. The speaker was going through the typical list of characteristics we’ve heard hundreds of times when a millennial raised his hand, stood up […]

via Are You Still Maligning Millennials? Stop — Forbes Real Time

Alienation and Affect in Milan

The idea of alienation and affect is an eye opener. An individual who buys the original fashion piece from the manufacturer experiences an aura the counterfeit might not really give.

Emmanuel Johnson

Dream Team Takes Milan

As a team, we intended to discover the reality of Fashion and Counterfeit Culture in the city of Milan.

Check out the film below to find out what we discovered!

Directed by Emmanuel Johnson and Shamim Miah

Produced by Dream Team

Cinematography by Shamim Miah, Emmanuel Johnson, Jordan Kelman and Mandeep Sagoo

Edited by Emmanuel Johnson

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B.Walters Aura

Let’s have a little nostalgia moment or like the social media lingo, a throwback. Remember the days when you visited a museum, reserve or art gallery for the first time and you left with a ‘kind of unexplainable feeling’ of euphoria and enthusiasm. Well… unfortunately, or fortunately (depends on how you see it) that memory is going into extinction According to Benjamin Walters he terms this ‘feeling’ as an AURA. He defines the aura as:

”We define the aura…as the unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be. To follow with the eye—while resting on a summer afternoon—a mountain range on the horizon, or a branch that casts its shadow on the beholder, is to breathe the aura of those mountains, of that branch”(Walters 1930).

Though I am of the opinion that his definition does not fully explain what the aura means, Walters is of the opinion that modernity has dealt a great blow on the aura through its invention of the photographic camera that makes it possible to view history without experiencing the ‘feeling’.Benjamin  adds that the aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art which cannot be reproduced by a technological image.

However, he draws on the following questions:

a.What happens to Aura?

b. How is human sense perception related to history

c. Is he criticising a universal phenomenon?

Benjamin Laments that when the spectator of an image would realise the aura of an image is not present, the producers of the mechanical production would replace the aura with distraction as a mode of reception.

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”It falls back to the last entrenchment: the human countenance. In the cult of remembrance…the cult value of the image finds its last refuge. In the fleeting expression of a human face, the aura beckons from early photographs for the last time. This is what gives them their melancholy and incomparable beauty”.

 

This cult of genius would become a mythological space where humans would begin to find aura in places like a cinema. Though the truth about Benjamin Walters lamentations cannot and should not be under emphasised, However, I am of the opinion that the introduction of the technological image like Andre Bazin’s theory of cinema would help humans to store up memories of their existence at little or no cost.Take, for example, I as an individual would not have been able to see what the Monalisa looks(ed) like without the existence of the mechanical image neither would I have had the opportunity to see it at Musee le Louvre  because paintings such as the Monalisa would be classified. However, I am also in accordance with Walters because the experience you acquire from viewing an Everest  or any of the wonders of the world cannot be measured through a photographic image because technology is changing humanity’s entire mode of existence.

A Whole New World Of Adobe SPARK

Few days ago, I made a post on how I got a volunteer job and how I was giving a task to come up with a storyboard. Well… am still working on that board and don’t ask how it is going yet? Not yet at least.

However, I was one of the fortunate ones to attend a workshop with Claire Simmons from the Centre for Global engagement and Becks Stewart from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Coventry University.

Claire taught us on Presentation skills, Ethics and Recording she spoke on a PTC (pieces to Camera) as introduced by David Shukman BBC’s Science editor. Claire pointed out that as aspiring presenters, our audience always wants to know we are there- right where the story is happening. They want to know what it feels like to be where the story is taking place.

In his  video on Piece to Camera David advised all presenters to:

Use simple and conversational language

Maintain eye contact with the camera except you want to make a point by looking away

Walk only to make a point. Otherwise, keep still.

Always come up with a phrase that would win the attention of the audience.

When the need arises, make use of props.

That been said, Becks took us to a whole new world of editing on our mobiles through Adobe Clip and other free software. According to Becks, software should either be free or cost nothing less than a bottle of beer.

She also taught us on how to make videos using an iPhone (iphoneography)

Then came the freebies…

Adobe happens to be a world of various software. and the best way to be part of the family is by signing in.  One of such families of software is the adobe Spark (I wonder why it is called spark though) http://www.spark.adobe.com.

The spark is like a slide video or Video powerpoint. It is a new medium to create  and tell stories and you do not have to worry about sharing. it’s fun and free. You can create anything and everything. Yup! EVERYTHING with Adobe Spark.

You should check it out! it’s a great way to advertise products and services at no cost. All you need is an internet.

Before 30: perils of Labelling single women

In the last 10 years, the number of prayer houses for women to be ‘delivered from the spirit’ of singleness has been on the increase. Some spiritual leaders have turned the exasperation of these young women to a money making venture whereby we encounter a plethora of religious centres that regard themselves as a place where single ladies can be matched made (Udobang 2013). 

This situation is  According to Nancy Otoo-Oyortey a scholar in gender studies in an article voices her diplomatic opinion (she did not want to be referred as a feminist with a standpoint) on her observed experience of single young women in Ghana. some spiritual leaders syphon money from the spinsters in other for them to pray for their future husbands to locate them. Many others hold ridiculous revival services with irrational themes such as: “Lord! Give me a spouse or I die! War against Delay! This beautiful Sister must marry” the number of ladies who flock into these spiritual houses in their thousands seeking a solution to the stigma of singlehood can be alarming.As stated in Kriste Collins theory of mediated singleness Collins (2003: 54) it is of note that no matter how much the women  have accomplished for themselves professionally and in engaging in social good. Otoo-Oyortey (2014) reiterates stating that Single women rarely command respect from the girls who are meant to look up to them due to the fact that the older women have painted a picture to the girls that states that no matter how influential or ambitious a woman is, if she does not have a ‘crown (another word used to refer to men) on her head’, she is as good as chaff.

Further more, Otoo-Oyortey  reiterates Hartcocks (1997:383 ) claims of  power and knowledge stating that African Women fight for the education of girls yet, they in turn have an expectation that whatever life choices a female makes, she must keep in mind that marriage is paramount ( Otoo- Oyortey2014). Meanwhile the men of the same age group as these women are given the excuse by other members of the society that he has not come around to making his perfect choice-moreover, a man never ages (Emecheta 1979: 37)

Marginalized Majority

Kristie Collins theory of mediated singleness states  there has always been a perception of female(singleness) and the actual experiences of the single women  in mainstream America which are still identifiable with women till date.

”Marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”-   (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 2013)

“While falling in love is fun, it’s not everything, and it’s not the antidote to an unfulfilled life, despite what Reese Witherspoon movies may tell you.” (Jessica Valenti 2009)

“If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself (e.g. a male figure) to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.” – (Bell hooks 2000)

Feminist of the 1970s opined that the issue of marriage should be avoided like a plague because it had placed women in an un-imaginary box (Richards 1982:39). Albeit, the ‘society’  according to Collins (2013:24) the (African) society holds marriage in high esteem, it has thus made it socially acceptable to be married by also placing social incentives like health care to the women and regarding married women with more respect than their unmarried counterpart regardless of her social and/or financial status in the society. African American society put marriage on a high pedestal to the point mothers compel their females to stay married even when they know it is no longer healthy- they do this because the idea of  going from MRS to Ms is seen as a ‘spiritual torment from a family member who has placed a curse on the female’(Reynolds 2005). Reynolds scenario is one of many ways Patriarchal knowledge and power vested on women to other women according to  Smith(1997:395).

It was in this regard that a social activist group named: “the Feminist in 1969 made a declaration that marriages should be eliminated to guard against female stereotypes until the unmarried are valued as much as the married women (Mauthner 2005:36). Though, the purpose of this post is not to disagree with the idea of marriage which in itself should not be considered a bad thing, however, this research aims to institute the knowledge of the problems of labelling faced by women in a Nigerian society. While Dorothy Smith opines that the social life of every society around the world is male centred (Smith 1997), Adichie reiterates by adding that gender and its expectations prescribe to us how we should be rather than recognising how we are. She further states that the idea of masculinity is a ‘hard small cage’ the society has put boys into without prior knowledge from the boys (Adichie 2011).