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02/22/2005: "berlin part 1."

When I got to Berlin the first thing that hit me was the graffiti. I was in Berlin five years ago, and again for a few days this summer, but I didn't remember there being that much graffiti. In Mitte where I was staying I was absolutely engulfed in it; over the past six months the amount of graffiti in certain parts of the city has multiplied. Paint everywhere, splattered randomly over nearly every building--some in the form of gloriously psychedelic aerosol murals, but also lots of careless 'n ugly (though occasionally lovely) monochrome tags. Unlike New York, Berlin hasn't undertaken a massive Giulianiesque 'clean up the streets' type effort -- the city doesn't have the money to power-wash everything away or initiate draconian law enforcement, so the cops just look the other way for the most part. A skateboard shop I walked by in Prenzlauer Berg proudly advertised that it sold spray cans for the express purpose of art/vandalism; what's a scheming sixteen-year-old to do?

Clever appropriation of iconic national symbols! Go Deutsche Bahn!

I am such a sucker for silver paint.

The contrast between the tendrils of metallic paint and the blood-red color works wonders in this one. I'm doing up my whole room to look like this (okay, maybe not).

A drab wintry landscape made festive and colorful!

Buddha meditates over the train tracks!

Everything looks more badass written in German, doesn't it?

My question is, how did those intrepid taggers reach those windows? Massive ladders? Low-flying aircraft? Shoes with sproingy springs on the bottom? Absent-minded professors? Beanstalks? No! They were levitated upwards by propulsive techno beats! Feel the vibe, ladies and gentlemen. Part 2 on its way.

Replies: 1 Comment

thank you geeta - berlin's one of my favorite cities and it's getting me all nostalgic seeing graffiti. when i lived over in der-deutschland, i was under the impression that graffiti laws were totally insane (like you had to pay 100 DM for every painted square cm or something, and it accumulates, so if you tag the same name, your inevitable bill to the city could get into the tens of thousands of dollars) - so this all seems real crazy for me.

nate deyoung said @ 02/23/2005 03:44 PM EST

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