Sunday, October 18, 2015

Über tracking

From the brains in our pockets (aka smartphones), the data proclaims we have walked, depending on how different people used their free time, between 100-130 kilometers since the 9th of October (62-82 miles). If only these devices could track aromas the way students used them to track sounds in addition to steps. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Holocaust Memorial and Final Meal Together

Today we completed our final day in Berlin spending time independently in the morning and then joining together to tour the state sponsored "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe". After this time, we enjoyed some tasty local pizza together. Tomorrow we begin our journey home, meeting in our hotel lobby at 5:15, arriving back in KC around 3pm local time. 

Jazz at the Ministergärtens

We were able to hear a large sampling of jazz styles and groups in our final group listening experience on Friday night. These sites have housed various governmental administrations since the 18th century (including the Third Reich) and now are used primarily for cultural purposes, including this yearly international jazz festival. 

Freitag alternative tour

Today we took a tour of Berlin that focused on street art, graffiti, neighborhood diversity, and the east/west dynamics. 

Deutsche Oper Mittwoch

The sign above the stage reads "Bitte schalten Sie ihre Mobitelefone aus. Danke!" (Please turn off your mobile phones. Thank you!)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Freitag" aber nicht Freitag

Today students have a "free day" to explore Berlin cultural sites and areas of their own choosing (and today is Thursday (Donnerstag) not Friday (Freitag)). We are meeting up at 6pm for a unique and highly anticipated culinary experience. Suffice it to say, the visual images you'd get from inside of the "dunkelrestaurant" are literally identical for all present. How is this possible? Answer: we ate in complete darkness and were served by visually-impaired and blind peoples. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Politics & Pergamon

We had a very fruitful sharing and discussion about our experience yesterday, our techno conversation at UdK, some further considerations of the students' upcoming composition project as well as our impressions of Berlin this far. Many are recording sound samples to include in their musical work and some are altering their ideas in light of what we've seen and done here. Despite the rain, we then ventured out to the Museuminsel (Museum island) where we saw many ancient artifacts, largely from Miletus, Babylon and Assur. Rebecca here found the most ancient of artifacts - the void. 

Tower of Babel model

Goddess Athena

Assyrian gods flanking entry

And, randomly, a 5,000+ year old bowl

Nabucco: Opera II

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Oranienburg train station

S1 line to Oranienburg

Musicmaking at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

As we can read here, both music was both a forced activity and free expression within the lives of prisoners at the forced-labor camp we will be visiting today. Consider these two perspectives from the above site.

    "The SS made singing, like everything else they did, a mockery, a torment for the prisoners ... those who sang too softly or too loudly were beaten.  The SS men always found a reason ... when in the evening we had to drag our dead and murdered comrades back into the camp, we had to sing.  Hour after hour we had to, whether in the burning sun, freezing cold, or in snow or rain storms, on the roll call plaza we had to stand and sing of ... the girl with the dark brown eyes, the forest or the wood grouse.  Meanwhile the dead and dying comrades lay next to us on a ripped up wool blanket or on the frozen or soggy ground."

     "None of us had studied music.  We were bound by the same fate and the common love of music and singing … daily we counted hundreds of dead.  We froze and starved - yet evenings we sang and made music … we did not want to be martyrs.  We wanted to survive, and bring fascist Germany to its knees, to somehow play a part in this."