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Brooklyn Street Art

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Nychos Slays in New York : IKONS Revealed as Never Before

Posted on June 29, 2016

“Scientists, psychologists, surgeons…in the end we’re all driven by a similar curiosity.”

This month has been a whirlwind in New York for Austrian Street Artist /fine artist /illustrator named Nychos and he’s made quite the iconic impression. Anchored by a show that opened last weekend of canvasses and illustrations at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea named “IKON” and assisted by a co-branded sculptural event with the Vienna Tourist Board, the surreal dissectionist didn’t rest there.

In the weeks leading up to and after these events he also managed to hit a number of walls in Coney Island, Bushwick, and Jersey City…oh and he knocked out a box truck as well.

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Nychos. Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In addition to pulling out an astounding sculpture of Sigmund Freud looming over a couch that drew a crowd to the foot of the (also iconic) Flatiron Building at 23rd and 6th, the afterparty and reception featured Dominic Freud, the great grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, who surmised that if he were alive today he would definitely have wanted to put Nychos on his couch.

Indeed the you may wonder about the mind of this sharp-knifed artist who has decided to diverge from the realm of slicing open animals and fantastic creatures to taking apart cultural and pop-cultural icons for his fascinating painted science experiments.

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Nychos. Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With a free hand on the can and rarely a sketch, and an athletic kineticism that verges on dance, this artist is fully in his zone, at times delivering what one important art world figure described to us as a “virtuoso” performance, even when he’s de-boning Ronald McDonald. Among his new subjects on walls and canvas are included such recognizable figures as Batman, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, Elvis, Marilyn, Motörhead’s Lemmy, and the Statue of Liberty.

Yes, it is grotesque, and yes, some of these subjects were actual people. Additionally, there is a comical dark side in it’s glossy finish and stylized splash, with perhaps a greater critique of consumerist entertainment culture and more than a touch of sadism. This is the pretty gore that is familiar to an un-shockable generation raised by vampires. You know who you are.

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Nychos. Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We asked the celebritic internist to talk about his work and his prodigious program across NYC and he gave us an inside look at the heart and mind of Nychos.

Brooklyn Street Art: You like to open things up and look inside. Would you consider yourself more of a scientist or psychologist?
Nychos: I consider myself an artist. But yeah, the question is justified. Scientists, psychologists, surgeons…in the end we’re all driven by a similar curiosity.

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Nychos in collaboration with the artist Lauren YS for The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Usually you depict primarily factual arrangements of organs and systems – but you also include a huge amount of movement and activity and emotion! How do you feel? How does a viewer feel?
Nychos: People who see me paint often tell me that it’s like watching an entire performance, so you could say the movement is not only in the piece or only me, it’s a synergy of both. I feel like the viewer can recognize these (e)motions in the finished piece as well.

Brooklyn Street Art: Is this work intellectual or emotional? Or both?
Nychos: Both. In my eyes, a creative process always includes intellectual and emotional content. Both aspects are fuelling each other. At least that’s what I see in my work.

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Nychos in collaboration with the artist Lauren YS for The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: We associate your work with the animal kingdom, but you are slicing Sigmund Freud open here in New York – What will we all be studying?
Nychos: I’d suggest you tell me afterwards. I can only say that “Dissection of Sigmund Freud” and my exhibition “IKON” at Jonathan Levine Gallery are a good way to announce that I’m going to set a focus on human anatomy in the future.

Brooklyn Street Art: Does Ronald McDonald actually eat his own food or is mostly whole grains and salads and fresh wheat-grass juice.
Nychos: Good question. I’m gonna ask him when I see him next time.

Brooklyn Street Art: OneTeas, Ron English and Banksy have all bashed McDonalds a number of times with their work – why is that brand so hateable?
Nychos: Well, I’d say McDonalds is just the embodiment of all these fast food chains, so the criticism does not only refer to this specific brand, but to all of them. McDonalds just made a damn good job with burning this weird clown into our brains and with it the bitter taste of today’s dining culture.

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Nychos. A drone surveying the progress of the mural at The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Pictured here with Jonathan LeVine. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “IKON”. Jonathan LeVine Galler. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “IKON”. Jonathan LeVine Galler. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “IKON”. Jonathan LeVine Galler. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “IKON”. Jonathan LeVine Galler. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos. “IKON”. Jonathan LeVine Galler. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nychos for Green Villain. Jersey City, NJ. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Nychos IKON is currently on view at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Manhattan. Click HERE for more details.

Kosbe & the Sticker Social Club Hustle a Booth at Coney Island

Posted on June 28, 2016

You want a booth at Coney so you can play a Carney? Do it yourself!

Shout out to tireless creative New Yorker Kosbe and the Sticker Social Club who quickly set up shop in the Coney Art Walls compound with their carnival style game booth last month and have been entertaining passersby ever since. It wasn’t originally part of the formal Coney Art Walls show but the Street Artist/graff writer/art director/hustler/hard worker/Renaissance man got this sculptural installation up in a matter of days and the booth has been showing original artworks and playing games with curious art fans since then.

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Sticker Social Club. Coney Art Walls 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We used found material sourced from the boardwalk and felt this reclaimed material was a good representation of Coney Island,” Kosbe says about the booth that is topped with a “Down the Clown” sign that they found in a refuse pile. Elsewhere in the show is signage that borrows from popular amusement vernacular by Stephen Powers. For Kosbe, its about the process as well. “It created a dialogue between us and several of the residents and employees of Luna Park and the neighborhood who actually contributed to the build out and came back later with a sense of excitement and pride at being a part of the art project.”

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A sword swallower at the Sticker Social Club. Coney Art Walls 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With handmade stickers and artworks by many friends and local NYC based artists who regularly get together to make art, the sense of collaboration with Sticker Social Club is always palpable. A tireless advocate for collaboration and participation, Kosbe is the driving force behind many of the clubs activities, meetings, installations.

This booth recalls Coney Island’s magical past, and “We also feel it relates to graffiti’s roots in making something out of whatever you can source on a bare minimum and utilizing materials from the street,” says the affable and energetic Kosbe. On opening day a number of people could be seen tossing beanbags and other projectiles while being goaded on by artists who sometimes gave out stickers or original drawings to winners. Curator of Coney Art Walls Jeffrey Deitch stopped by a few times and talked with the artists, happy to discover this collaborative team was willing to contribute so much to the exhibition.

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Sticker Social Club. Coney Art Walls 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Always sensitive to his environment, the artist didn’t want to encroach on the wall by artist Sam Vernon, who had placed her new work up as part of the formal show. “We lucked out in finding that ‘Down a Clown’ sign that we feel complimented and didn’t detract from Sam Vernon’s vision or color palette. We like how both pieces evoke imagery and a sense of the Coney boardwalk as if you are visually walking through it.”

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Sticker Social Club. Coney Art Walls 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sticker Social Club: Sticker Social Club hosts art events and drawing meet-ups as a means for young, upcoming artists to gain exposure as well as meet and learn from other like minded artists. The club regularly hosts events including drink and draws featuring artwork and music from live bands and DJs. Artists include: Cosbe (or Kosbe), Abe Lincoln Jr., Fling, OneTooth, Alone, Royce Bannon, Baser, Buttsup, Chris RWK (Robots Will Kill), Crasty, Dano, Tony DePew, Doper Jones, Jos-L, Froot, Herm, Imamaker, Adam Lawrence, Mister Guh, Sameshit, Tako Venus, Tone Tank, Wish 194 and many more.

Raising Yellowcake in Grand Canyon: Icy & Sot, Jetsonorama in Arizona

Posted on June 27, 2016

Yellow Cake: A simple sweet dessert confection that gets its signature color from 8 egg yolks and a cup of butter, and is great with either vanilla or chocolate icing.

Yellowcake: A type of uranium concentrate powder obtained from leach solutions, in an intermediate step in the processing of uranium ores. Also, its radioactive. Also, Colin Powell showed off a vial of it at the United Nations to sell the Iraq invasion in 2003 to that body and the world.

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Icy & Sot. “Nuclear Plant” Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2017. (photo © Icy & Sot)

Being more knowledgeable about the dessert variety of yellow cake than the desert variety of uranium contamination, we turn to Street Artists Jetsonorama and Icy & Sot to educate us about the active uranium mines that are at the North Rim of The Grand Canyon. The three worked jointly in June to create new public works addressing the topic and we have each of them here for you to see.

“The issue of uranium contamination and nuclear waste is timely as there is an active uranium mine at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon presently and a proposal to start mining at the South Rim,” explains Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas), who is a local artist, a practicing doctor, and a social activist advocating for the people who live on the reservation and the natural environment in general.

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Icy & Sot on a roadside billboard. “Radioactive Pollution Kills. It’s Time To Clean Up The Mines”. Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Icy & Sot)

For the last few summers Thomas has been hosting “The Painted Desert Project”, a selection of national and international Street Artists to create works in this region that respond to the communities, history, and geography of this part of Arizona and the Navajo Nation,

It would appear that the introduction of such contamination into communities, national monuments like the Grand Canyon, or local water supplies – whether by design or negligence – would be considered a provocative act by any rational person. So too is this series of art interventions by Icy & Sot meant to be provocative. The brothers, for example, attached the “Radioactive” symbol onto the branches of a tree overlooking the canyon to dramatize the integral effect that such poisoning is having on natural elements.

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Icy & Sot.  Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Icy & Sot)

In two video performances recorded onsite in the desert the visuals are much stronger, including a typical consumer floor fan you could pick up at the local Best Buy store that is blowing radioactivity freely in the same way that desert winds are carrying radioactive dusts from many sites across the land. The second performance sees a jump-suited figure unceremoniously dumping a Yellow Cake, presumably made of yellowcake, upside down onto an American flag that is draped across a card table in the open desert – leaving a messy affair that is not easily cleaned up – and then walking away.

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Icy & Sot.  A still from the making of “No More Yellowcake”. Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Icy & Sot)

“There are over 500 abandoned uranium mines on The Navajo Reservation and more than 80% of the mine sites have not been cleaned up,” says Sot when describing the issues they are addressing with their new works. “There are currently no federal laws that require clean up of these hazardous sites and they continue to pose significant danger to the Navajo people.”

“In a region with an unemployment rate around 50% investment by private industry is hampered by not being able to build around these contaminated lands,” says Jetsonorama, “While Icy & Sot chose largely ephemeral installations to dramatize the situation of uranium contamination, I chose installations focusing on the subtle, insidious effect of living, working, playing on contaminated land.”

A statement accompanying the video:

“No More Yellowcake” 

“Yellowcake is a product of uranium mining. Many Navajo people worked at the mines, often living and raising families in close proximity; they were unknowingly exposed to dangerous levels of radiation and chemicals. Uranium mining and yellowcake processing continues today and threatens the environment and the health of communities across the U.S.” Icy & Sot

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Icy & Sot.  Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Icy & Sot)

“The Killing Wind” 

“Toxic radioactive particles left over from abandoned uranium mines on Navajo land take the form of dust which travels with the wind for hundreds of miles. It can be inhaled or blow into streams or onto nearby ground spreading radioactive contamination.” Icy & Sot


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Icy & Sot. “Contaminated Land” references the drinking water supplies of the western U.S., much of which is fed through the Colorado River. Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Icy & Sot)

Using a more subtle approach to the topics at hand, you’ll see Jetsonorama’s photographic image of “radioactive” green sheep, an image of girl on a home-made swing, and a local guy named Jamison feeding his dog on contaminated land that he says is “near AUM.” The artist explains that AUM stands for Abandoned Uranium Mines and then shows us a link to a map that contains record of 521 such sites scattered across the land in this region.

We noted previously in an article about Jetsonorama’s work that the New York Times did a story about this area in 2012 entitled “Uranium Mines Dot Navajo Land, Neglected and Still Perilous,” but very little appears to have changed as a result of it. Says Jetsonorama, “There are still over 500 abandoned uranium mines on the reservation spewing alpha, beta and gamma radiation contaminating land, water, animals and humans.”

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Jetsonorama. Gamma Goat.  Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Jetsonorama)

In describing their various stencil works and installations in the area, Icy & Sot told us they were struck by the lack of knowledge of the local community who in danger of being exposed to these deadly and sickening man-made disasters.

“The Navajo people did not have a word for radioactivity and did not know about the dangers of radiation in the 1940s when mining companies began surveying their land,” they said in a statement. “Today the mines are closed but their toxic legacy persist in contaminated soil and drinking water with elevated levels of radiation.”

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Jetsonorama. Cow Springs.  Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Jetsonorama)

The government has created an education program aimed at kid wandering or playing near such radiation sites, including a new cartoon character named “Gamma Goat”. It may capture the imagination of a youth and deter them from inadvertently exposing themselves to this multitude of sites, many poorly marked and not guarded or sufficiently protected.

“There is an insightful documentary on uranium contamination on the Navajo nation by a young Navajo woman called ‘Yellow Fever’ which refers to the illness uranium workers would get that is characterized by flu-like symptoms,” Jetsonorama tells us. “In the film the filmmaker talks of recent efforts by the EPA to educate children living on the reservation to the dangers of uranium exposure.  To this end the EPA developed a comic book/coloring book the protagonist of which is called “Gamma Goat” who warns kids to stay away from abandoned mine sites.”

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Jetsonorama. JC at Cow Springs.  Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama. Jamison on the White House.  Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Artist Unknown. A water well that someone has warn neighbors they should not draw from. Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2016. (photo © Jetsonorama)

 

Thank you to Chip Thomas AKA Jetsonorama and Icy & Sot for sharing with us their photos and videos and for helping us describe the project for BSA readers.

 

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.26.16

Posted on June 26, 2016

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Berliners called it the “großes Ohr”. The Big Ear.

Run by the American NSA and the British in their sector, this “listening station” stands atop a man made mountain of rubble, at the bottom of which is said to lie the unfinished Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. These structures with round orbs could be seen above the city from many angles rising from deep in the Grunewald Forest and yes, we can confirm that the one complete geodesic orb at the very top has such astounding acoustics even now that the sound of a camera clicking or clearing your throat or stepping on a piece of broken glass is instantly amplified anywhere within it, then re-echoed multiple times.

Our top image: Plotbot at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Plotbot at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“In its day,” says security expert and former employee Bill Scannell in a video online, “Teufelsberg (‘Devil’s Mountain’) was one of the most secretive intelligence facilities in the entire world.” Now it is a relic of the NSA behind three rows of barbed wire fences and a sort of freewill painting destination but the hulking grey and ivy clad compoung is a strong reminder of the extensive spy apparatus that the general public continues to get glimpses of in leaks and reports today.

Today this is a graffiti haven and hippie/punk love-in where people go to experiment with cans and rollers and brushes, drink beer, listen to scratchy voiced acoustic versions of Amy Winehouse, and pad around barefoot wearing nothing but a towel. The “guard” at the entrance, also shirtless and barefoot with a somewhat serious gaze requires from you a toll of 7 euro per head to get in, then smiles benignly as continue your trudging up the hill.

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Strok at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On the sunny hot sticky day that our guide took us, we saw enough good international and local artwork to offset the mediocre, boxes of old electronic doodads laying around on the ground and sticking out of boxes, blackbirds singing in trees, and strips of open asbestos fluttering in the breeze. Art themes ranged from standard graffiti name-making to the apocalyptic, the darkly sarcastic, pop culture parody, and a frequent critique of the surveillance stories we find in the news today.

It’s almost breathtaking with the Berlin views of the valley below – including another man-made mountain nearby that is often used for kite-flying, the Olympic Stadium from 1936, and the The Fernsehturm television tower close to Alexanderplatz in the central neighborhood of Mitte;  this devilish mountain definitely had us entranced. Then we hiked back down the mountain through the deep wood and fields looking for air conditioning and cold beer.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alaniz, Crisp, Deuce7, Fanakapan, JBAK, Jule, Icy & Sot, Jule, Low Bros, Moe79, Mundano, Nasca, Never, Plotbot, Self Made Crew, Siko, Strøk, Tony Bones, and Wing.

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mundano built a three step platform for you to climb and look directly into the eyes of his figure, who pleads with us to “Damn the Dam on the Tapajos River” at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JBAK at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MOE79 did this stencil of Edward Snowden at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MOE79 at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A tongue-in-cheek public service message from MOE79 at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nasca at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Made Crew reinterprets Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” eating a Döner kebab at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Made Crew reinterprets Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” eating a Döner kebab at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Made Crew paints a big ear at “The Big Ear” (großes Ohr), abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NEVER is always getting the short end of the stick at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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SIKO at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Low Bros at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hulk Hogan victory lap at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Something awfully Jeremy Fishy about this Jule piece at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Some old stuff Tony Bones and Deuce7 that we’ll guess is 8 years old at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Fanakapan at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crisp . Wing (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Girl Power (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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