This hippie/punk/skater/poets/artists haven of graffiti, street, urban and postmodern all splayed across a complex of buildings that are seemingly abandoned but teaming with life, food, music, and free thought. Also, a sense of community.
There are opportunities for rock climbing, biergartening, dancing, tattoo shops, outdoor mix sessions, a furniture restoration shop, a mini- beach, the famed outstanding art gallery with a solid array of graffiti and urban art books, and if you know where the switch is, you can blow 6 foot torches of fire into the night sky from atop a tiki bar.
On the day we were there recently there was even a wedding party in one of the secreted outdoor spaces with two spinning turntables, a basement bar, a bonfire, and, naturally, cake.
Also, naturally, you can go and paint, wheatpaste, slap stickers, spray a stencil, or in the case of Bordalo II, collect together enough local garbage to create a sculptural installation of a long-billed aviary friend.
Scenes like these are always transitory so visit Berlin-Friedrichshain and Urban Spree before the moment passes.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: Bomb It 2 by Jon Reiss launches and Sampo Graffiti: Ignoto from Brazil.
BSA Special Feature: Bomb It 2
by director Jon Reiss
About to debut in August and through the fall, the sequel to the global graffiti documentary Bomb It travels to a number of far-flung cities you are vaguely aware of, much less imagine as locations of a graffiti or Street Art scene. In fact, one of the strengths of this movie is the subtle and not-so-subtle imparting of the realities of daily life elsewhere that are revealed while in the course of tracking graffiti and Street Art. Yes, Street Art makes a much heavier impression in this tale than one might expect from a movie called Bomb It 2, but don’t let terminology blind you from seeing the people behind the paint.
Using a tiny camera that jumps to the beat of the always-gyrating soundtrack, Reiss takes you to the Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank and you can feel the utterly constrictive hand around your neck while people nervously paint at night under guard. A short time later you learn the details of the brutal punishment called caning as it applies to graffiti writers in Singapore. Next you are in Thailand where painting on a wall almost feels like a spiritual practice. As much as graff writers like to generalize about the “rules” of graffiti in your city, the Bomb It movies tell you that they don’t apply universally.
Of course it doesn’t pretend to interview every single writer and Street Artist in every single city on the globe (as will be a critique no doubt), but that would require a movie that is 400 hours long. However you will witness the intensity of feelings that bombing/painting/pasting evokes in people and see the fierce devotion that some writers have, learn how it can be an art practice or an act of pure defiance, and hear at least one writer say unequivocally that graffiti saved his life.
With scenes from previously unexplored areas of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia – Bomb it 2 represents a wide range of cultures, styles and beliefs and includes interviews with Klone, Know Hope, Great Bates, Twoone, Darbotz, Killer Gerbil and Zero, Bon, Alex Face, Sloke, Husk Mit Navn, Ash, Phibs, Stormie Mills, Beejoir, Zero Cents, Vexta, MIC, and Xeme, and many more.
Here is a small trailer for you, but for the full show you still have a few days to wait.
SAMPA GRAFFITI / Ignoto
A new installment from a series that focuses on graffiti artists in São Paulo, here is a relaxed installation from Ignoto. The laidback style of his whole approach tells you he’s chilled and the action on the street is unusual because steps away from him are a handful of kids flying kites while he does his work. Click on the CC at the bottom to see a translation of Ignoto’s thoughts on graffiti and art in general.
“I spent a week in the Middle East, painting in both Israel and Palestine. I brought my boy Andy with me to film it all so we’ll have a short lil film coming out at some stage. It was one of those trips where you’ve no idea whats ahead. You can only prepare for so much and remain open to all eventualities. I think I need a holiday.”
To continue reading and see more images about Conor’s Middle East trip please go here:
The third in a series of cutting-edge global urban art exhibits, VISUAL SLANG 2009 features an eclectic range of characters and creatures representing a broad spectrum of cultural heritages. Featured artists include: A1one, Ame72, Bastardilla, Bishop, C215, Cekis, Charm, Cern, Chris Cortes, Klone, Mefisto, Kenji Nakayama, Sien, Stinkfish, Whisper and Zero Cents.
Place: Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, NYC 10002; Dates: June 25th – August 14th;
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 25th, 6-8pm. Contact: Lois Stavsky, 917.562.8468.
A recent piece by Charm (photo Steven P. Harrington)