Otto Herbig – The Frontrunner of ‘German Expressionism’

Otto Herbig, born on December 31, 1889, in Dorndorf, Werra, was a German artist, credited of being the torchbearer of the German Expressionism. As a school student, he seemed enthralled by the architectural brilliance of his native city, as was evident in his earlier paintings. Owing to his artistic aptitude, Otto Herbig got himself enrolled into the Munich Art Academy, during 1909 to 1911. At the academy, the artist was introduced to ‘Expressionism,’ which impressed him deeply. In 1912-1913, he studied at the Art School, Weimar, where he met his fellow Expressionists, such as Rudolf Wacker, Otto Pankok, and Gert Wollheim. In 1913, Otto Herbig met the famous German sculptor, Ernst Penzoldt, and together, they took a voyage to Paris. Otto eventually settled down at Berlin. Within the company of Ernst Penzoldt, Herbig learnt a lot about ‘Expressionism,’ which was instrumental in improving his style of work.

Herbig enlisted in the military service during World War I, and worked as a medical technician in Ostend. Here he met his other contemporaries, such as Erich Heckel, Max Anton Kerschbaumer Kaus, and James Ensor. Despite the adverse political conditions during war, these artists developed the strong bonds of friendship, and together they nurtured their creative skills. The hardships of the war were vehemently expressed in Otto’s lithographic works, which he later published as “Die Schaffenden (The Creators).”

Post war, in 1919, Otto returned to Berlin and got married. His lithographs were now laden with domestic sentiments, usually centered on the subtle relationship of a mother and her child. Some of his noteworthy paintings from the league are “Dormant mother,” “The Bath (1921),” “Kissing mother (1923),” and “Mother and Child (1924).” Herbig faced a lot of trauma due to his wife’s death in 1926, followed by that of his son’s, Tyl, in 1928. His personal struggle brought about a significant change in his style of work, which became more understated, and full of personal emotions. Otto remarried in the year 1929.

The artist visited Italy several times from 1928 through 1931, and then again in 1957 and 58. In 1929, Herbig earned a fellowship at the Villa Massimo in Rome with Schmidt-Rottluff and Kerschbaumer, the members of the famed ‘Expressionist’ group, ‘Die Brücke.’ Otto Herbig joined the group and started displaying his work in its exhibitions. During the Second World War, from 1933 to 1939, like many other ‘Modernist’ artists’ works, the Nazis regarded Otto Herbig’s works too as ‘degenerate art,’ and were prohibited from any kind of public display.

Post-war, through 1945-1955, Herbig worked as a professor at the art school in Weimar. During 1955-62, he stayed at Kleinmachnow, Berlin, to settle finally at Weilheim, Bavaria in 1962. All this while, Otto had been painting again, and his creations carried the flavor of the style he had adopted from the other ‘Die Brücke’ members. His famous paintings of these times were “Bust shrubs and flowers before (1949),” “Blooming Trees in the Garden (1950),” and “Manner irises and girls head (1965).” Otto Herbig died on June 13, 1971, at Weilheim, in Bavaria. He was highly appreciated at various art galleries, such as National Gallery East Berlin (1962), Möller, Nierendorf, and von der Heyde.

Enjoy the World’s Top DJs at the Love Parade

In this day and age not much is free, but The Love Parade makes an exception! This is the event for dance and electronic music fans from around the world, and though there have been international Love Parades in recent years, this particular one is held in its original country of birth, Germany.

What is The Love Parade?

If you’re a fan of dance music, and especially electronic dance music, you’re going to love The Love Parade. Not only is this festival free but it’s an annual event, usually taking place every year, and attracts hundreds of thousands of people to its colourful parade and pumping tunes.

Started in Berlin in 1989 this event was set up as a political demonstration with the idea of promoting international peace and understanding through love and music. The first parade attracted only around 150 people and was set up by the Berlin Underground. Now it’s far from being an underground event and while international peace and understanding is still the underlying message of the Love Parade, it’s enjoyed more for its music than its political undertones these days!

After a couple of years of cancellations, the 2010 Love Parade is all set to go ahead and has been confirmed to take place in the German city of Duisburg in western Germany. The festival is planned for just one day, Saturday 24 July, but the city’s clubs and bars are bound to be packed full of revellers for at least the entire weekend! Get along to Duisburg and enjoy the festival including the floats and of course lots of music from famous DJs.

There will only be 20 floats at Duisburg’s Parade so the competition is going to be tough. Only pre-applicants will be considered, and only the most imaginative and creative float ideas will be accepted. This means that the crowds are going to be in for a real treat! The floats will be playing their own tunes and of course there will be stages set up with some very loud tunes too. The best DJs of the genre will be here, though who that will be is yet to be confirmed.

Visiting The Love Parade 2010

So you don’t need to buy any tickets to go because it’s free! Just come along and enjoy the music along with hundreds of thousands of other party-goers – you’re guaranteed a great time while helping to promote international peace and understanding.

Duisburg is a relatively large city so there are plenty of places to stay in the city if you’re coming for the weekend. From the rest of Europe you can get to the Love Parade by plane as Dusseldorf International Airport is only 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) away from the centre of Duisburg. You can also get here by train or by road as Duisburg is linked to all the major German cities and many other European cities by both road and rail.

Improvised Maps – Dispatx Art Collective Spring

The publication of the sixth edition of Dispatx Art Collective, which coincides with a complete redesign of the website, continues the practice of bringing together exciting original works from a diverse group of contributors. Curating and developing works from poets, photographers, painters and writers, for this edition we once again present an extremely diverse set of responses to the notion of Improvised Maps. These works include a dozen projects developed online over the last five months and seven additional submissions.The Improvised Maps theme has a particular relevance for the work of Dispatx. Notions of connectivity, exploration and interpretation have strong correlates in the approach of the website, where public interaction with both ongoing and completed works serves to promote creative inquiry on collective, collaborative and individual scales. The theme also associates strongly with the creative method – the organising process that translates creative vision to creative product – the visibility of which is so important to what we do.

Each published project relates to the Improvised Maps theme in different ways, and there are similarities in approach and form between many of them. All projects demonstrate a methodological relation to the theme, some having made this relation more pronounced. By constructing a work using base materials over which the author had limited control, both Karen O’Rourke’s Eavesdroplets and Lawrence Frith’s Verso-Recto demonstrated improvisational techniques inherent in any creative practice in an exaggerated manner. The title of Frith’s piece suggested a method that is, from the outset, back-to front, or at least interchangeable in its direction. Any initial emphasis on contrivance in method in these projects eventually made the manoeuvrability and adaptability of the artists that more apparent. In effectively forcing correlations between sources, piecing a puzzle together, these two projects relate to (LIS) by Miguel Aguirre Vega. The artist’s process was based on the classification and publication of objects that formed part of his experience in the Portuguese capital. In the final presentation he shows us his attempt to organise his recollections in order to recreate step by step his first and last impressions of this distant, almost alien city.

A similar approach of retrospective rearrangement was employed by Denis Masi in Stories. By making considered alterations to a series of photographic triptychs, ultimately opening up sub-triptychs, Denis was able to coordinate subtle reformulations of deceptively simple compositions. The complexities of the images were gradually fine-tuned until more and more layers of narrative potential emerged, intentionally playing with our natural inclination to read into such sequentially suggestive images. This expansion of sequential order, and the references to cinematic freeze frames, forms a central part of another work exploring the construction and dismantling of an event. Christine Rusche’s Snatch, a photographic account of the brief existence of an installation – a room drawing that creates a kind of imploding landscape, a conflagration between planes and vectors, the virtual and the actual – supplies obtuse, almost poetic captions to the stages of this strangely hallucinatory overlaying of ‘impossible’ perspectives. It further reinforces the concepts of narrative mapping emphasised in Denis Masi’s project.

Metron 06 is a project that, in addition to exploring ideas of orientation and measurement, documented a residency period in a city art gallery. This external activity presented the artists Diane Jones-Parry and Annabel Ralphs with a ‘partner’ space with its own parallel approach based on an entirely different register of method and presentation. Also exploring this notion of method registers, Santiago Roncagliolo’s Honestidad Brutal (Brutal Honesty) presents a narrative essay that reflects on the effects that blogging can have on a writer’s style. The essay becomes an account of how the writer’s established working practice was disrupted by factors made visible through his blogging practice.

The collaboration of Enrique Vila-Matas, Suicidios Ejemplares (Exemplary Suicides), is a powerful synthesis that reflects not only aspects of the Improvised Maps theme, but also one of the motifs of his work – the different maps that can be extracted from a city, the routes, the points that become references. We can observe the expanded development of this concept in Eli Goldstein and Kjersti Wikstrøm’s Transcendence. This project used the resources of a socialised internet offered by Dispatx in an exhaustive manner. The artists, each located in a different city, used the site as a bridge for collaborative work, relating also to other artists working on the Improvised Maps theme and taking full advantage of public interaction and commentary. The project constructed matrices of personal location using a large series of references, constituting place through psycho-cartographic asides and unifying dispersed designs of two vibrant cities through preconceptions, perceptions, images and scale models of the place itself. It is clear that what is demonstrated is that the improvised is closed when information is organized and the connections within it become evident. When browsing through this project, one can get a sense of a labyrinthine city, a metropolis constructed from the personal experience of each of the artists from fragments of Berlin and New York.

An interpretation of mapping in relation to the cataloguing of material, broadly reflecting on the notion of historical archives and their implications for recorded history, is observed in Royalties_naturalistas | Archive_Gay by Cristián Gomez Moya. The resultant distillation of this research, holographic images of Chilean flora and fauna, function like new icons that symbolise the amplitude of the existing archive – to represent the representation of a country and a culture. Investigating a specific event from new perspectives, or through previously unconnected sources, formed a important part of Wildfire by Andrea Brady. From significant background research, the author presents a long poem, remarkable in its use of imagery and language, which also provides a platform from which the reader is able to access the interconnected material that formed the basis of its composition.

Presented as a possible area of investigation when the theme was announced, correlation has been explored in two music-based projects, Fluence by Dominic Lash and David Stent and Recording Exchange by Jeff Thompson, either in any correspondence between score and sound or between specific instructions and free interpretation. Though both projects worked with groups of improvising musicians, Recording Exchange initially developed as a mail-art project that charted unseen intervals in order to use them as the basis for a musical performance in New York. The scores were the output of paper recording devices, much like magnetic tape – the carbon paper acting like the particles of iron oxide. The performance of this piece in a gallery space has clear parallels with Metron 06, where, in collaboration with some of the musicians involved with Fluence, specific pieces of music were performed in the exhibition space. In Fluence, the contrast between precise instructions and a free reading of the projected graphs produced an interesting tension between immediate, ephemeral interpretations of the lines and the notion that one must to be able to ‘read’ the same information in some way in order to respond.

In Lie of the Land, John Goto interprets the theme of Improvised Maps using a process of seamless and informal juxtaposition, referencing the technology of Google Earth. Satellite imagery and political comment strike a balance with personal reflection and wry humour. On a completely different scale – moving from images of outer space to inner, cellular space – is Daniel Canogar’s Intimate Mappings. The work consists of an installation that displays magnifications of the body, spaces so internalised and abstracted that we ourselves cannot recognize them even when they are presented on perceptible scale. Using a kaleidoscope of microscopic forms, colours and textures related to the human reproductive system, the work contrasts a shared biology with notions of privacy.

Icy Cold, a short narrative by Barbara Rosenthal, describes a journey in which it is difficult to reconstruct the situation of the protagonist. The story does provide a mental map, a spirituality generated by the rhythm of the writing as much as by the imagery it describes. Palabras_, a web-based project developed by Sharon Daniel and a group of collaborators, relates back to Transcendence in its recognition of the possibilities of the internet for collaborative work on an international scale. The project explores the ways in which the tools of socialized internet can be helpful in establishing both online and offline communities. Another project using the internet is NYSoundmap, developed by, amongst others, Andrea Polli, Michelle Nagai and Andrea Callard. The project focuses on the sound world of New York City and works to develop diverse forms of participation within the local community in order to establish an organic, evolving sonorous map of the city.

The nineteen projects included in this edition constitute a metamap of the Improvised Maps theme. The projects have been organised using a number of improvised forms and share a number of references to specific notions highlighted in the theme. These points give us some indication of a general trajectory to the edition. The organization of the projects also functions as another way of analysing concepts such as archiving and cataloguing, which can be clearly observed in this text. The level of collaboration in this edition has been more visible than in previous issues and has operated on diverse levels. The artists have shown a great capacity to absorb the processes of others over a period of intensive development, including the contributions made by visitors in comments and suggestions, providing viewpoints and interpretations that otherwise may not have occurred to the artists.

Fairytale 2011/2012 – Straubing Tigers on Cloud Nine

The season 2011/2012 will be the most precious part of the Tigers chronicle after the win of the championship 2005 in the DEL_2 (= 2nd Bundesliga or second highest hockey league). There is no doubt at all, that the Tigers organization has achieved a great success closing up the main season on rank 6 and reaching the half final versus the Ice Bears of Berlin, the later champion of this season.

I guess you would like to know how that happened. I feel rather proud to tell you the details of this miracle.

As always the last game in a season has got a special flavor and this is mainly true for the Tigers, too. My son Tobias joined me for this obvious last showdown in the season and he turned out to be a real mascot. Suffering from numerous injured players we had to deal with the Adler Mannheim one of the top favorites for the title.

We started off well enough to take a lead after 4 minutes and everything seemed to be going its way perfectly; however, during our first penalty the Eagles scored like a champion and got even ahead with 2:1 after the first period. The second period was characterized by lots of mistakes by the Tigers and Mannheim took advantage from another penalty leading 3.1 after the second period.

What did this mean for the third period? Were the Tigers able to beat back or was their only goal now to play decently to end up the season reasonably? What we experienced in the last period was extraordinary: we got closer soon and even scored another time within 30 seconds. Now the Pulverturm seemed to be fully awake supporting the team extremely loud and intense. All of a sudden the Tigers had got the chance to win that game; in fact, 5 minutes were still to play and we scored our 4th goal which was almost incredible to everybody.

Finally, the fifth goal gave us the opportunity to still hope for a playoff ticket. It was simply unbelievable what was going on in the stadium this late afternoon. We still had to wait for the final result of Augsburg vs. Düsseldorf: we nervously asked our neighbor for the latest update, it was amazing how long it should take to get the ultimate piece of information. The prerequisite for a success of the Tigers would be a tied game in Augsburg after the official 60 minutes. And believe it or not, the score was still 3:3 but that game was not over yet and went on for another 5 minutes.

Time was not flying when having fun, this was definitely true at that moment – eventually, our unique speaker announced the result and all players came out from their locker room holding mugs of local Bavarian beer in their hands and heading to the fans to celebrate this success.

The Pulvertum ended up like a madhouse with all fans singing and cheering at the same time. Unbelievable moments and spirits we were happy to experience; my son Tobias felt like on cloud nine.

Our opponent for the quarter final had to be conveyed as well and it was Wolfsburg, the Grizzly Adams which surely would not be too happy about this lottery. The Tigers were considered the most unpleasant team to play against. This advantage needed to be maintained throughout this series, this could be our chance.

But you will find out, when I continue with my true fairytale.

Official press and media illustrated the emotions that turned out after the quarter finals; with Bruno St. Jacques being a great member of this inspiring team full of inspiration and creativity the perfect celebration of this unexpected victory must have looked like performed on ice after that great game.

Starting off with our first playoff game in Wolfsburg in the Porsche arena everyone was fairly excited about our first performance. Believe it or not, our oldie Calvin Elfring who has been the only player left from the triumph in 2005/2006 really shot our first goal in the history of DEL playoffs. The Tigers got even ahead 2:0 keeping up the hopes and dreams of the fans for a first sensational win over the favorite team from Wolfsburg; eventually, the Grizzly Adams could only score once so that the big surprise became true in fact.

I proactively predicted the upcoming hype for our first home match and managed a precious ticket. There was no doubt, that it was officially reported “sold out” and I was a part of it – what a big deal!

You can barely imagine what kind of game took part that evening. It was unseen before, the Tigers celebrated hockey to its finest art and scored one goal after another leading three to nothing after the first period. Some people believed Wolfsburg lost this second game due to undisciplined behavior within one minute, but nevertheless the performance of the Tigers has to be highly appreciated.

Since we even got further ahead with 6:0 before the last period began, the game was definitely decided in favor of the Straubing Tigers.

Since then, the respect and praise towards the Tigers was to be felt all over the country, in particular in Wolfsburg.

However, nothing happened in fact: two games were played, the Tigers lead 2:0 in the series but still 2 more matches had to be won before shaking hands on ice.

As the head coach of the Grizzlies said on the press conference after the second game in Straubing: “It does not matter at all, how you win a playoff game, just the victory is of the essence.”

Anyway, the players were accompanied by about 1,000 passionate fans to their third game away; this ought to be a real good support for the skating actors. I should mention beforehand, that during the playoffs the Tigers chartered a local plane to get to the city of Wolfsburg on time without suffering from too much stress. Any kind of jet lag was certainly avoided by that clever means.

It was amazing to hear about a 3:0 lead of the Tigers after about 50 minutes – what could have gone wrong now? OK, the Grizzlies fought back and scored their honorary goal, but would it be too late for coming back in time?

As you might assume, yes it was and therefore the Tigers traveled back with another uncalculated victory in their bags.

In addition, you need to know that the fans joined a special train which was organized by the local fan clubs; as a matter of fact this train got stuck about one hour away from the final destination and the fans could only enter the stadium when the second period started off. The good thing about this delay was, that simultaneously when the spectators cheerfully but literally poured in the Tigers shot their first goal.

This was the stimulus they needed; there was no doubt about it.

The crowd was so loud that the local fans of Wolfsburg could not compete with; it seemed to be like another home game.

At this moment of the series everything was really possible – just imagine playing the half final versus the official champion of Berlin!
What could have been better than this incredible thought?

Of course, achieving a ticket for the – hopefully – last game of this series would turn out to be rather tough. However, I could happily cling to my special friend Martin, who made my dream real by providing this extremely valuable paper.

Still, I was a bit cautious since this game definitely had to be the most difficult one of all four. I was pretty sure, that the Grizzlies would make all attempts to win this time, in order to preserve their chances to head on. So it was at least in the first period, when they really got ahead, which was totally new for the Tigers. Now we were very curious how the Tigers would come out for the second period. These 20 minutes happened to be another highlight for the hockey history in Straubing. By playing like heroes we scored four times and seemed to have decided the game already after 40 minutes.

The last period would surely offer the final answer; it was a game with lots of chances on both sides with the Tigers scoring another three times and leaving the Grizzlies only two more goals at the end.

Now history was a factual matter in Straubing thanks also to Matt Hussey, our goal getter who played terrific not only this time.

The fans were outstanding and the stadium was like a madhouse again. The police even allowed for a automobile parade through the city of Straubing due to this exceptional situation.

Upon heading back to Freising that evening I felt so proud and lucky expecting the upcoming games to be watched lively.

Soon it became clear that our opponent for the half final should be the Ice Bears of Berlin, the official champion of the DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga).

Could it be more exciting to play against the giant of the league?

The Tigers did not have many days to recover and had to be the guest in the O2 arena in April. Unfortunately, our goalie Barry Brust suffered from some lack of minor concentration: the first goal of Berlin could have been avoided for sure. However, there was still much time to play but somehow the Ice Bears turned out to be more efficient than the Tigers in game one eventually beating us 4:1.

Back home it should be another story, this was our feeling. In fact, Berlin fans were numerous the evening and a little bit scary as well.

My friend and I tried not to get in contact to closely. We even disliked their cheering song “Dynamo, Dynamo” which reminded us too much of the cold war period.

Maybe this strange feeling carried us through the complete game which we also lost 1:4. The Tigers did not really have a solid chance to beat the Ice Bears or even compete against them properly.

You never know what might happen and so we crossed out fingers for game # 3 in Berlin, which was shown on TV of course. The Tigers were forced to perform at its best and maintain the slight opportunity of reaching another game at home. That way they acted and they were really tough this time beating Berlin 3:1 which was well-deserved. Every objective spectator could have signed this statement.

Now the momentum was on our side again and the second home game was sold out within 45 minutes; besides, I was lucky again to obtain another precious ticket.

Obviously, this decisive game for Berlin happened to be a drama from the very first beginning; again, the Tigers had to cope with the first goal of Berlin after about 10 minutes but the captain Michael Bakos scored to tie up in the first period.

In the second period we even got ahead with 2:1 due to a goal of our defense leader Sebastian Osterloh.

The atmosphere in the stadium was indescribable – the notion ‘madhouse’ even to little to capture the feelings.

Could it really become true for the Tigers to climb up to the finals? It was so close for everybody but one period can last like an eternity – an so it was: Berlin revealed its overwhelming class and came back with a 3:2 lead and now the Tigers felt the pressure to equal the game which did not occur in the end, because the Ice bears scored a fourth time deciding the match.

In the end, it shouldn’t have happened – but the entire community of Straubing felt real pride and respect from the opponent.

A Symbol of Change – The Brandenberg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is no doubt one of Germany’s great landmarks described in some tourist rags as the symbol of Berlin, signifying her glory, her defeats, her power and her weaknesses. Built in the late 1700’s as an arch of triumph, she was also one of 18 gates leading into the old city of Berlin.

By all regards this is a very striking piece of architecture and a dominating structure on the landscape. She stands over 26 metres in height and overlooks the Pariser Platz, a large square intended as a great outdoor room – an entrance hall if you like into the city. It’s an impressive sight.

But even more impressive is the fact that she has stood through so much change.

She watched over Germany in her full glory in the 1800s, saw Berlin as the cultural and entertainment capital of Europe in the 1920’s where cabaret flourished (yes that’s where the musical is based). She survived the Second World War – although not unscathed, when the Allies bombed and entered Berlin at the close of the war. In fact the Nazis held rallies in the Parsier Platz beneath her. And of course during the Cold War she was completely cut off from the rest of the world when the Berlin Wall was erected only meters from her. Then nearly 30 years later, in 1989, she was witness to the fall of the wall and everything it symbolized, one of the key moments of modern history. After decades of neglect, in 1992 she was restored to her formal glory.

Berlin is a beautiful city with many great landmarks, and when I was there I kept finding myself going back to the Brandenburg Gate. I found the place absolutely fascinating because it’s so full of history. What I found really inspirational is quite simply the fact that she has endured so much change.

Change is inevitable in our lives and in our world and the Brandenburg Gate is a reminder of that. And as we enter a period of great uncertainty and change, to me she is a symbol of our ability as humans to endure change – whether good or bad – and of our ability to look forward with hope and great optimism.

Nigel Collin with organisations to help them tap into the creative potential of their people, in order to drive business growth, gain a competitive edge and tackle change head-on. He’ll give you the tools, knowledge and confidence you need to think more creatively and generate workable ideas everyday.

He achieves this through workshops, speaking engagements, and facilitated sessions. He is creator of Funnel Thinking, a unique model to generate workable ideas. Author of ‘Think BITS’, an eclectic mix of creative inspirations and thinking tools, Nigel regularly contributes articles to relevant business and industry journals. Nigel produces Creative Thinkers and Creative Organisations.

Living In A Metropolis Isn’t What It Used To Be

Many attended the much anticipated premiere of Metropolis in Berlin on January 10th, 1927 including many high-ranking officials in the German government such as former Reichsprasident Paul Von Hindenburg. The film at the time was the most expensive film ever made in Europe and much was expected from it. It was carrying the financial burden for not only The Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), the largest film production company in Germany, but also the German film industry itself. After all UFA owed the majority of the film’s cost to Metropolis, a sum of over four million dollars that it had to borrow from two American film companies; Famous Players and Metro-Goldwyn. A few years later, it so impressed Adolf Hitler, that he requested its director, Fritz Lang to become his principal filmmaker for the German filmmaking industry. Lang fled Germany soon after the offer was made.

Like all great epic films just as much creativity went into the making of the film as the film itself. Lang used state of the art special effects to create integrated animated images with the scenes with the actors. Much of these scenes were achieved by a technique called the “Schufftan Method”, a process-photography technique that combines mirror shots and model shots to create a composite image. It was invented by cinematographer Eugen Schufftan and was first used on a large scale in Metropolis. Many of the other sets were built at real-to-life scale, not sparing much else to sacrifice detail. Lighting was used extensively throughout the film and accounted for a quarter of the film’s budget. Filmmakers in the early 1900’s were able to move lights around and further away from objects, yet maintaining beam concentration which enabled Lang to use lighting methods to create surreal hard light with long, sharp shadows. The scenes of the roberter are stunning and the concepts and design of the roberter are mimicked in many other sci-fi films that came later such as Star Wars (1978) for the character “C3PO”.

The film tells the story of a city in the future and the people who build and inhabit it. The inhabitants are divided into two classes. The industrialists and city dwellers, who plan, design and occupy the uppers levels of the city, and the workers who build and maintain the city’s functions and live below the machine level. The standards of living between the two classes are distinct and unjust. Life among the “top dwellers” are shown to be gay and care free. They participate in games, sports, attend theatre and frolic in parks. While life among the “workers” is barely livable as they drudge from one day to the next performing physically taxing tasks and duties in order to maintain the city’s power and resources. Towers ascend to dizzying heights. Cars and transport travel between mammoth structures on trams and byways that connect the buildings in a labyrinth of man-made objects. The city represents the ultimate in man’s achievement but in it we see the price to have built and sustain such an accomplishment.

The workers confidant, Maria (Brigitte Helm), aspires to see a life that one day will be realized by the workers. The son of the chief indutrialist Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), discovers Maria and follows her as she descends to the lower depths to the worker’s dwellings. Soon after arriving to the lower levels, Freder is distracted from his pursuit of Maria by the activity of the machine works. He witnesses men working under terrible conditions and as if it was not bad enough, a huge accident occurs and several workers are killed. Appalled by this sight, Freder returns to the “Top World” to confront his father, John Fredersen(Alfred Able) the top industrialist and the man most directly responsible for the worker’s blight. Fredersen’s response is apathy towards the workers whom he feels are “In the depths where they belong.” Maria attempts to inspire faith among the workers and that their suffering will soon come to an end because of her belief in an eventual and benevolent force of balance. This is explained by her statement: “The Mediator between the Head and the Hand is the Heart.” Feeling threatened, Fredersen quickly formulates a plan to act against Maria.

Fredersen and his head scientist Rotwang, whom has a long rivalry with Fredersen over Fredersen’s dead wife Hel, hatch a plan to stop Maria by replacing her with Rotwang’s “roberter”; his human-like robot he built to replace Hel because it is able to take human form. Rotwang reveals to Fredersen that it can take the place of his human workers. With the “roberter” acting as Maria, it will incite the workers to violence so he may justify violent action against them and replace them with Rotwang’s “roberter” robots.

When Fredersen captures Maria, Rotwang transfers Maria’s appearance to the roberter in one of the most visually remarkable scenes in film history. The “evil” Maria descends to the “catacombs” and begins to deliver her message to the workers that their “mediator” is not coming and will never come. As the roberter begins to incite the workers to violence, Josepat returns to Freder’s apartment to inform him of what Maria is doing. Refusing to believe it Freder hurries to the catacombs to see for himself. When he arrives he discovers the imposter. A massive brawl ensues. Freder survives and the enraged workers leave to destroy the machines of Metropolis. Aware of the danger, Groth (Heinrich George) the city foreman, contacts Fredersen and informs him of the mutiny and that if the workers destroy the heart machine, the worker’s city will be flooded. During the mayhem, the roberter flips the switches that will insure the heart machine’s destruction. As the heart machine begins to break apart, water begins to flood the workers city.

In a scene never shown and perhaps edited from the original print, the “real” Maria escapes from Rotwang and returns to the workers city to find the flooding. She rings the giant bell in the center of the workers town and gathers all the children. She is soon joined by Freder and they begin to help the children escape though the vent shafts. As the destruction continues below the surface, Fredersen witnesses the lights and functions of the topside go dark. His subordinates arrive to report the damage but Fredersen is unmoved until he hears that his son is missing. At the same moment, Groth is finally able to get the attention of the rioting workers and ask them where their children are. The workers erupt in anguish as they realize that their children were in the worker’s city while it was flooded. Soon they rally behind Groth as he gathers the mob to hunt for Maria who incited them into the violence that cost them the apparent lives of their children. The roberter Maria leads a mob of “Top Dwellers” into the street as they clash with the worker mob. The worker mob apprehends the “evil” Maria and proposes to burn her at the steak. They assemble a pile of trash in the center of the city and bind the doomed roberter to the stake. Next Maria appears as she is being pursued by Rotwang. This scene where Rotwang pursues Maria was omitted from the un-restored versions of the film. According to the original script, Fredersen arrives where Rotwang is holding the imprisoned Maria. Rotwang declares, “Joh Fredersen took the woman from me. He made me evil…but I will defy the will which is above you and me. I will open the doors for you…If you give me your hands I will go with you into the City of the Dead, so that you can warn your brothers, so that you can unmask your stolen ego.” – Metopolis, Thea Von Harbou (1963). At this point in the original screenplay, Joh attacks Rotwang and Maria escapes.

Rotwang continues his pursuit of Maria into a cathedral facing the street where the mob has burned the roboter Maria. As Fredersen and the mob look on, Freder battles with Rotwang on the roof of the cathedral. During the fight, Rotwang looses his balance and falls to his death. Fredersen greets his son at the main entrance where they are joined by Maria, Groth and the mob. There is a moment where Groth and Fredersen attempt to embrace but they have difficulty. Freder, noticing this, joins their hands.

Metropolis remains one of the most talked about, written about, re-edited, and influential silent and science fiction films ever made. It has been the standard set for science fiction and fantasy film epics influencing the design of more recent films like Blade Runner – Ridley Scott (1984) and Batman – Tim Burton (1998). It was not a box office success and has even been listed as one of the worse films ever made. – The fifty worst films of all time, Harry Medved, Randy Dreyfuss (1978). It was difficult to find criticism of this film of Metropolis for its visual accomplishments. On the other hand it was just as difficult to find positive criticism of Metropolis as a story. The bulk of the criticism attacks the premise that the story is simplistic and too unbelievable. Critics also attack the film because of its religious references such as “The Tower of Babel,” the center structure and home to Joh Fredersen. British science fiction writer H.G. Wells dismissed the film’s portrayal of human struggles in the form of indentured slavery. It has also been criticized for not formulating a believable and interesting story to support its message of unity and overcoming division. “Unfortunately, Metropolis is all eyes and no brain, all visual with no convincing vision”. – A Short History of the Movies, Mast & Kawin. However, when I recently watched a restored version of the film with title sequences replaced by space where film footage had been lost, I was extremely pleased.

It seems to me that the film attempts to make a point about how a dystopian future can be transformed into a possible positive future. I think Lang wanted to show the magnificence of what human ingenuity could achieve. The reports of his trip to New York could have been inspiration to him for the film but even if it was not, he showed a distinct vision of what he thought the future could look like. It is a clear example of German Expressionism but it adds one dynamic dimension not allowed by painting, movement.

Von Harbou I feel was motivated by seeing a balance develop between people who run industry and the disadvantaged who make up the majority of society. Whereas such cases of change had usually ended with those involved resorting to violence, I think Von Harbou was compelled to present a way for reconciliation to occur between the two without this resorting to destruction. Both Von Harbou and Lang were witnesses to a German society that had been put though extreme poverty and blight during that time. It is plausible to suspect that this inspired certain aspects of the portrayal of human blight in the future by the workers in Metropolis, in the form of physical torment. In the film the workers suffrage is unquestioned and it is apparent that the suffering is going to lead to a revolt. The film makes a case for peace by showing the reality of how difficult it is to sell the idea of non-violent protest to the suffering.

There are many references to religious symbols and language in the film. I believe these references are vehicles for expressing more complex issues in communicating the idea of benevolence and goodwill and how they can exist and prosper in an advanced and futuristic society that endures change. Or Von Harbou could simply be saying: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it did?” I have read many reviews of the religious references in a critical manor but I don’t think it’s clear what they point to. I do not believe Von Harbou or Lang were trying to sell the idea of Christianity nor do I believe they were plagiarizing the Bible. I do believe they could have been religious people and were motivated by things they may have learned though practicing their beliefs. However, I don’t think that this is what the film was about.

This film is about humans from different states of society, learning to live, work and prosper together. This idea is not new, complex or even consistent with the way Von Harbou and Lang lived their lives. But I do think it is a message just as meaningful and difficult to comprehend as ever.

Berlin: A City of Change

Like everything else in life cities are constantly changing. War, politics, migration, the economy, technological advances and climate change prevent any city from truly staying the same. Berlin is no exception and has probably seen more changes over the last century than any urban area in Europe. The city developed in the 13th century from groups of small settlements coming together. Later it would become the capitol of Prussia and expanded further during the industrial revolution. Now Berlin is the capitol of Germany, a country whose current boundaries were only established in the last 100 years. Since then World War I and Nazi rule have made their impact on the city. Germany’s defeat at the Second World War culminated in the 1945 Battle of Berlin. Berlin was then divided amongst the victor’s allies: The US, Britain, France and the USSR. In the 1960s Berlin succumbed to communism and the Berlin Wall was erected to stop East Berliners, who had lower living standards than their western counterparts, from emerging from the ‘Iron Curtain’ of Russian influence.

The Gestapo officers enforced this and many human rights were violated until the German reunification in 1989. On 9th November 1989 the Berlin wall fell and Germans were united in scenes of celebration. So where does that leave the second most populous city in the twenty first century? One major characteristic of modern Berlin is its love of graffiti and murals. Remnants of the Berlin wall that are still standing were painted in the year after it fell. Peaceful images of doves and freedom can be seen here. One section says in both German and English: ‘Many small people who in many small places do many small things can alter the face of the world.’ The side of a building has been painted with a copulating couple next to a speech bubble that reads ‘I love Berlin’. There is even a combined German and Israeli flag on the wall. In addition to the wall there is a thriving party and visual arts scene in Berlin. West Berlin tends to attract an older and wealthier crowd. The Eastern half of the city has had a grittier, cooler image and this is where many artists have been residing due to low rent and a creative atmosphere. Photographic gallery C/O Berlin is located on Oranienburgerstrasse, a street full of galleries and artists, as is the famous Tacheles arts squat. Kreuzberg, a very Turkish area, has changed from being a very poor part of West Berlin to becoming a cultural mecca. Yet the city continues to change. Rising house prices in East Berlin are causing gentrification to take hold of many artsy urban spaces.

People are talking about Berlin’s cheap and edgy ‘past’ and areas such as Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain have been gradually mutating into a hub of expensive clothes shops and organic restaurants. Some of the galleries that were not so well established have had to close because of rising costs. It will be interesting to see how Berlin changes over the next century. The World Travel Guide Berlin page is a good source of up to date information on things such as things to do, places to stay, practical tips and travel information.

Luxury Hotels in Berlin

Berlin is a famous city of culture, politics, media, and science. Its economy is primarily based on the service sector, creative industries, media corporations, and congress and convention venues. Important industries of Berlin include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, optoelectronics, traffic engineering, and renewable energy. A few recommended Luxury Hotels in Berlin:

Quartiermommsen6 Hotel Berlin has modern amenities in every guestroom. The basic amenities, unlike in other luxury hotels, business center, and pets allowed. For guests to relax, the hotel offers a variety of facilities even including garden. Like other places in Germany, extra decorations are not necessary, and simple style is the primary feature here.

With a modern look, Schoneberg Apartments Berlin hotel is perfectly located for both business and relaxation at Berlin. Being one of the high quality hotels in Berlin, guests staying at this hotel will find peace and the feeling of togetherness. Like any hot hotels in the world, you need to reserve early to keep yourself the ideal room.

At Ferienwohnung Loschmidtstrasse Hotel all guest rooms are equipped with hair dryer, television, bathtub, shower, microwave, kitchenette. Modern comfort and convenience are naturally to ensure the guests’ satisfaction. Though not much luxury environment and services, the expenses may surprise you a bit. Make sure you check the rate before arrive in a rush.

Vip Suite Berlin is one of the best hotels in Berlin. Just as the name shows, the hotel tries to suit guests’ utmost needs by providing modern comfort. In-room facilities include non smoking rooms, air conditioning, ironing board, television, bathtub, microwave, kitchenette, elevator, disabled facilities, hotel/airport transfer, business center.

With a cheap price starting from $82, Innside Premium Hotel Berlin is actually one of the most popular hotels in Berlin. Who said the expensive must the best? Innside Premium Hotel Berlin offers you prime services with affordable prices. The Innside Premium Hotel Berlin is near the center of the city, within short distance from Alexanderplatz, O2 Arena, the East Side Gallery, Ostbahnhof railway station and airport. Each of the 133 guestrooms at the four star Innside Premium Hotel Berlin offers minibars, satellite television, showers, daily newspapers, wifi, and in-house movies.

The Regent Hotel Berlin is probably the most satisfying hotel at Berlin with a rate starting from $92. The hotel has unique and rich history. The Regent Berlin strives to integrate the traditions with exclusive luxury. The elegant rooms have a view of the Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin. In this hotel, high-class fish and seafood specialties. The critically acclaimed chef was awarded with a Michelin star just six months after opening. What is more, through the use of extravagant materials, marble for one, and special features, such as walk in showers, the bathrooms become paradises.

Hotel Palace Berlin is located very close to the Zoological Garden, the KaDeWe shopping area, and the Memorial Church. Potsdamer Platz is just minutes away. Amenities include banquet rooms, ballroom, pool, massages, body treatments, spa, and much more. The Hotel Palace Berlin is in the center of the city, near to many famous attractions.

Berlin, the largest German city, would be a spectacular touring spot. This city has endless attractions for tourists to enjoy. A single day is absolutely not enough, but you can find many wonderful Berlin Hotels to stay in.

Uncover Some of the Most Significant Berlin Attractions

Berlin is the capital city of Germany, with a population of 3.400.000 citizens over an area of 891 square kilometers. It is Germany’s most important city and has a surface 9 times larger than Paris’. The city has 12 territories.

Berlin it is notorious for its great standards, its various cafes and restaurants, its refined places of culture like palaces and museums and its rich history.

There are lots of places that you could visit in Berlin. Here is a list of things that you should absolutely see during your Berlin holiday:

Brandenburg Gate is the sign of Berlin. It was set up between 1788-1791. It split Berlin in two (Western Berlin and Eastern Berlin). On December 22th, 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate was once again opened.

The German parliament (Reichstag), constructed between 1884-1894 was destroyed by bombings at the end of The Second World War. It has been reconstructed in a creative way (today, the structure has a huge glass roof). Norman Foster is the artisan in charge with this task.

Friedrichstadtpalast Palace is the place where you can observe exceptional shows. Some of the 153 city museums that would present curiosity are: Museum of History, Egyptian Museum, Alte und Neue National Gallery (where you can admire the pieces of great painters such as Picasso or Dali), the Pergamon Museum (with temptations like Zeus’ Altar of Pergamon or the Roman Gate from Milet).

Television Tower (1965-1969) is the highest construction in Berlin, reaching 368 m. At the height of 250 m you can have lunch and admire the whole city panorama in a restaurant that circles around its axis in approximately 30 minutes.

Gedächniskirche Church (1891-1895) is an Neo-Roman style Evangelical church that was almost totally torn down at the end of the Second World War. The avant-garde part was erected between 1959-1961 by the architect Egon Eiermann.

Adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate was built a monument in the memory of the Jews killed in the war. The monument consists of 2711 large concrete blocks stretched on an area of 19000 square meters.

Nikolaiviertel is a small district situated in the city’s historic center. Its narrow streets are very famous and have a lot of restaurants, shops, bars and cafes. In the center of Nikolaiviertel lies the oldest Berlin church, Nikolaikirche

Charlottenburg Palace (1695-1699) is the most delightful palace in Berlin. It was built as a summer residence by Friedrich III for his wife, Sophie Charlotte.

The Berlin Zoo is the most important and biggest zoo in the world. It has over 1400 unique species and a total of 19000 animals. There you can see one of the most beautiful] and largest aquariums in the world.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof is one of the avant-garde and latest projects accomplished in Berlin. It is the biggest railway station in Europe and it was inaugurated on the occasion of World Football Championship in Germany 2006.

The Berlin Wall was a hallmark of the Cold War, dividing the Western Berlin from the German Democratic Republic. In November 1989 the wall fell, putting an end to the communist authority and allowing Germany to take a valuable step toward its reunification.

Berlin is one of the most delightful capitals in Europe and is definitely a place to contemplate as soon as possible. You won’t regret it.

The Brussels Hop-On Hop-Off Experience

On a trip to Brussels, there’s always a surprise around the corner. Despite looking solemn and impressive, with its wide boulevards and grand architecture, this city is somehow a little bit quirky and a little bit fun.

How do travellers dig underneath this staid exterior to find the hidden gems that make this city so intriguing?

Taking a look at this list of Brussels’ attractions will help. Following the itinerary of the Hop-on, Hop-off bus will ensure that no-one misses out on the treats that make this city so special.

Individual Brussels

The importance of the comic strip art form to the Europeans is acknowledged in the Comic Strip Museum by the Central Station. Here, Tintin and his famous dog Snowy are honoured in the city of their creation.

Another landmark is the city’s Atomium, built in 1958 for the World Trade Fair. It is a giant model of an oxygen molecule, and towers over the park landscape in which it stands. Also in the park is Mini Europe, which recreates monuments like the Eiffel Tower and Berlin Wall in miniature.

There’s no getting away from the Manneken-Pis in this category. This famous little statue has a huge wardrobe of outfits from donors from all around the world.

Belgian creativity

The Horta Museum is housed in the former home and studio of the famous Belgian architect, Victor Horta. His beautiful Art Nouveau buildings can be seen all over Brussels.

There are museums dedicated to the 19th century Belgian artists Anton Wiertz and Constantin Meunier along the Hop-on, Hop-off route, and another to the internationally-famous surrealist artist, Magritte. Even more stunning surrealist works are on view in the collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

Museum magic

Like any large city, Brussels boasts a range of fine museums to enjoy. There’s the Royal Military Museum, for example, which has everything from a display of 130 vintage aircraft to a range of Nazi flags. Another popular choice is Autoworld – a vintage car museum with over 350 classic cars.

If you want to visit a more general museum, there’s the Musee de Cinquantenaire, which has displays from five continents, ranging from the pre-historic to the contemporary.

But don’t, whatever you do, miss the finest collection of dinosaurs in the world, at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Architectural gems

Not far from the Grand Place is Belgium’s national church – the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula. There’s a museum here, with displays of religious treasures and an ancient crypt.

There is a cluster of magnificent buildings in the Royal Palace complex. You can explore the Royal Palace, with its beautiful throne room and dining room, and admire the stunning chandeliers and tapestries.

A totally modern building that’s worth a detour is the impressive, glass-clad International Congress Building, which houses the European Parliament. As an architectural contrast, another striking building is the Palace of Justice, a law court built in 1879 that was inspired by the temples of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Shopping highlights

Of course, you can’t possibly visit Brussels and not buy chocolates. Head for the Grand Place, where there are some excellent chocolate shops to choose from.

The Place Rogier (on the edge of the Rue Neuve area) is Brussels’ most popular general shopping area. However, if you feel that you should look as if you’re appreciating a bit of 19th century architecture at the same time, do your shopping at the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. There you’ll find a selection of luxury shops and a choice of tea shops and restaurants.

To do Brussels justice, it pays to plan your visit in advance, and that is exactly why our FREE Brussels hop-on hop-off Guide comes so handy, as it has all the information you need, including photos and short videos, as well as practical details like timetables, prices, itineraries and links to maps, which will help you to plan your Hop-on, Hop-off itinerary in advance.