No Surface Without a Seat
Berlin isn’t the warmest of places, so I was continually surprised by the amount of outdoor seating around the city. In some neighborhoods, sidewalk cafes, public benches, beer gardens, or terraces seemed to be at every turn. But what surprised me even more than the sheer amount of seating, was the seemingly ad-hoc, improvised, or innovative nature of many of the options. Anywhere there was a surface or some extra space, you were bound to find a cushion, a folding chair, a crate, or some recycled materials inviting you to sit down and take a break. It wasn’t limited to restaurants and bars either - cushions and chairs could be found on the steps, ledges, sidewalks, and street corners outside of clothing stores, gift shops, and all sorts of other random places.
My visit was in April, presumably the time of year when these chairs and cushions first emerge from winter storage. I’d be curious to take walk through the city in summertime to see them in greater use, and to see if even more sprout up. It must create an impressively vibrant street life.
Photos taken April, 2014
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.””
umans love to tease signals from noise. We see a man in the moon, Mother Mary in a piece of toast, Lady Luck in a winning run at the casino. Alex MacLean deftly plays to this tendency in his stunning aerial photos that reveal patterns in seemingly mundane things.
MacLean leans from the window of an airplane to snap tightly arranged photos of urban, industrial and wild environments. The vantage point is low enough to make out the people and places on the ground, but high enough to see their organization within the broader landscape. His photos provide our appetite for patterns several layers of interpretation to chew on, while exploring the impact of things like urban sprawl, pollution and resource extraction.
“Through sort of abstract and engaging patterns, those things will draw people into it, and hopefully think about these issues,” he says. “It really is about combining art and information. Some of it is sort of subliminal–you can’t quite put your finger on it but it sort of draws you in and engages you.”